Magic Bites

Posted by : atcampbell | On : April 20, 2010

Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

Twelve people attended this discussion at the Milwood library. Our topic was Magic Bites, the first novel by ArmadilloCon 32 Urban Fantasy Guest Ilona Andrews. The book is set in a post-apocalyptic Atlanta where science and magic alternate for dominance in waves. The heroine, Kate Daniels, gets caught up in an adventure involving creepy shapechangers. Eleven of us started the book, and eight finished it.

One reader said the book was a lot of fun. She appreciated the disgusting Nosferatu-type vampires, which were a welcome change from the sexy teenage vampires so common recently. She liked how characters travel along ley lines. She wanted to know more about the history of magic in this world.

Many of us liked the magic-vs-technology aspect and how the characters have to be ready to react to a changeover. For example a car will suddenly stop when a wave of magic hits, so passengers have to be prepared to walk.

Another reader enjoyed the novel as a “popcorn read.” She felt the basic story was like that of a traditional mystery, so she called this a “cozy with blood.” She would not have read the book if our group had not chosen it, but was pleasantly surprised.

One person appreciated reading a rare post-apocalyptic fantasy. He liked the in-your-face heroine and the cozy mystery elements. He appreciated that the vampires in the book were not sentient.

Yet another liked the Atlanta setting and felt it was well-developed. He generally liked the book but felt it had pacing problems, with little action until the second half. He liked how well-drawn several of the supporting characters were, particularly the Beast Lord.

We were generally pleased that the book kept its romantic element smaller than expected.

One reader appreciated the lack of violence at the beginning. She appreciated the foreshadowing of story elements for later in the series. She felt invested in the romance between Kate and Curran. She said the ending was cinematic, and she could see the movie in her head.

Several people said that they liked this book so much that they’d bought and/or read the other books in the series. After the meeting, many of us had a nice dinner together at Culver’s.
—A. T. Campbell, III