Audiobook Review: Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews

Posted September 16, 2015 by Lucy D in Audiobook, Book Reviews, Urban Fantasy / 2 Comments

Audiobook Review:  Magic Burns by Ilona AndrewsMagic Burns (Kate Daniels, #2) by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #2
Published by Penguin on April 1, 2008
Genres: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy
Pages: 260
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Renee Raudman
Length: 9 hrs 38 min

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[box style=”rounded” border=”full”]Updated: As I get more into this series, I have gone back to the audiobooks, but I found the world building on top of the obscure legends and myths introduced in these first few books to be too much to focus on for audiobooks. I would recommend reading the first two novels and then switching over. [/box]

Every seven years, the magic that floods the earth has flares, similar to solar flares. Each flare grows in strength until a final explosion and it settles down once again. While the magic flares, all magic users are scrambling to grab as much power as possible and do as much damage and gain as much control as they can before the flares end.

Kate has been hired by the Pack to reclaim stolen maps. The Pack could do it themselves, but they don’t want the embarrassment of anyone finding out that someone was able to successfully steal from the Pack. While searching, Kate stumbles upon an orphan from a prior story, Red, and his friend, Julie.  Julie’s witch mother has gone missing. Kate is getting the lowdown on what happened to the mother’s coven, when the maps suddenly find Kate. Or should we say that Bran, a mysterious, handsome man finds Kate and Julie and he just happens to have stolen the pack’s property. Bran can disappear into thin air and he also has the ability to heal almost instantly making it hard for Kate to do any damage. Kate reclaims the maps and returns them to the pack only to have them stolen again by Bran.

Kate also can’t allow a young girl to wander the streets alone, so she takes Julie home until they can find out what happened to Julie’s mother and the rest of her coven. It seems the coven was trying to summon the celtic goddess, Morrigan in hopes of receiving riches and power, but Morrigan is known more for backfiring your wish for her own entertainment.

Since the witches were using Morrigan’s cauldron of rebirth or also known as the gateway to the otherworld, this also brings into the picture Morrigan’s enemies, the Fomoire. They too want to use the cauldron to bring forth the damned to run rampant in Atlanta. They also have no qualms about sacrificing a defenseless little girl to get what they need out of Kate.


[box type=”note” size=”large” style=”rounded” border=”full”]Updated 4/28/16 — As I have gotten further into the series, I have returned to the audiobooks. I still think the combination of all the world building and character introduction on top of Ilona’s delving into obscure myths and legends are too much to concentrate on using audiobooks for the first two books. Once you get into the series, it is a lot easier to focus on what is going on in Kate’s world. [/box]

I am once again torn between my love/hate on this series. I am really starting to like Kate, and even Curren and young Derek are growing on me. What was making me crazy is the fact that Kate has a mental library of myths and legends and I do not. This story involved celtic gods and legends including Morrigan, her enemy Morfran, a gaggle of reeves, which are undead mermaids who float around on land, are hard to kill and use their hair like a monkey uses his tail. The reeves are controlled like the vampires but in this case, they are controlled by Bolgar the Shephard, a sea-demon, who hides under a monk’s robe but you can see his tentacles peeking out.

Kate is trying to find Julie’s mother. Trying to figure out why Red is trying trying to use Julie. She’s fighting off reeves who are also trying to get to Julie. Trying to not get killed by Bolgar the Shephard, by Bran and even by Curran, who she constantly pisses off. The pack sends her on a quest. The witches send her on quest. Everyone is throwing around magic. After catching us up with all the obscure celtic legends and myths being used in this story, and jumping back and forth between the Order, the Pack, the Witches, the Honeycomb, etc., etc., I was giving the whole ending a blah, blah, blah, let’s get on with it hand-motion.

As I stated in my review of Magic Bites, I don’t know if listening to this series on audiobook is having an affect on my enjoyment and I don’t mean that there is any problem with the narrator. I just feel that maybe there is too much going on to keep up without reading the pages when that is all I am doing, focusing on the book in front of me, rather than the 100 other things I do while listening to an audiobook.   Although I did listen to this as I traveled on vacation as the passenger. I wasn’t listening while driving so I had nothing else to focus on but the story to distract me from the long road trip.

In this case I think it was more the flood of new characters and the constant change of focus of what Kate needed to do first. I was just overwhelmed with the craziness of the story.

Main story point: Kate, Curran, Derek, the Mercs, the Order, Andrea, Julie, etc., the magic flows. I like all that.

History lessons on obscure celtic legends.  NO!  You’re making my head hurt keeping up. Give me one or two, not a flood. Throwing in a history of witches and hierarchy…enough.  This is taking away from the enjoyment of reading.

I will be reading Book #3, as soon as I can squeeze it in, and I will let you know if that has any effect on my enjoyment of this series.  A review of the story premise on Book 3 looks more promising.

Favorite Scene:

The roof was filled with assorted free weights. Curran lay on the massive weight bench with a reinforced steel frame. He was working the bench press, raising a bar loaded with weights above him and bringing it back to his chest in a slow controlled movement. He didn’t cheat by letting the bar “bounce” off his chest.

I came closer. The bar was thicker than my wrist. Had to be custom made. I tried to count the weight disks on the bar. A normal bar weighed forty-five pounds, and normal disks weighted up to forty-five pounds, also. But these didn’t look normal.

I stood to the side and watched the bar rise and fall. Curran wore an old, torn T-shirt, and I could see his muscles pump under the fabric.

“How much are you lifting?”

“Seven Hundred.”

“Alrighty then. I will just stand over here, out of your way, and hope you don’t remember my promise to kick your ass.”

He grinned. “Wanna spot me?”

