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42 of 42 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dreams of blood
WARNING: This story was originally published in the short-story collection "Hexed." Do not buy if you own that book.

Most urban fantasy stories have female lead characters, and usually they're tough, allegedly butt-kicking twentysomethings who swoon in front of alpha males. So it's nice to see a more realistic heroine at the heart of "Magic Dreams," a...
Published on June 26, 2012 by E. A Solinas

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Liked it but dissatisfied
I love Ilona Andrews books and I have yet to read one I didn't like but I was a bit dissatisfied with this book. Almost forty percent was praise for her books, and a promotion for another book....while all that is good it left me feeling a bit cheated. The story while a novella and thus a short story still felt like it could have had a bit more depth and build up. Add in...
Published 7 months ago by Pepsi


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42 of 42 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dreams of blood, June 26, 2012
This review is from: Magic Dreams: A Penguin Special from Ace (Kate Daniels) (Kindle Edition)
WARNING: This story was originally published in the short-story collection "Hexed." Do not buy if you own that book.

Most urban fantasy stories have female lead characters, and usually they're tough, allegedly butt-kicking twentysomethings who swoon in front of alpha males. So it's nice to see a more realistic heroine at the heart of "Magic Dreams," a beautifully suspenseful, clever story set in Ilona Andrews' Kate Daniels universe.

Awkward, nerdy weretiger Dali Harimau is shocked when she comes home to find the werecat alpha Jim semiconscious in her bedroom. He's dazed and suffering from missing time, which seems to be connected to four missing shapeshifters -- and a mysterious woman that he saw. So Dali knows that it must be magic.

Fortunately, Dali has some knowledge of magic, meaning that she may be the only one who can find out what is slowly killing Jim. But this is no ordinary killer -- and as she tries to save the man she loves, Dali must confront a secret horror that she cannot possibly defeat except with her brains.

"Magic Dreams" is set in the same world -- even the same city -- as Ilona Andrews' glorious Kate Daniels' series, but the focus is on a character we haven't seen before. And Dali is a refreshingly realistic heroine: despite being a rare white weretiger, she's nerdy, puny and not very intimidating. And unlike most UF heroines, she uses her brains rather than brawn.

And despite being only a short story, Andrews' writing. is absolutely brilliant, weaving together urban fantasy settings with Asian folklore (including yokai and Indonesian fairy tales). But at heart, it's the story of an "ugly duckling" whose brains must be used to save the man she loves. It's funny, wrenching, and its ending reminds me of JRR Tolkien's "The Hobbit."

"Magic Dreams" is a solid addition to the "Magic" series' canon -- but the best part is the thoroughly atypical weretiger heroine. And for new readers, it's not a half bad place to jump on.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent short story, August 5, 2012
This review is from: Magic Dreams: A Penguin Special from Ace (Kate Daniels) (Kindle Edition)
In 2011 the readers got the release of a new novella from Ilona Andrews called "Magic Dreams", which was featured in the Hexed anthology and includes contributions from Yasmine Galenorn, Allyson James and Jeanne C. Stein. "Magic Dreams" focuses on Jim and Dali, who are both from the Cat clan. Jim is the alpha and the head of security for the Pack, while Dali is a white were-tigress who was last seen in Magic Strikes. "Magic Dreams" is sixty-eight pages long and is narrated entirely by Dali Harimau.

The novella is set a few weeks after the climax of Magic Bleeds and does not contain any spoilers for Magic Slays. The story begins with Jim visiting Dali--who is an expert of all things magical as was revealed in Magic Strikes--because he cannot remember what happened when he was investigating a certain mishap at a northwestern office. Figuring out what is happening at this office, and how Dali helps Jim, is the crux of the story.

Ilona Andrews has a rather crucial sense of what works and what doesn't, and choosing to focus on Dali--a minor, but fascinating character from Magic Strikes who shines because of her quirkiness and vulnerability--was a great decision. Throw in intriguing Indonesian and Japanese mythologies, a rather funny side to a mother-daughter bond, and top-notch writing, and it's no wonder that "Magic Dreams" is my favorite Kate Daniels-related short story so far.

