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Magic Triumphs (Kate Daniels) Hardcover – August 28, 2018
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Praise for Magic Triumphs
“A triumph on every level and a book readers won't soon forget! Andrews is truly a phenomenal storyteller!”—RT Book Reviews
Praise for Ilona Andrews and the #1 New York Times Bestselling Kate Daniels Novels
“Ilona Andrews's books are guaranteed good reads.”—Patricia Briggs, #1 New York Times bestselling author
“Kate is a great kick-ass heroine.”—Locus
“One of the brightest voices in urban fantasy...Ilona Andrews delivers only the best.”—Jeaniene Frost, New York Times bestselling author
“One of the best urban fantasy series ever written!”—RT Book Reviews
“Andrews's edgy series stands apart.”—Library Journal
“Urban fantasy absolutely does not get much better than this.”—SF Signal
“I can’t think of another series so consistent, so well written, so full of wit and action and drama that always manages to give me exactly what I’m needing.”—Fiction Vixen
About the Author
Ilona Andrews is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing team, Gordon and Ilona. They currently reside in Texas with their two children and numerous dogs and cats. The couple are the #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors of the Kate Daniels and Kate Daniels World novels as well as The Edge and Hidden Legacy series. They also write the Innkeeper Chronicles series, which they post as a free weekly serial. For a complete list of their books, fun extras, and Innkeeper installments, please visit their website at www.ilona-andrews.com.
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Magic Triumphs isn’t a bad book – its actually pretty darn good but its not a five star ending to the series. I would give it 7/10 so it should really be 3 ½ stars only Amazon won’t allow ½ stars and I rounded down rather than up because these authors can do better.
Hint: as others have said, read Iron & Magic before reading this book. Not essential but it will all make so much more sense if you do.
I’m a fan of Ilona Andrews and the Kate Daniels series and overall this wasn’t a bad end to the series but it felt like there should have been another penultimate book between this one and Magic Binds. MB ends with Kate pregnant, Magic Triumphs prologues with her giving birth and then skips ahead from Chapter 1 onwards to when her son is over a year old. Therefore approx 2 years have passed since MB and yet the world seems to have only sporadically moved on. Some characters (eg: Christopher and Barnabas) are exactly where we left them 2 years ago, almost preserved in amber, while others (eg: Jim & Dali) have had huge behind the scene story arcs which are major motivations for actions in this book and which are simply sketched in with a few lines of conversation. There are also some major character contradictions and plot flaws but more of that later in the spoiler section.
Descriptions of Kate & Curran parenting are great – both very much in character and Conlan is an entertaining toddler with delightful powers. The final resolution to Kate’s battle with Roland is nicely done with sufficient ingenuity to feel satisfactory but it unfortunately relies on a character only introduced in this book. Can’t help feeling a ten book story arc could have had more background to this vital component.
In short the basic plot and the final story arc for Kate & Curran were good but more back story on some of the other characters and more time spent with them in either in this book or a penultimate one would have fleshed this out and made it a more worthy end to a great series.
SPOILER SECTION – WARNING! MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!
Things I had issues with:
1. While it is in character, I’m over Kate & Curran keeping secrets from each other and each deciding to kill or harm themselves to prevent death or harm to the other. It was a good plot device in Magic Rises but it’s getting tiresome and repetitive as its repeated in almost every book after that. Can’t either of them cope with the idea that the other one doesn’t want an ultimate sacrifice and actually talk to each other and work together on their grand strategies for a change?
2. Hugh shows up and everyone is AOK with him almost immediately. It made sense for Kate and Christopher to forgive him but Curran & Barnabas? And what about Nick? He’s still hanging onto the idea that Kate is evil because of her association with Roland but he’s OK with riding into battle on the same side as her and Hugh who he knows did terrible things in Roland’s name for decades. Unlikely.
3. The whole subplot with Nick goes nowhere. Started interestingly with the arrival of the Order Knights and then just petered out.
4. Julie knows all about Hugh but we never find out how. This may be coming in another book but it feels like it should have happened before this book was published.
5. Curran is hunting and eating divine creatures for no reason except to steal their power. That makes him totally despicable. I thought in the previous book that it was a bit tough on the divine tiger he killed and ate but was waiting to see where the authors were taking that as he was described as being compelled to destroy it – he had to “make it not be”. Well apparently he wasn’t actually compelled to kill divine creatures at all - he just decided he would because he wanted their power so he could resurrect his dead wife if need be. Hmmm. So if the dragon kills humans to boil them down and power up his army by feeding them the bones that’s bad, but if Curran kills divine animals to eat them and power up to godhood that’s ok. Sounds morally questionable to me and this is never addressed by anyone at any point in this book. It’s just all OK because it’s Curran doing it and he’s the hero not the villain.
