"Atlanta would be a nice place to live, if it weren’t for the magic. When the magic is up, rogue mages cast their spells and monsters appear, while guns refuse to fire and cars fail to start. But then technology returns, and the magic recedes as unpredictably as it rose.Kate Daniels works for the Order of the Knights of Merciful Aid, officially as a liaison with the mercenary guild. Unofficially, she cleans up the paranormal problems no one else wants to handle—especially if they involve Atlanta’s shapeshifting community.When she’s called in to investigate a fight at the Steel Horse, a bar midway between the territories of the shapeshifters and the necromancers, Kate quickly discovers there’s a new player in town. One who’s been around for thousands of years—and rode to war at the side of Kate’s father.This foe may be too much even for Kate and Curran, the Lord of the Beasts, to handle. Because this time, Kate will be taking on family…"
Magic Bleeds is the 4th book in the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews. It's a series that has just gone from strength to strength. The third book, Magic Strikes, was immense and is one of my favourite books ever. I've been dying for this book since finishing Strikes over a year ago. This book had a lot to live up to, and it wasn't a let down in any way!
Kate has never had it easy, but after the events at the end of The Midnight Games (in Strikes), things are far more dangerous for her. There is an enemy out there who knows her parentage now, it's only a matter of time before she faces the fight she's been preparing for her whole life, the one that will likely kill her. It's a bleaker Kate we're faced with here. One trying to keep her heart protected, determined to protect those she loves, and yet facing huge odds. She can't walk away from her friends, or from her job at the Order. Her latest case starts with her investigating a bar room brawl that finished with a dead man pinned to a telegraph pole with a deadly, fast spreading disease of some kind. Powerful magic is behind the attack and Kate knows that the person behind them must be stopped before they destroy Atlanta. Easier said than done.
Like magic Strikes, the plot flowed smoothly and quickly, and its another book that is very, very hard to put down. However, while the main plot gets plenty of page time, it does take a back seat occasionally to the romantic subplot. Tension has been building steadily between Curran and Kate since book one, and something had to give, one way or the other. This book is where it happens. I won't give away details of the outcome, except to say nothing in Kate's world is simple and just because there is some resolution of some kind, does not mean trouble goes away! Overall, there is less humor than the previous books, but with the way things have turned, that is to be expected and the book is no worse for it. Also, it has the what is, in my opinion, the funniest moment of the series to date. Which given certain things from previous book, is saying something. This particular moment had me in tears I was laughing so hard and I had to stop reading for a couple of minutes to get myself under control. I am giggling about it again now just thinking of it.
The tension, of all kinds, rides thick through the book and you can really feel Kate's angst as she battles to figure things out, make the right choices, and fight for her life. One of the things I love most about this series is how real, complex and well rounded the characters are, secondary characters included. Most of them have their own little stories going on as well, and we get glimpses of them from Kate's POV at times. They all add to the story rather then being random things dropped in to attempt to add depth, these really work. It constantly has me wanting more on various characters, wanting to know more about their lives, as well as Kate's. The use of various myth and legend is once again used to great effect in this book as Kate's foe. And as always, it manages to stay interesting as it twists and turns while Kate figures out the facts, and what is pure myth.
There were some fantastic scenes in this book showing off the way Kate's changed through the course of this series, how she's grown and how she intends to face her future, as well as showing where she's come from, how she's never forgotten that. But Kate's past isn't the only one that gets an airing in this book. There is some tantalizing back story on Curran (finally!) as well, again adding further depth to his character.
The whole book was near impossible to put down, but the ending was very, very intense as things hit boiling point. I don't want to give anything away, so I'll leave it at that for talking of the ending. There were some interesting twists I really wouldn't have guessed, leaving some tough stuff to be dealt with in the next book. And while there are some resolutions to earlier plot threads, there are other issues just starting, waiting to be explored in the next books. I can't quite decide if I like this more than Strikes or not, simply because they are both immense books, but they are quite different. It's certainly no worse, and if you liked the previous Kate books, you're sure to love this one equally. I'd hate to choose between the two, but it's certainly an awesome edition to the series. My one complaint? Same as for Strikes, and Magic Burns before it: Too short. And that's even though this one is 40 pages longer than Strikes. This is a series not to be missed. Easily some of the very, very best urban fantasy out there with some of the deepest, most realistic characters I've read. If you haven't tried the Kate Daniels series yet, do so right now! And if you dropped it because the first book isn't great (I like it, but it's not all that) then pick up book 2 and keep going! Because the rest of the series more than makes up for it!!