‘Magic Tides’ – Kate Daniels: Wilmington Years #1 by Ilona Andrews – highly recommended.

I had no idea that ‘Magic Tides’ was coming. As soon as I saw the cover on Twitter, I downloaded the ebook, put my other books aside and dove in.

It was wonderful fun. It’s classic Kate Daniels but freed from the weight of all the politics and complex conflicts.

I was happy because I had Kate back AND it was Kate making a new beginning in a new place, with no pack, just her husband and her son.

Kate and Curren have set up home in Wilmington (in a faux castle, abandoned by a billionaire pre-shift, which they’re now turning into a defensible keep – doesn’t everyone want a home like that?), sending Conlan to school (OK, it’s not a normal school and Kate carefully explains to the school administrator that, in the unlikely event that eight-year-old Conlan goes on the rampage, the best thing would be to hide and wait for one of his parents to arrive) and Kate and her family are keeping a low profile.

A new start in a new place doesn’t make Kate a new person and keeping a low profile isn’t in her DNA, so, after a very few pages, Kate is on a mission to save a child from the bad guys and she’s going to make a lot of noise while she’s doing it. The child is the nephew of one of the contractors working on Kate’s castle rebuild. He’s been kidnapped by a feared gang called Red Horn. Thomas, the child’s father tries to explain to Curren the risk that Kate is about to take. He doesn’t get the response he expects. Here’s how it goes:

“Red Horn kills people,” Thomas said behind my back. “Your wife…”
“Will enjoy the exercise,” my husband said. “You know what they say. Happy wife, happy life.”

It was great to see Kate not trying to hide her abilities anymore. Yes, she’d like to keep a low profile but that’s not going to keep her from doing whatever it takes to defeat anyone standing between her and the child she has set out to retrieve, so things quickly become messy, bloody and very very loud.

I loved the humour. The fight scenes were all fun. The plot was simple but effective. Kate’s search for the child has her bumping into The Order, The People and some members of The Pack, as well as encountering a wide range of monsters from an international buffet of mythologies.

I liked that the story wasn’t all told from Kate’s point of view. Curran gets to give an account of how he deals with the backwash from the bow wave of Kate’s slash-and-dash pursuit of the kidnappers, including a full-scale assault on the not-quite-finished castle. Conlan gives us his version of how that assault went, including his own kill, which Curren is doing his best to ensure that Kate never hears of.

‘Magic Tides’ is a 154-page novella but it packs in more action, more humour and more myths and legends than most full-length novels.

I was smiling the whole time that I was reading it.

I want more and I want it soon I’m hoping Kate’s fresh start is going to give me some great new stories to read. I’m also happy if they’re novellas, especially if they have this level of energy.

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