Ilona Andrews,
Magic Bites
(Ace, 2007)

Imagine a time in which magic has returned to the world. Technology doesn't work, cars don't run, highrise buildings crumble. Now imagine that periods of magic alternate with periods of tech, so that a person could be driving down the highway during a tech period, only to have their car sputter and die when the magic suddenly comes back.

In addition to the alternating periods of magic and technology, there are the People, a society of necromancers, and the Pack, a tightly knit society of shapechangers. Imagine that someone is trying to start a war between these two factions.

This is the Atlanta of the future, where tough-talking Kate Daniels works as a Guild mercenary. The murder of her guardian dumps her into the middle of this incipient war, and it's up to her to dig up the real truth and get revenge for her guardian's death.

In Kate, Ilona Andrews gives us a tough, gutsy heroine as capable with a sword as she is with a spell, but whose personal life is a mess. Fiercely independent, Kate would rather starve on her own as a member of the mercenaries' Guild than work for the Order of Knights of Merciful Aid like her guardian.

A new take on vampires is always welcome and Andrews gives us that, as well. Her vampires are anything but the suave, sexy masters of the night that readers have seen in the past, being instead merely vehicles for the will of the necromancers who control them.

Magic Bites is a perfectly-paced supernatural mystery with bits of dark humor and -- if you'll forgive the pun -- a fair amount of bite.

by Laurie Thayer
24 March 2007

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