walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

_Magic Bites_ by Ilona Andrews

Another Amazon recommendation.

Like so much other post-Buffy urban fantasy (I know Joss didn't invent this style; probably that's LKH's fault): there are political/religious/racial factions/groups/powers. In this particular case, the typical one is the shapeshifter/werekind group. The usual vampire crowd is still vampires, but the vampires are kinda mindless and "run" by necromancer/necronavigators. There are police and military groups. There are individual powers (e.g. Saiman, another shapeshifter, but apparently not werekind). There is the Order of something-or-other, which includes Knights and Crusaders, some of whom have more specialized roles and responsibilities. Our Heroine comes from an unspecified (but I'd bet elven) group, somewhat connected to the Order. But she's got Problems with Authority (which is why virtually everyone she has any kind of relationship is at or near the top of a hierarchy, I feel sure) and so Does Not Play Well With Others. Despite this, and her comparative youth, she has Mad Skills and Great Natural Talent also Something Special With Her Blood. She is unable to sustain relationships (parents gone, altho possibly not her bio-parents anyway; dates Dr. Crest but blows that budding relationship up thoroughly -- it wasn't going to go anywhere when she stopped worrying about him getting her into trouble anyway. Clearly that's her fetish) initially, but we are given to believe She's Getting Better, in that she sort of rehabs Nick and he sort of reaches out to her. Also, there is the thing with the Beast Lord.

Is it any good?

Well, it does nice things with the Wen Spencer magic-works/tech-works idea. The Words of Power thing is kinda cool, especially the idea that there are Nasties that use the Words of Power as a Language. I have not been to Atlanta, so I have no idea how fast-and-loose she played with the city, but she developed the city well as a character.

The real problem is that SBTB mentioned Mary Sue, which I then looked up on Wikipedia. Boy, that sure brought into high relief all my problems with this and the Lori Foster novel. Oh well. I'll read the sequel when it comes out, but I do find it moderately amusing that Andrews apparently repeated some standard drivel about romance novels in her lj and got pounded for it.

Secondary problems: this world is very, very, very unsafe. I'm betting their population is declining. Steeply. What's _up_ with Curran getting all up in her face about being an attention-seeker? That does not make sense, given the importance of what she is doing and her efficacy in accomplishing her goals. Sure, she screws up, but not in I'm-a-doofus ways. Curran and company screwed up _horribly_ over the whole upiri thing, too. It wasn't her idea to i.d. the human boyfriend -- THEY jumped to that conclusion, then blamed her. It would all make sense if this, like Buffy, were straight up code for high school/college angst. But it does not make sense if there's a serial godonlyknows out there doing the horrible horrible, and Our Heroine is making progress to solving the problem.
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