Apparently I'm not the only one who didn't like Curran turning to the dark side as since I originally wrote this review the authors have posted on their website to explain to outraged fans that Curran isn't killing random divine creatures, he's apparently killing ones that were preying on humans and would have to have been killed anyway and that these are Guild jobs he's been on. I really didn't get that impression from reading the book so I re-read it with this in mind and I think its still not obvious. A Guild-Outreach program is mentioned initially but is never referred to again, the hunts are always described as hunts not gigs and Kate's confusion about Curran's sudden passion for hunting doesn't really work if he's supposed to be fulfilling legit Guild gigs. And this explanation doesn't cover the first divine creature Curran killed as the tiger was a prisoner of Rolands (and therefore not rampaging around the countryside killing people) and Curran had no Guild gig to kill it. However while I feel the explanation has few logic holes in it, its still an explanation so consider my objection here withdrawn.
6. Almost everyone (see below) we’ve ever met in the books gets a cameo but that’s all they get. They walk on stage so we can all go “whee – there’s XXX” and then they walk off. No real interaction with the majority of them.
7. The whole “we can’t rely on the Pack – we can’t trust Jim” seemed a rather half-baked plot line. Jim sends Robert to say an alliance is on but they find out Jim has also met with Roland’s people so they decide he’s possibly untrustworthy. They decide not to say anything to Jim because it won’t solve anything if he’s turned against them and he will be upset at their mistrust if he hasn’t but then Dali rides into a scene to somewhat abruptly announce she’s barren and now all becomes clear. Really? And give Jim a break FFS – everyone trusts Hugh straight away but Jim gets cut no slack? Again – unlikely. This whole Jim & Dali thing was worthy of a far longer and better treatment – it would have formed a great subplot for a penultimate book for instance.
8. Still on Jim & Dali - there was a whole description in Iron & Magic of how Hugh would have destroyed Jim’s leadership of the Pack by attacking Dali. Roland knew all about this strategy but hasn’t done anything about the Pack for two whole years. Why not? He had the Sahanu available not to mention the Golden Legion. Again a good plot/subplot for a penultimate book esp as Raphael & Andrea knew about this plan so presumably filled Jim & Dali in. Would have been nice to see how Jim rose to the occasion and thwarted the plan by not succumbing to his paranoia.
9. And still on Jim – where was he? Jim is missing from this book altogether. WTF?! The final battle but no mention of the Beast Lord. I don’t think so. The Beast Lord should have been in this.
10. The Sahanu were wasted. All this trouble to set them up as a force to be reckoned with just to get them all killed off in a totally unnecessarily elaborate plot. Why would Roland risk his “shiny” grandson getting injured just to get Kate to kill off the Sahanu? All the Sahunu live to kill or be killed by one of Roland’s blood so why didn’t he just kill them himself – they wouldn’t have objected. They’d have been thrilled to die at his hands.
11. Not enough engagement with Adora as an actual person to enable us to be sorry she died. At the end of MB she was only just developing her own character and she didn’t get much play in this one before she died. Again an additional book would have enabled the authors to flesh her out so we would actually care about her death by dragon in this one.
12. The dragon. Well actually the dragon is pretty cool but as I said in the non-spoiler section it’s a bit meh to have the dragon show up in the last book just so he can possess a magical McGuffin that can conveniently trap Roland in another reality. More backstory for the dragon would have been nice and there have been nine previous Kate Daniels books to do this with so the first mention shouldn’t have been in a spin off series (Iron Covenant).
13. The final battle is meh. The battle in Magic Breaks was excellent. It was built up to, well described and engaging. This seemed flat. Everyone we care about was supposedly taking part but you had no real feel for anyone being in actual danger and no real engagement. Saiman’s death happens off camera and we don’t even get the scene where his body was bought to Kate. (Personally I’m really hoping being buried in a high magic area like Unicorn Lane makes Demigod Frost Giants regenerate). The authors should have spent way more time on this.
And really that’s it in a nutshell – the authors should have spent way more time on this. I got the distinct impression they had got bored with Kate & Curran and just wanted the series done. They had a lot of subplots going that ended up leading nowhere and although it is possible there are plans to explore some of these in future novels in the same world those novels should have been published before this one. That way this one could have been the really great end to the series that it almost is but ultimately isn’t. What a shame.
Kate has several issues to deal with concurrently including Curran’s new and disturbing god-eating habit, a toddler son who has some amazing and scary abilities of his own, and the usual pack drama even though Curran allegedly is no longer their leader. Two years have passed in this story since the last book and while things have been relatively peaceful, they all know with Roland in the offing that will come to a vicious end soon. All the old gang plus some new ones come together to help Kate and Curran defend Atlanta and the surrounding areas they protect.
In the impending huge and epic battles with the newly arisen enemy as well as Roland, losses will occur, some of whom are well known. Readers will be most anxious to know who lives and who dies cheering their favorites and booing the villains. MAGIC TRIUMPHS delivers fans a full dose of all the things they have come to expect from this series including heart-stopping action, explosive battles, bizarre, strange magical creatures coupled with a deep and intense relationship between Kate and Curran plus all the crazy assortment of those they call their own. When a series ends, readers have many expectations; the writing team of Ilona Andrews has done a fine job of finishing this series in a way that will leave fans well satisfied and looking forward to spinoffs in the future.