All in all, "Magic Dreams" is another worthy addition to the Kate Daniels universe, and I hope the authors consider writing more stories about Dali as I for one would love to read more about the white were-tigress in a central role...
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Angieville: MAGIC DREAMS, July 5, 2012
This review is from: Magic Dreams: A Penguin Special from Ace (Kate Daniels) (Kindle Edition)
Though I read and very much enjoyed the Ilona Andrews' Andrea & Raphael novella in Must Love Hellhounds, I somehow never got around to reading the Hexed anthology. This was tragic on several levels, mainly because the Andrews novella included in that volume was the Jim and Dali story. I have been salivating over those two for what feels like forever now, anxiously crossing my fingers they would get their own book. And yet its inclusion in that antho somehow escaped my knowledge. This is why I got all giddy when MAGIC DREAMS was re-released last week, this time as an e-special. My nook and I clasped our hands in joy and then set about curling up together with one seriously gruff werejaguar and one smartypants weretiger. I've been extremely curious as to Jim's actual feelings on the small-package-good-things-come-in Dali, so it was with absolute relish that I devoured this 86-page treat.

The alpha of Clan Cat and leader of the Beast Lord's security force is a force to be reckoned with, albeit a strong silent one. That's why Dali tends to opt in favor of flying under his radar whenever she possibly can. The hydra-sized crush she's been nursing doesn't even come into it. Even if she wasn't almost legally blind, Dali can see from his actions Jim has little interest in her professionally and even less romantically. Why would he? She doesn't eat meat. She can't see properly. She's scrawny, ugly, and disobedient. And so like any self-respecting weretiger, she drowns her sorrows in fast cars and dusty magic. Until one day Jim comes in search of help. From Dali. Fast falling under what appears to be a grave curse, Jim is in need of some serious magical aid. The kind Dali is uniquely equipped to provide. The two set out to find what or who is behind the force sapping Jim's formidable strength. Dali knows how smart she is, but she has no illusions as to her strength. And if Jim is out of commission, she may be crushed like a tiny bug before she has a chance to outwit the villain.

Okay, first things first, who knew Jim had a last name? Shrapshire?! I love it. I love all the last names in this series. They are always at once surprising and perfectly fitting. I mean, Jim Shrapshire and Dali Harimau? Genius. What's even more genius are the paces Ilona Andrews puts these two myopically challenged characters through. Having spent time five books' worth of time with Jim, it would be an understatement to say that I was eager to peel back a few of the layers surrounding him. Ever since his merc days with Kate, Jim's taken himself so seriously he can hardly unclench long enough to appreciate a good sandwich let alone a girl like Dali. But he's been through a lot, has Jim. He doesn't allow himself breaks. There's little of peace or beauty in his life. As for Dali, it was impossible not to like her from her first appearance in the series. She burst onto the scene all erratic and intelligent. Her cursework saved the Pack's bacon in the Midnight Games. And she's refreshingly different from both Kate and Andrea. I love her for how unapologetically smart she is and for how willing she is to walk into fire for those she cares about. The notion that the buttoned up, lethal chief of security and the booksmart, loveblind white tigergirl might find some common ground tickled me down to my toes. A favorite passage early on showing exactly how awesome Dali is:

***

"Didn't Jim forbid you to race?"

Jim was my alpha. The shapeshifter Pack was segregated into seven clans, by the family of the animal, and Jim headed Felidae with a big Jaguar paw hiding awesome claws. He was smart, and strong, and incredibly hot--and the only time Jim noticed my existence was when I made myself into a pain in the ass or when he needed an expert on the ancient Far East. Otherwise, I might just as well have been invisible.

I raised my head to let Kasen know I meant business. "Jim isn't the boss of me."

"Actually yes, yes he is."

It's good that I wasn't a wereporcupine, or his mouth would be full of quills. "Are you going to snitch on me?"

"That depends. When you die, can I have your car?"

"No."

Kasen sighed. "I'm trying to make a point here. I've been watching this race for six years now and I've never seen anyone crash as much as you. You're my number-one customer. You can barely see, Dali, and you take stupid chances. No offense."

No offense, right. "No offense" stood for "I'm going to insult you, but you can't be mad at me." I bared my teeth at him. When it came down to it, he was a rat and I was a tiger.

