Usually in fantasy books magic is a force within a person to be used, good or bad, at will. In this book it's an exterior force that is fighting, and winning, against technology, but also useable by those who know how. Usually werewolves are depicted as aloof creatures involved in their own pack lives; the top of the shape-shifting hierarchy. In this book they are just one of many shape-shifters all living in The Pack, led by a fierce were-lion. Usually vampires are dark and dangerous, powerful, totally amoral blood-thirsty creatures, flashy dressers and sexy, to the non-vamp, as all get out. These vampires, most not even creatures of their own volitions, take the Nosferatu model and degenerate it even more. Ugly, near-skeletal monsters who give true meaning to the term "undead" controlled by Masters of the Dead.
This is the world that Kate, a magic-using mercenary, lives, in the former vibrant, now crumbling under the onslaught of magic, city of Atlanta Georgia. One of these "undead" creatures visits her, and through its master finds out that her mentor/father figure has been murdered. With the unofficial blessing of The Guild, the official fighters against evil magic, she sets out to investigate the murder.
"Magic Bites" is an excellent read. It's fast-paced and all the characters are interesting, regardless of how "fantastic". There's almost a romance, but it takes a big hit along the way. I'm hopeful in later books that Kate, who really keeps her emotions under tight control, can repair the nacent relationship, for her own sake, if nothing else.
Unlike some books which reveal everything in the first volumn, this book leaves many things to learn in future stories, including the mystery of Kate herself.