“No thanks. How about I just scream verbal encouragements at you?” I took a deep breath and barked. “No pain, no gain! That pain is just weakness leaving your body! Come on! Push! Push! Make that weight your bitch!”

He cracked up. The weight stopped, perilously close to his chest, while he shook with laughter. I stepped up and grabbed the bar. It put me into an incredibly compromising position, since his head was really close to my thighs and the area directly above them, but I didn’t want to explain to a rabid Pack how I was responsible for the Beast Lord crushing his chest with a weight bar.

I put my back into it. There was no way in hell I could ever pull it up without him pushing.

The bar crept up slowly.

“Curran, stop playing and lift.”

I looked down and saw him looking straight at me. He had a smile on his face. The sight of me puffing and straining apparently amused him to no end.

He raised the bar up and slid it into the twin forks on the sides of the bench.

I beat a hasty retreat, putting a few feet between him and me. He sat, pulled his shirt off, and used it to wipe the sweat off his chest. Slowly. Flexing a bit for my benefit.

I turned around and looked at the scenery. Having a streak of drool hang from my mouth would seriously cramp my style. Besides, if he full-out flexed, I would probably faint. Or jump off the building.

I needed to get laid. Otherwise my hormones might go on strike and short-circuit my common sense.

Curran came to stand next to me. Before us the broken city grappled with an impending flare. In the distance husks of skyscrapers sagged to the ground. Between them and us stretched the twisted labyrinth of streets, punctured by greenery, where nature had reclaimed the ruins for its own.

Maybe I was imagining things. Maybe he was just wiping off his sweat because he didn’t want to be sweaty, not because he was showing off for me. Once again, I was giving myself too much credit.

“What are you going to do with the child?” he asked.

“I’ll take her to the Order. There is a vault below the Order’s building. It has a two-foot-thick steel door, and it’s blanketed in a ward the entire mage division of the Military Supernatural Defense Units can’t bust. The safest place in the city right now.”

The Order had to own other facilities too but I didn’t rate high enough to know their location or function. I wouldn’t have known about the vault either if Ted thought he could hide it from me. If you put a door marked “Authorized Personnel ONLY” and me in the same building, sooner or later I’ll try to jimmy its lock to discover what’s so special about it.

“You can keep her here,” Curran said. “We’ll look after her.”

“Thank you for the offer. I honestly appreciate it. But things are hunting her. She’ll be safe in the vault and I don’t want to be responsible for any deaths.”

He sighed. “You do realize that you just insulted me, right?”

“How so?”

“You implied that I can’t protect her or my people.”

I looked at him. “That’s not at all what I meant.”

“Apologize and I’ll let it go.”

I kept my hands firmly on the iron rail before me. Grabbing the weight bar and walloping the Beast Lord upside the head wouldn’t be the best diplomatic move.

“I’m sorry, Your Majesty.” There. I was civil. It almost killed me.

“Apology accepted.”

“Will there be anything else?” Your Arrogance.

“No.” He picked up an enormous dumbbell and began to curl, working his biceps.

I turned to leave and stopped. He was in a good mood. Relaxed. He didn’t wig out at me. Now was as good a time as any. “Myong…”

A low warning growl reverberated in his throat. “I said later.”

Technically it was later. “I think she loves him very much.”

He snarled. “You forget yourself! Drop it.”

“She’s very passive and she’s terrified of you. It took a great deal of courage for her to come and see me.”

He tossed the dumbbell aside. It went flying and hit with a loud thud, leaving a dent in the pavement of the roof. Curran strode toward me, eyes blazing. “If I let her go, I’ll need a replacement. Want to volunteer for the job?”

He looked like he wouldn’t be taking no for an answer. I swiped Slayer from its sheath and backed away from the edge of the roof. “And be girlfriend number twenty-three soon to be dumped in favor of girlfriend number twenty-four who has slightly bigger boobs? I don’t think so.”

He kept coming. “Oh yeah?”

“Yeah. You get these beautiful women, make them dependent on you, and then dump them. Well, this time a woman left you first, and your enormous ego can’t deal with it.  And to think that I hoped we could talk like reasonable adults. If we were the last two people on Earth, I’d find myself a moving island so I could get the hell away from you.” I was almost to the drop door leading to the ladder.

He stopped suddenly and crossed his arms over his chest. “We’ll see.”

“Nothing to see. Thanks for the rescue and for the food. I’m taking my kid and leaving.” I dropped into the hole, slid down the ladder, and backed away down the hall. He didn’t follow me.

I was midway down the to the first floor when it finally hit me: I had just told the alpha of all shapeshifters that hell would freeze over before I got in his bed. Not only had I just kissed any cooperation from the Pack good-bye, but I had also challenged him. Again. I stopped and hit my head a few times on the wall.

Keep your mouth shut, stupid.

Derek appeared at the bottom of the stairway. “It went that well, huh?”

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2 responses to “Audiobook Review: Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews

  1. JenM

    I hadn’t really thought about it, but I think these books would be hard to grasp if you were listening rather than reading. The Kate Daniels books are known for some pretty dense world building, and it doesn’t get any less so as the series goes on. One of the things their fans love about the books are the wide range of obscure mythologies that the authors manage to throw into the books. I adore this series, but it does require your full attention.

    If you want to try some Ilona Andrews that has more of a romance plot and isn’t so dense, I’d recommend their Edge series, starting with On the Edge. It has great worldbuilding and action also, but it’s more straightforward and doesn’t have all the mythological references.Their release for Avon, Burn For Me, is also great and it’s currently on sale for $1.99.

  2. Lucy D

    Thanks for the recommendation. I have delved into book 3 (digitally) and am enjoying it. It did get a little dense with the Hindu legends but I am keeping up a little better.