Posted February 4, 2012 by The Captain in All Series

Review: Magic Bites (Kate Daniels Series book 1) by Ilona Andrews


TLDR recap:

Kate Daniels finds herself in a tricky situation – her guardian has been murdered, a vampire lets himself into her house and threatens her, and the local shapeshifters are on edge.  Since members of both the vampire and shapeshifter communities have gone missing or been found dead, she’s in the middle of what could turn into a full scale war with no real affiliation for protection for herself.  There’s mystery, danger, violence, and magic aplenty in Magic Bites.  It’s a GraveTells Recommended Read!

  • Title: Magic Bites
  • Series: Kate Daniels #1
  • Author: Ilona Andrews
  • Prominent Characters: Kate, Curran,
  • Recommended reader age: 16+
  • Sexual content level: none


*** This review is SPOILER-FREE! Read on with confidence! ***


I’ve been a lurker and sometimes commenter on Ilona Andrew’s blog for a while now.  She’s hilariously funny and a terrific writer.  I had the opportunity to review Magic Graves (an anthology she did with Jeaniene Frost – one of my favorite authors) late last year.  It was an introduction to Kate and her world that spurred me to pick up a Kate Daniels book the next time that I was at the book store and could reasonably fit it into my schedule.

I’m so glad I did. Magic Bites is a little shorter than my typical read, I’m not sure that it actually hits the 300 page mark.  But those pages are absolutely packed with Urban Fantasy goodness.  For the first book in a new series it is well constructed and fun, a book that gives you most of the rules without feeling like you’re reading a dictionary about just what can happen in Kate’s Atlanta and what can’t.

Kate is a surprising heroine.  There are secrets that are hinted at with regard to her and her past, with just enough of a carrot-on-a-stick temptation to leave you wanting more without frustration.  She’s pretty good at sticking her foot in her mouth, and her inner monologue lets you know she regrets it when she does.  Not the type of heroine that will be stupid and keep making the same mistake over and over again until you want to strangle them.  She’s extremely self reliant and funny.  I’m looking forward to seeing more of her.

Curran is going to be her hero, as anyone with half a brain can tell.  He’s uber powerful, a little frightening, and alpha male all the way.  I likes me some Curran.  🙂

The mystery to be solved meandered a bit for me, I got a little confused sometimes buy how Kate was arriving at conclusions.

Magic Bites actually really walks the line of a Sci-Fi novel with its use of technology.  Since I happen to love me some Sci-Fi, I say bring it on Ilona!

I can’t wait to read the other books in this series.


Memorable quotes:

I know I wouldn’t go down there, but that’s just me.

“Gotta be tough or dumb to go down into the sewers these days. So, which one are you?”

“I’m not dumb, but if I tell you I’m tough, you’ll peg me for a bravo, so I’m just going to smile cryptically.”  I gave him my best cryptic smile.  He did not fall down to his feet, kiss my shoes, and promise me the world.  I must be getting rusty.


Boys are dumb. That’s all. Just dumb.

“You’re right.  I probably don’t. She bothers me.”  I admitted.

“Why? Because she’s prettier?”

I winced.  “Derek, never ever tell a woman that someone is prettier than her.You’ll make an enemy for life.”

“You’re funnier than she is.  And you hit harder.”

“Oh, thank you.  Please, continue to reinforce the fact that she’s more attractive.  If you say that I have a better personality, you’ll find out how hard I can hit.”


Let’s tease the kitty.  Although I don’t think he plays with yarn…

I nodded toward Curran.  “See that man over there with very short hair?  Next to a beautiful woman?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Would you please deliver a saucer of milk to him with my compliments?”


If you liked Magic Bites of the Kate Daniels series…

Pick yourself up some Night Huntress books (starting with Halfway to the Grave)!  Mysteries, strong, self reliant heroine, sexy hero, monsters and bad guys, terrific world building…

I also like Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan books (starting with Dead Witch Walking) for a heroine who works as a freelance problem solver much like Kate, has good friends as back up, and touches of magic a midst a world that is populated by the mundane and the fantastic with surprising, funny, and harrowing results.


Final thoughts:

Magic Bites is the start to what is sure to be a classic UF series in ten years time.  Kate Daniels is utterly likeable and totally convincing as a mercenary for hire who gets in over her head with magical, monstrous nasties.  Like most series starters, it draws you in and leaves you wanting more, more, more!  Comparing the novella I read last year with this book shows that the author started out as a very good writer and has progressed to a great one.  I’m eager to sink my teeth into the other books in  this series!  Magic Bites is a GraveTells Recommended Read!

Rating: Magic Bites


The Captain

When not in pursuit of two small children, a sausage shaped black lab, workaholic husband, crazed hermit crab, bachelor's degree, Jensen Ackles, or editors, I spend time writing and reading PNR/UF as fast as my overtaxed eyes and fingers can read and type. I'm busily writing a series with plenty of Smex Beam deployment and the occasional short story. I am susceptible to bribes involving chocolate, peanut butter, and interesting combinations of the two.