|Cover from Goodreads|
It wasn't at first. I admit to not being that fond of shape-shifters in urban fantasy or paranormal romance. The pack mentality, the dominance, and the generic themes never fail to make me a bit tired of the same old thing. But luckily, the heroine of this novel is as sarcastic as I am, and my feelings about this book improved greatly once past the 70% mark.
Kate Daniels is a mercenary who uses her magical talents to complete her jobs. She receives notice from a vampire (of an associate) that she should check up on her guardian, Greg, a knight-diviner with the Order of Knights of Merciful Aid. When she finds out he's dead, she'll stop at nothing to exact retribution, even if she can't afford to...
What I liked about this book (and what set it apart from other UFs, like the Dresden Files) was that the vast majority of females in the book weren't stereotypical damsels in distress, they were pretty competent. The heroine tends to be a bit surly, but due to her frequent use of sarcasm and other endearing traits (she has a sword named Slayer and she doesn't take crap, even when she should) I found myself adding her to the seldom used Heroines I Love category.
Also, the world- it is more dissimilar than ours than most Urban Fantasies use. Magic has taken over the tech-world (our world before magic), knocking down the new skyscrapers and factories in favor of the older buildings. People often ride horses instead of cars, because cars break often due to magic's disdain of anything complicated or technical. There was no mention of road apples (horse manure), which leads me to believe magic must somehow negate that? Horses have no respect for roads and will crap wherever they want to- I've been to too many small town parades to think the world presented in Magic Bites would smell very nice.
The Beast Lord, Curran, provides much of the comic relief in this book. Kate is constantly poking fun at him, and (at the 70% point of reading it on the Kindle version) proves she's masterful at it. One thing that irks me about their relationship is when he's clearly flirting with her, she thinks he's joking. Too many novels have heroines like this, they think they look simply okay and then when someone compliments them, they laugh (or shrug) it off. Overall I really loved Kate's character, but she clearly has some growing up to do in that area.
Magic Bites is an excellent beginning of an urban fantasy saga, setting the stage for future books with its humor, characters, and its unique world. If I hadn't been told it had been written by two people (a husband and wife no less) I would never have known. The writing style is distinct and it's clear they work well as a team. I recommend this to anyone looking for an urban fantasy series with a strong and spunky heroine who isn't a doormat.
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars for a superb starting point for an urban fantasy series!
Content: Ages 18+ for graphic violence, the making of vampire soup, swearing, and general bad*ssery.
Page Count: 276 pages in the Kindle edition