***

Their first official story was everything I hoped it would be. MAGIC DREAMS really brought to my attention how fond of Jim and Dali I had become just following them as side characters in someone else's story. And that, I believe, is the mark of a superior storyteller--that ability to nurture your readers' affections for not only the larger-than-life protagonists, but for the supporting cast as well, from integral cog to maverick nut or bolt. My affections were engaged, my attention riveted. MAGIC DREAMS satisfies on every level. More, please.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Liked it but dissatisfied, January 10, 2014
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This review is from: Magic Dreams: A Penguin Special from Ace (Kate Daniels) (Kindle Edition)
I love Ilona Andrews books and I have yet to read one I didn't like but I was a bit dissatisfied with this book. Almost forty percent was praise for her books, and a promotion for another book....while all that is good it left me feeling a bit cheated. The story while a novella and thus a short story still felt like it could have had a bit more depth and build up. Add in the fact its just a teased from Hexed and I really did feel dissatisfied. Amazon gave me a refund and I will be much more careful with my purchases regarding novellas from Ilona Andrews in the future.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice Novella to Tide Me Over Until the Next Book, August 26, 2013
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This review is from: Magic Dreams: A Penguin Special from Ace (Kate Daniels) (Kindle Edition)
This short novella is centered around the werejaguar Jim and the were-white tiger Dali. Jim is the Pack's chief of security, a job he takes very seriously. Dali is one of the more unusual weres in the Pack. Being a white tiger makes her sacred in her culture, yet she is sooo not your typical tiger. Dali can't see very much of anything - she's probably legally blind, but who in their eight mind would tell a tiger that, let alone put it on their driver's license? And the icing on the cake - she's a vegetarian who can't stand the sight or smell of blood. So much for being near the top of the food chain.

Dali does possess magic though, learned from her family. While Curran and Kate are off handling their own situation something happens that brings Jim to Dali's doorstep, asking for her help. Dali is stunned, as she feels like Jim isn't even aware that she exists, while she is hyper-aware of him.

An entire office never checked in - four decent weres were gone. Jim had gone to check it out and found that something was very, very wrong. The place was dirty, quiet, and had an odd symbol drawn on the floor. A symbol that Jim couldn't recall, which was unheard if for him and scared Dali fairly badly since she could only think of a few spells that could cause tat kind of mental confusion.

The two team up to investigate the situation, which turns into far more than either expected. And when Jim's life is on the line Dali finds the inner courage to risk everything to save him. For Dali is wildly in love with Jim, the kind where if you had to choose to have their life or their live you would choose life each time, even if it meant they might forget who you are.

A sweet novella, this story gave much greater insight both characters, which was fun. While Jim has been featured more prominently in other stories, Dali has mostly been a minor character. Not exactly easy for someone who turns into a very large white tiger. At just over 100 pages this makes for a nice lunch-break reading, while helping us addicts get through the wait for the release of the next novel in the series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok, February 16, 2013
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This review is from: Magic Dreams: A Penguin Special from Ace (Kate Daniels) (Kindle Edition)
It was good. Not like the books before it where you know that by ever page you turn you be getting more than what you think.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I Prefer Longer Stories, August 12, 2012
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J. Luton (McKinney, Texas United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Magic Dreams: A Penguin Special from Ace (Kate Daniels) (Kindle Edition)
I'm not a huge fan of short stories, but I always enjoy Ilona Andrews. These were typical (for me) of short stories, in that I wished for more depth in the plot and character development. Still, shorts are good for reading over lunch or when you only have a little bit of time. And Ilona Andrews is really good at writing in the world she (they?) has created.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellently paced, a perfect balance between romance and danger, June 26, 2012
This review is from: Magic Dreams: A Penguin Special from Ace (Kate Daniels) (Kindle Edition)
Now, if the line "a tale of darkness, desire, and werecats" doesn't make you guffaw and totally want to check this novella out, I'm not sure what I can say to convince you, but I'm going to try. Because, dear friends, Magic Dreams, easily captured the roll of my favorite novella thus far in this series. Maybe it was because I was coming off of a couple of fairly mediocre reads and Magic Dreams totally picked me up, but more than that I think it's because it was a fresh and unique look into this world I've come to love.

