Magic Binds is the 9th book in the Kate Daniels series, which quickly became my favourite series when I got back into reading novels a few years back. It’s written by Ilona Andrews, a pseudonym for the husband and wife writing team of Ilona and Gordon. Although it’s usually described as an Urban Fantasy, I think a more accurate description would be straight Fantasy, with elements of Dark Fantasy, High Fantasy and Epic Fantasy. It takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where magic has returned. Magic comes in waves so when it’s on, technology doesn’t work, and when it’s off, technology does. That’s one reason why the main character prefers using swords – they always work.
Because this book takes place a while into the series, there will be some spoilers for earlier books. In case you don’t want those, here are a few links to some of my earlier reviews for this series. I’ll do my best to avoid spoilers for anything since Magic Breaks though.
Kate Daniels is a magic wielding mercenary with an immense amount of magical power. It comes with her family, most notably her tyrannical father, Roland, who has a tendency to kill his offspring. She’s got a bit of a caustic personality, although she’s softened up in a number of ways over the course of the series, and she’s got a great sense of humour with her snappy comebacks. What’s really compelling about her is that she desires to protect everyone she cares about, and that’s a growing list. At the same time, her rapidly growing magical power is starting to bring out a dark side that scares not only Kate, but those same people she cares about. This new element makes an already compelling character that much more interesting.
This book really digs into Kate’s family history in ways that both answer a lot of standing questions while leaving us with a few new ones. It shows how overly controlling Roland is, while at the same time hinting at some loneliness. It reveals more about how his insane amount of power works, while also giving us some new kinds of magic.
The real big attraction for long-time readers of this series is the first major battle between Kate and Roland. The battle is teased right from the first chapter of this book, and the build-up toward the end is handled pretty much perfectly. Yet despite all the intensity, the dark storytelling and the rising tension between former friends, there’s still plenty of room for fun. In the midst of planning for a battle, Kate can’t forget about her upcoming wedding with the were-lion, Curran or the birth of Andrea’s baby. It all balances out for a book that’s a lot of fun to read, yet carries a lot of dramatic weight and depth.
Just like the previous book’s title, Magic Shifts, makes sense for that book being somewhat of a transition book, Magic Binds is the perfect title for this book. That’s not only because of the wedding, but the title ties into some of the major reveals into Kate’s past. In any case, with the exception of book 6 (which is still good), this series keeps getting better with each entry. That’s saying a lot when the first book featured a zombie dragon in the climax. I can’t think of a single thing to complain about with this newest entry. This book, just like the rest of this series, is best described as delightfully weird.
Because Gears of War 4 comes out next month, I’ll probably be reviewing the second Gears of War novel next. After that, I’m not sure what I’ll read next. It might be Crown of Midnight (the second Throne of Glass book), it might be X-Wing: Wedges Gambit, or it might be something completely different.