Magic Burns – Ilona Andrews [Review]

Magic Burns is the second book in the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews.

Penguin published this urban fantasy book in April, 2008. I read it in paperback format, which I have owned for a long time and hadn’t gotten around to reading.

Magic Burns includes elements of action, fantasy, paranormal, and a little romance. If you like bloody battles, sexy gods or shapeshifters, and a snarky heroine, this one would be up your alley.



Down in Atlanta, tempers – and temperatures – are about to flare…

As a mercenary who cleans up after magic gone wrong, Kate Daniels has seen her share of occupational hazards. Normally, waves of paranormal energy ebb and flow across Atlanta like a tide. But once every seven years, a flare comes, a time when magic runs rampant. Now Kate’s going to have to deal with problems on a much bigger scale: a divine one.

When Kate sets out to retrieve a set of stolen maps for the Pack, Atlanta’s paramilitary clan of shapeshifters, she quickly realizes much more at stake. During a flare, gods and goddesses can manifest – and battle for power. The stolen maps are only the opening gambit in an epic tug-of-war between two gods hoping for rebirth. And if Kate can’t stop the cataclysmic showdown, the city may not survive…


Jen’s Review of MAGIC BURNS

Quick Review: Bloody battles, snarky heroine, and a hint of romance… This book has a little of everything. The worldbuilding and character development were excellent. My only complaint was that I couldn’t always understand what the authors were trying to say. Overall, loved it.

The Story

There is a lot of stuff going on in Magic Burns. All the pieces are connected. A missing coven, a girl who needs protection while Kate tries to locate her mother, a hot and mysterious bowman, magic flares, her ex’s new woman asking for her help getting Curran to approve their marriage, stolen maps, and more…

Although there is a lot to keep track of, Ilona Andrews kept everything moving along in a way that always made sense. The book contains so much action it’s hard to put it down.

I know I’m really, really behind in reading this series. But, if by some chance you are like me and new to it, I suggest reading the books in order. Although Magic Burns can be read without having read the first book, I think the dynamics between Curran and Kate make more sense if you’ve read Magic Bites.


The Characters


I really liked Kate in the prequel of this series. But, in the first book, I wasn’t sure if she was my kind of heroine. She seemed too kick-ass. I worried that she wouldn’t have any emotion or depth.

In Magic Burns, she shows more sides of herself. I grew to like her a lot. She’s tough and strong, but she also has a tender heart when it comes to people she cares about or feels she needs to protect because they can’t protect themselves.

I also grew attached to Kate because I felt sorry for her. She is a bad-ass at fighting, but not that great with people.

She’s lonely, too, because she is afraid of people finding out her secret. I’m looking forward to learning more about Kate, especially what she is. The reader got some more hints in this book, but not enough information about her yet.


A pre-teen girl whose mother is missing. Julie is young and naive. She also has rare powers. Kate becomes her protector.

I don’t have much to say about Julie. She needed to be in the story, but I don’t have any opinion about her one way or the other.

The only thing that struck me as a little strange was how Kate kept calling Julie her child. The attachment seemed over-the-top to me. However, it did allow me to see another side of Kate that I didn’t know she had. So, that part of it was good.


Curran is the alpha of the Pack, which is all the Atlanta shapeshifters. He’s a lion, and he’s got a thing for Kate, even though they butt heads almost every time they come together. I enjoy watching them go at one another, because there is always the hint that something more might come of it.


Jim is a member of the Pack. He’s also Kate’s partner. I didn’t understand what was going on with him. He acted like he was pissed off at Kate one minute, without explanation for why that was, then he’d be friendly again. I didn’t particularly like Jim for that reason.


Bran is the bowman. Kate finds out he’s on the same side as her. They team up. Bran is also a big perv who thinks he can convince Kate to sleep with him. It was funny watching her shoot him down again and again.


He’s Julie’s boyfriend, or so she thinks. Red has other plans for her. He falls on the villain side, even though he’s a kid. For the most part, he was a well-developed character. His motivations made sense.

There are many other characters in this story, but those were the ones that stuck in my memory the most.


The Writing

The writing team known as Ilona Andrews does a great job of weaving together all the different elements like mystery, action, humor, and mythology. It was very easy to suspend disbelief. My only complaint is that I couldn’t always visualize what had happened. Sometimes, I didn’t understand what the authors were trying to say. At times, it felt like pieces of information were missing that I needed. Other times, I think the word choices could have been better. But, overall, Magic Burns was an easy and enjoyable read.


Do I Recommend?

If you’re a latecomer like myself, I definitely recommend reading Magic Burns. It’s fast-paced, action-packed, and funny in places. The worldbuilding and character development are excellent.

The actual writing could have been a bit better, but it didn’t detract much from my overall enjoyment. As a whole, I loved the book. It was hard for me to put it down.

I plan to continue reading this series until I am caught up. I’m fascinated with the world Ilona Andrews created.

I think any person who likes books about magic, shapeshifters, gods, vampires, etc. will enjoy this because the mythology is so different from many other books I have read. If for no other reason, I would give Magic Burns an A for creativity.


My Rating for MAGIC BURNS: 5 out of 5 stars (A)



In Magic Burns, Kate had several men trying to get her in bed. Does that seem realistic to you? Do you prefer fewer or more suitors?


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About Jen Schaper

In addition to being a book blogger, I am a mother of three children, a retail backroom coordinator, and a wannabe writer (when I make time to do it).
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