In Magic Mourns, I was excited for the change of perspective from Kate to Andrea. I love Andrea, but I'm not going to lie, I was even more excited after experiencing the switch to Dali in Magic Dreams. Kate and Andrea had different voices, and are very different women, but at the same time they're both incredibly strong women who get paid to kick butt and take names. Dali is completely different, and much more relatable to the average woman. She is incredibly intelligent, but also lacking in the confidence department. She's blind (What up homegirl? Wanna compare perscriptions?), sucks at fighting to the point that blood can make her puke (though we did see some killer magic skills in the area), and her own mother doesn't think she's pretty. We all know it's pretty impossible to think you're pretty if your own mother doesn't see it. As a result, she fails to recognize her utility, even as she seeks to prove it. When Jim, who she's completely in love with but also completely convinced would never look twice at her, comes to her for help only she can provide, Dali will go to every length imaginable to save his life.

I loved being in Dali's head, even if she was a bit frustrating and defensive at times. Who among us hasn't been there when we're trying to convince ourselves we don't suck? I loved an insider's view on her dopey disorientation when she first shifts to her tiger form, as it usually takes her a couple of minutes to remember what's going on and in the meantime is very easily distracted by smells. The way she reacts to Jim was adorably hilarious to me.

Also, I feel like because Dali's more academically minded, and because she comes from a family with a long history of magic, we got a better explanation of just how today's dilapidated Atlanta came to be. And finally, we learn a very interesting tidbit about Kate and her magic's affect on technology while Dali attempts to explain the situation.

The plot was, as ever, excellently paced, a perfect balance between romance and danger. The mythology used this time was all Eastern Asian, largely Japanese, and I ate it up. I would love to see more of this!

I highly recommend this novella for fans of Kate Daniels, like I said, it's been my favorite so far. Now here's hoping Ilona Andrews will write a Derek novella at some point!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fun New Perspective in Kate Daniels' World, August 14, 2014
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This review is from: Magic Dreams: A Penguin Special from Ace (Kate Daniels) (Kindle Edition)
What I really enjoy about these novellas that focus on other characters in the Kate Daniels' world is that we get to see things from a new point-of-view. It becomes obvious that Kate isn't always the most ... reliable narrator. There are things that she simply doesn't, and can't, take into account because she doesn't know everything. Not only do we get expanded views of Atlanta, but also of dynamics between characters, and different viewpoints of characters that we may have thought we knew.

I admit I first read this novella and didn't love Dali. I liked her, but I was frustrated with how she would put people in danger driving on the roads. Willfully endangering others is not a way to my heart. What I learned here is that that view might be overstating things a bit. Dali's capable of driving, and doing so safely even if she is considered legally blind. She's definitely got some things she's been trying to work through, but she's an awesome character that isn't going to let anything get her down for long.

I also really loved seeing Jim through her eyes. We've seen him many times through Kate's eyes, but it's something different when you see him as one who is in love with him does. Jim's still gruff, and alpha; he's definitely in charge and stubborn, but I also had my appreciation of his reliability and steadfastness, and his deep core of honor, increased exponentially.

Ilona Andrews wove this story around Asian culture and mythologies. I really enjoyed their magical take on this culture. I don't want to say too much about it, because I enjoyed the mystery of what was going on, and how Dali investigated and figured out what was going on - which was very different from Kate's way of doing it - was intriguing.

There was also a new character that was introduced that I'm supremely interested in! He shows up again later, and I can't wait to see more of him!!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Short Story Nom Nom!, July 11, 2012
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This review is from: Magic Dreams: A Penguin Special from Ace (Kate Daniels) (Kindle Edition)
Magic Dreams by Ilona Andrews delivers delicious bits of a world we can't get enough of. Wow, I loved learning so much more about Dali and her family. Her strength and intelligence took this short story exactly where it had to be taken. Andrew's ability to intertwine Indonesian folklore with such detail and at the same time weave a wonderful tale, only demonstrates true mastery of the craft. Dali's desire to keep Jim alive regardless of the danger she faced, brought her feelings for Jim to the forefront. Sadly there was not a cameo of the lovely Kate, but Dali did mention her a few times. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and the knowledge that Ilona Andrews will make it worth our wait, only makes this series even more intriguing. I can't wait for Gunmetal Magic so I'll be able to indulge once again in all things Katie, even though it will be focused on our girl, Andrea, there are sure to be glimpses of our darling Kate. Andrea's story can no longer be contained and must be told, she is a force to be reckoned with and followers need more.
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