My original goal was to read at least 1 novel every month I’m not writing this year, and I’m now officially way ahead of that goal. I just read three novels in one month for the first time in my life. Also for the first time in my life, I read a 350 page book in one day. My brain was kind of fried by the end, but that just means I slept well last night. Here are my thoughts on Magic Bleeds, both as a reader and a writer.
Magic Bleeds is the fourth book in the Kate Daniels series – a series that I’ve become a fan of. It’s written by Ilonna Andrews, a pseudonym for the husband and wife team of Ilona and Gordon Andrews. Kate is a sword-wielding mercenary who is becoming quite powerful in her magical abilities, and often has to deal with all sorts of weirdness including the undead, shape shifters and magical shifts. The shifts come and go like the tide in this world. When magic is on, neither electronics nor guns function, and when technology is on, nobody can use magic.
The world behind this series is growing increasingly fascinating with each entry. Each plot has a neat twist on some sort of mythology. They’re all filled with exciting action scenes, culminating in epic climaxes. The writing is witty and often funny, helping to balance out the otherwise dark storytelling. Some of the lines in this particular book are laugh out loud funny.
So far, each book is better than the last. The first, while quite enjoyable, had its flaws with its character work, most notably Kate having a bit too much of a caustic personality. To make up for it, the climax involved a zombie dragon. The second improved in every way and featured an epic climax involving an evil deity trying to enter the physical world. The third was a bit more subdued with its action, instead focusing on character relationships and building on series potential. Once the action really started though, it didn’t let up. This book is easily the best so far, with all the characterization and series building from the last, while also having a rather epic plot. This time, Kate has to take on her own family in the form of an immortal who’s been around for thousands of years and has become incredibly powerful. It builds up to a climax that slams the reader with both a large battle and several heavy emotional moments.
There’s been a building romantic subplot between Kate and Curran, the beast lord. In the last book, the sexual tension between them reached critical mass, and in this book they finally take the plunge. Even with them now officially a couple, they clearly have multiple kinds of difficulties to work through. This makes their relationship all the more interesting.
As a reader I’m glad to have read this. It’s a dark and epic, yet fun book. It’s increasingly tempting to just buy every book in the series I don’t have yet and just read through, but I’m going to try and stick to my current pattern of reading at least 3 books between each one to keep things varied. I’d recommend this series to any fan of fantasy in general.
As a writer, this series remains kind of inspiring. The snappy internal narration really adds depth to Kate’s personality, with her imagining saying something nasty or confrontational while she actually says something civil. She always comes up with entertaining ways to describe her surroundings and the people she meets, something I’d like to improve on in my own writing.
I should also mention that between reading Magic Strikes (book 3) and Magic Bleeds, I read both A Questionable Client and Magic Mourns. AQC is a free short story taking place before Magic Bites (book 1), and is a fun introduction to two mainstay characters and the kind of weirdness this series contains. MM is an E-novella from the perspective of Andrea, a side character who’s been fairly important since Magic Burns (book 2). It’s also good, and delves into the mind of a shape shifter who hates being a shape shifter and begins her journey of self-acceptance.
I have a basic schedule for the rest of this year’s novel reading. Next month, I’ll tackle Marvel’s Civil War novelization. Since I’ll be preparing for Nanowrimo for the month of October (including 5 short stories for a warmup) I’m not sure if I’ll get to another book or not. If I do, it’ll be Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. If not, my next book will be After the Dragon Raid, the sequel to Dragon Whisperer (written by someone I personally know). After reading both of them, I’ll read Magic Slays (book 5).
My future options include a book written by a second cousin of mine (who I’ve never met), and a Hulk vs. Abomination book I found in a flea market for $1 and the rest of the Harry Potter series since I bought a box set of the series. Other books I’m considering further into the future include an unofficial sequel to Bran Stoker’s Dracula called Dracula the Undead (not Darcey Stoker’s awful version, but Freda Warrington’s) A Void (a mystery book that doesn’t have a single use of the letter “e”) and Fevre Dream, a vampire novel by George RR Martin. Fevre Dream originally released in 1982 and has never left print.