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Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews
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Magic Binds

by Ilona Andrews

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(Originally reviewed at thelibraryladies.com.)

From all accounts, the Kate Daniels series is set to be a ten book run. And this, the 9th, definitely feels like it is the setup for a grand finale, hitting all the right notes by growing the conflict with Roland, raising the psychological stakes for our heroine, and setting up a clear end game for the story as a whole.

The last few books were a bit middling, if I’m honest. As I said in my last review of this series, with Roland on the scene any other “big bad” feels superficial and like a place-holder whose only purpose is to delay the big eventual show-down between Kate and her father. In this book, we’ve arrived at that show-down. Or, at least, to the initial skirmishes that lead up to it.

For a series that started out fairly firmly rooted in the urban fantasy/romance genre, I feel like the story has really come into its own as a family drama. And what a dysfunctional, all-powerful, ego-maniacal family it is! While Curran still plays his role, his and Kate’s relationship has felt steady and well-defined for some time now. And I really appreciate that after the one stumble with relationship shenanigans a few books ago, Andrews hasn’t felt the need to fiddle with this aspect much. Instead, the focus has shifted to Kate’s growing understanding and relationship (?) with her remaining family, in whatever form they may now be.

Kate’s aunt, the “City Eater,” who was killed off a few books ago makes a refreshing re-appearance. That character was brilliant the first time around, both as a legitimately threatening enemy for Kate, but almost more importantly as another bridge into Kate’s family history. Here, this secondary role is even more strongly focused in upon. Kate is feeling the repercussions of her claim on Atlanta, an action that has triggered a well of power and family ambition. Not only do we get Kate’s aunt back with all of her amazing snark, but we even get to meet whatever remains of Kate’s grandma, a powerful being whom Roland has trapped to serve as an energy source to power his massive prison. There’s a lot of focus on the extensive history of Kate’s family with some beautiful looks back to what their world had been like. These flashes, combined with some quiet moments between Roland and Kate, served to much better flesh out Roland’s character and motivations.

Roland himself was great as always. Here we really begin to see the pay-off of taking this long (several books worth of time) to fully flesh out a villain. Roland is so many things all at once: loving father, murdering sociopath, sympathetic hero, misguided maniac. The reader both despises him, but also understands him. With Kate herself struggling with the “Dark Side,” for lack of a better word, it is easy to see Roland’s own fall from hero to villain. His relationship with Kate is so tragic, and yet Andrews saves the book from melancholy with trademark wit. At one point Roland is both threatening to end Kate while also being offended on her behalf about the “shameful lack of feasting” that is planned for her wedding. It’s lovely.

There are few short mini-adventures in this story, and those were the weaker points for me. They were fun enough and we run into a few interesting new creatures (a spunky pegasus is a high point), but given the added depth that we were seeing in the other parts of the book, these adventures also felt a bit too simplistic.

My only other quibble was with the very end of the story, and it was an event that had been literally prophesied from the very beginning of the book, if not the book before even. And really, this quibble is only a personal choice as *spoiler warning* not typically being a fan of pregnancy storylines in fantasy is purely on me.

All in all, I very much enjoyed this book. It actually might be one of my favorites in the series. The stakes are higher, the personal conflict is greater, the backstory is richer, and the characters have all come into their own. ( )
  thelibraryladies | Sep 15, 2017 |
I enjoyed Magic Binds immensely! I couldn't put it down. It was so much fun to see Kate finally get to show off her badass powers, but also heart-wrenching to watch her struggle with her own dark side and the impossible, seemingly doomed situation. I even teared up a couple of times, especially during a certain family reunion that I won’t spoil. Some parts felt a bit rushed, but the ending is perfect. This remains, hands down, one of my favorite urban fantasy series of all time. I don't want it to end, but I also can't wait for the final installment. I have a feeling it's going to be epic. ( )
  les121 | Aug 3, 2017 |
The latest Kate Daniels book has a lot happen, at long last. Kate prepares for her wedding, goes on a few side quests, and starts to learn about the power in her blood and what it really means to claim Atlanta as her land. There’s a huge confrontation with her father and a predictable but still interesting stakes-raising ending. I liked her struggle to avoid becoming as power-mad as her father, and also liked the trick she pulled to get useful information about her bloodline from a source other than her father. ( )
  rivkat | Jan 11, 2017 |
It seems like each episode of this series, and this is the ninth, puts Kate under more pressure and gives her more impossible odds to beat. This one has Kate planning her wedding to Curran, or avoiding planning it, until Roman takes over and becomes one of the oddest wedding planners in fiction.

Kate also has to deal with her father kidnapping Saiman which comes really close to breaking the treaty he has Kate. Also witchly prophecies are showing that either Curran or their unborn son will die is the upcoming battle for the city of Atlanta. Kate doesn't know how she can find away to keep those prophecies from coming true or how she can defeat her father with his seemingly limitless magic and vast armies.

But Kate uses her strengths in gathering a variety of unlikely allies as she prepares to take on her father.

This story was filled with action. It was also filled with Kate learning more about her powers and what she is willing to do with them. I really like her relationship with Curran and her relationship with Julie. We got a chance in this one to see how she interacts with a number of her friends. Fans of the series won't want to miss this episode. ( )
  kmartin802 | Jan 5, 2017 |
Got the book back again and finally got sucked in and just sped through the rest of the book. I actually started at 130-ish and went forward. Kate and Currin do get married. Kate gets her aunt as a mentor/teacher.

-Taking more concentration than I've been able to give it. It's due back in the morning and I'm no where near done. So requested it and will get it back in a few weeks and try again. Stopped at page - 150. ( )
  pnwbookgirl | Nov 7, 2016 |
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To Uncle Gene. We miss you.
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The skull glared at me out of empty eye sockets.
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Book description
Mercenary Kate Daniels knows all too well that magic in post-Shift Atlanta is a dangerous business. But nothing she’s faced could have prepared her for this…

Kate and the former Beast Lord Curran Lennart are finally making their relationship official. But there are some steep obstacles standing in the way of their walk to the altar…

Kate’s father, Roland, has kidnapped the demigod Saiman and is slowly bleeding him dry in his never-ending bid for power. A Witch Oracle has predicted that if Kate marries the man she loves, Atlanta will burn and she will lose him forever. And the only person Kate can ask for help is long dead.

The odds are impossible. The future is grim. But Kate Daniels has never been one to play by the rules…
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Mercenary Kate Daniels knows all too well that magic in post-Shift Atlanta is a dangerous business. But nothing she's faced could have prepared her for this. Kate and the former Beast Lord Curran Lennart are finally making their relationship official. But there are some steep obstacles standing in the way of their walk to the altar. Kate's father, Roland, has kidnapped the demigod Saiman and is slowly bleeding him dry in his never-ending bid for power. A Witch Oracle has predicted that if Kate marries the man she loves, Atlanta will burn and she will lose him forever. And the only person Kate can ask for help is long dead. The odds are impossible. The future is grim. But Kate Daniels has never been one to play by the rules ... --… (more)

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