Saturday, May 3, 2008

Oh, what a wonderful monstery world

Magic Bites discussion, part 2 (see part 1 here)

Okay, well now I’ve finished MAGIC BITES, by Ilona Andrews. It was great, full of excellent tension, interesting characters and fabulously drawn monsters and villains. I’m not going to talk about the main monster, whose delicious scariness and yuckiness is built over many passages and pages, but even the minor monsters are great. Like, the vampires, who are more mindless creature than human in this world.

Here is the very ancient vampire our hero and her pals come upon and fight. This is a lot of description to stop the story for, but it never gets boring because it has action embedded into it, and the details are impressively vivid, with a kind of pop at the end.

The thing followed me on all fours. It was a vampire, but one so ancient that no trace of it having walked upright remained. The bones of its spine and hips had permanently shifted to adapt to quadruped locomotion.

The creature advanced, lean and wiry like a greyhound. An inch-high bone crest shielded its spine, formed by outgrowth of the vertebrae through the leather-thick skin. It paused, hugged the ground for a moment, and rose again, ruby-red eyes fixed on me.

Its face no longer bore any resemblance to a human, the skull jutted back in a bony hornlike curve to balance the horribly massive protruding jaws. The creature had no nose, not even a hint of a nose bridge. It opened its mouth, splitting its head in half. Rows of fangs gleamed against the blackness. It wouldn’t just puncture and rip. It would shred me.
Gulp. The fight is pretty good, too. I won’t say who wins.

A note on the romance.

I’d heard from many sources that this book is sort of light on the romance, and that’s true, and certainly nobody’s having sex here, though there is a smattering of nice relationship building - the kind you might find in the early Anita Blake. I’m guessing this will be one of those Urban Fantasy series where the relationship arc stretches long over books.

Fave character in a smart scene

Okay, my favorite character in this whole book is Nick the Crusader, who is slightly mad and also very wonderful, and not the love interest. Anyway there is this fabulous scene with him and heroine Kate at the end that is one of the best sorts of scenes, where one character gives another character advice that is full of insight. So crazy Nick gives her this advice:
“If I were on my own, packing some power, and for some reason not wanting to be found, I might lay low for a while, but I’d know that sooner or later I’d have to come out and play, because whoever’s looking for me would eventually find me. I’d start building some connections. The thing about a lone wolf? Once you corner it, it has no one to turn to.”
I love when characters provide perspective on each other like that. I find it very satisfying. Nice job, team Ilona! Magic Burns is out now, the next book, Midnight Games, will be out in 2009.


LesleyW said...

When I'm thinking of IA's vampires, I picture the lickers from the Resident Evil films. Just a completely different form of vampire. Definitely one of my favourite UF series.

Christine said...

I thoroughly enjoyed MAGIC BITES, too. But loved MAGIC BURNS even more. And am so sad that MIDNIGHT GAMES isn't out till 2009! Ack!

That scene at the end with Nick was definitely one of my favorites as well. And I have to give kudos to the Ilona team for doing the whole relationship thing a lot of justice in this series. Kate's justified in the way she avoids relationships of any kind, yet now that she is forging a few bonds, they are being developed at a realistic rate. I appreciate that.

lisabea said...

Ok. Ok. Geeze. I have no time to add this book! I should get it no audio.

You make me have to read this. And you know that I don't need a HEA. Or even a romance. I need a good book.

Christine said...

What's great about reading it now, Lisa, is that you can read (listen to?) these two books back to back. MAGIC BITES is the world builder beginning of the series... and then MAGIC BURNS continues that with even more character and emotional development. And a fast past plot with lots of twists and unforeseen outcomes.

Renee said...

I'm with Christine. While I really liked Magic Bites, and looked forward to the next one, I LOVED Magic Burns.

It really felt like the world building and character development of the first book really paid off in the second.

AND, you just gotta love Curran!

naida said...

These books sound good, the monsters sound very creepy :
"The creature had no nose, not even a hint of a nose bridge. It opened its mouth, splitting its head in half."

yikes :P

Carolyn Jean said...

Lesley: Scary!

Christine & Renee: That is such good news. I can't wait for the next now.

LB: This would be kind of a kick on audio.

N: the split head was quit the image!

Sarai said...

I love me some Magic Bites and I have to say Magic Burns is EVEN BETTER!
What I love is the team stays with the rules through out the series. She doesn't do anything weird or out of place in book 2

Brie said...

I just cracked Magic Bites open, so I have nothing to add. Maybe when I'm done.

Rowena said...

Good review, when I'm in the mood for a paranormal, I'm gonna pick this one up!

Bridget Locke said...

And since I'm now part of this, I've got my DIK's over on my blog...or I will in a minute. Interesting no one has chosen some I expected. :) Fun, fun, fun. Man, I am so bored tonight! :P

writtenwyrdd said...

You need to read the sequel. This is a hot new series. I can't wait for the third one in the series.