Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews. ★★★★
Magic Binds is the ninth book in the Kate Daniels series, which is perhaps my all time favorite urban fantasy series. The series starts with Magic Bites. While not the greatest beginning, the series reaches “awesome” territory by book three and has consistently stayed there. Magic Binds is no exception. I expected to enjoy the heck out of it, and I did.
If you’re new to the series, Magic Binds is not a good starting point. It relies extensively on the eight prior books of characterization and world building. I could easily see a new reader being overwhelmed. If you have any interest in urban fantasy, I would highly encourage you to go check out one of the earlier books in the series. Maybe books two or three, Magic Burns and Magic Strikes, if you want to skip over the lackluster first installment. I can promise you some of the most amazing urban fantasy world building I’ve ever encountered, plus a badass female lead who I adore. The rest of this review will contain some spoilers for the prior eight books.
Kate’s father Roland let her have Atlanta, but he’s built a “small settlement” (i.e. a castle) right outside the boundaries. He’s been steadily harassing those going to or from Atlanta, and now he’s kidnapped Saiman. Kate feels duty bound to get him back. To make matters even worse, the Oracle is predicting a great battle and death for either Curran or Kate’s unborn son. Oh, and did I mention? Kate and Curran’s wedding is less than two weeks away.
Magic Binds shakes up the typical Kate Daniels format a bit. Past books have tended to focus around a particular mythology usually with some sort of mystery element. Magic Binds instead focuses on the conflict between Kate and her father and Kate learning what her claiming of Atlanta means. Because it’s clear that there’s a lot more to the act than she thought, and it’s threatening to warp her personality. And it’s not exactly like she can go to her father for advice.
Roland is one of the most hilarious evil villains I’ve encountered, mainly because he’s “trying to be a good father” while also being a murderous tyrant. He reminds me a lot of Tarquin from Order of the Stick actually. It ends up making things a lot more interesting than I suspected they’d be, back when Roland was just the shadowy Big Bad.
We also learned more about the history of Kate’s family and their unusual powers, which was really awesome. It’s impressive that Ilona Andrews has found backstory to mine that feels fresh and relevant even nine books into the series.
This is related more to the series as a whole than Magic Binds specifically, but I like that once Kate and Curran got together, they actually stayed together. Nine books worth of “will they/won’t they” would have been horrendous, but it feels like too many authors believe that anything interesting in a relationship is over once the couple actually gets together. I for one love seeing Kate and Curran work together. They’ve become one of my favorite Battle Couples.
Magic Binds is another fun, fast paced, action packed installment to the Kate Daniels series. Fans won’t be disappointed.
I received an ARC of Magic Binds from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.