Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews

(Kate Daniels, #9)

Mercenary Kate Daniels knows all too well that magic in post-Shift Atlanta is a dangerous business. But nothing she’s faced could have prepared her for this…

Kate and the former Beast Lord Curran Lennart are finally making their relationship official. But there are some steep obstacles standing in the way of their walk to the altar…

Kate’s father, Roland, has kidnapped the demigod Saiman and is slowly bleeding him dry in his never-ending bid for power. A Witch Oracle has predicted that if Kate marries the man she loves, Atlanta will burn and she will lose him forever. And the only person Kate can ask for help is long dead.

The odds are impossible. The future is grim. But Kate Daniels has never been one to play by the rules…

"So far I had the god of evil and the god of terror on my side. My good-guy image was taking a serious beating. Maybe I should recruit some unicorns or kittens with rainbow powers to even us out."

If you’re an Urban Fantasy fan who hasn’t read the Kate Daniels series yet, you need to remedy that soon. At the 9th book the series is still going strong and doesn’t look like it’s losing any steam. In fact, in some ways it’s even improving.

The book opens a few weeks before Kate and Curran tie the knot, already getting off to a fun and hilarious start. Sure the series is dark and keeps facing do-or-die scenarios, but Ilona Andrews makes sure to keep the humor when it’s warranted. Roman gets a particularly funny role throughout the book in helping with wedding prep – I won’t spoil more about that, but it’s pretty much perfect.

I can’t help but like Roland in a way. He’s the big-bad-evil guy who does despicable things, but he’s also fascinating and does seem to love Kate in his own demented manner. He will never make Father of the Year, but… I like how the author made Kate look at him through this book – instead of being as one-dimensional as so many characters are, Kate has qualms about her father, not letting just rage run her actions like so many characters do. If anything Kate had grown and matured about her anger and being more realistic since earlier books.

"You once told me we were monsters. We are." Roland smiled at me. "Things are so difficult for you because you're denying your nature."

"No, please not another parental lecture on the virtues of evil."

There’s protective Roland – “...this is just ridiculous. Why should I have to choose between a meat and vegetarian dish?” before he worries about Kate not having a proper wedding feast and then offering to provide it. There’s mean Roland who kidnaps and sadistically tortures people. There’s funny Roland, of course, who as he tries to bond can’t seem to grasp why he upsets Kate.

Ultimately a lot is revealed about the character, particularly the family through the sister and mother connection. The authors toss readers surprises, including a returning character who really changes the play of the game and the shape of the future on Kate’s behalf.

Some may remember that I hate Jim. He’s a regular character that’s always gotten more credit than he deserves. This book makes me hate him even more, but for a change Kate doesn’t let it go as easy as she did before, and even other characters may be opening their eyes. I’m glad I’m not the only one seeing it. I figured it was something that bugged me as a reader, but that the authors didn’t notice or agree on, but maybe not. If you’re one of the many readers who didn’t mind Jim before or didn’t see what I was so upset about, maybe you still won’t agree. But if you’re in the same camp I was where you already hated him, trust me when I say the hatred will grow. His last talk with Curran in the book will stick in my head.

Speaking of Jim, one of the most interesting things about this book was the change of everyone around Kate when it came to knowing her powers. A few people started pissing me off, even regular Derek who is always so loyal when he suddenly doesn’t believe Kate about something (he would have before). People have become more cautious of her and less trusting, even those who always were her friends.

Ghastek…I know many don’t talk about him or pay much attention. He gets little time in the books. He’s not that special of a character really – but for some reason from day one, book one, I always loved the character. Sure he’s annoyed me, but there’s something about the thin and power hungry necromancer that draws my attention on page. We get a small moment at the beginning and then I figured through reading, oh well, no more Ghastek – but that end! There is a big change there too; I loved it! Perfect. I’m curious what this means for the future. I don’t want to spoil anything, but Kate’s views on certain things have changed and have to continue changing as she embraces her power in order to become more comfortable with herself, in her own skin with her own power, and her own family connections. Cannot wait for the next book.

I’m trying not to fill this review with just character gushing, but…Christopher. I can’t leave him out. He has a surprise up his sleeve and it’s just brilliant. I’m officially shipping Barrabas and Christopher now. Trust me, Christopher rocks. Mahon the bear and his family come across as just….awesome. As heartwarming as a big bear clan that can squish you to death with one big bear-hug can be. Andrea is the funny and loyal friend till the end.

Finally – Curran. There’s some ups and downs with a few of the trust issues I didn’t get at first, but it worked out. I love their relationship. I was on the edge of getting annoyed with him too but got over that when he kept up the Curran epicness.

Plot-wise, and there actually is a strong plot here, it’s amazing. Another step toward the end. A battle before a war. It’s tense, pulled me in tons of directions in a wide scope that involves nearly the entire city of Atlanta. Kate learns a lot about herself, her family, and a few twists about other people.

It’s brutal and it’s powerful. I bit my lip and held my breath while loving every minute of it. Perhaps the best in the series. Can’t wait for the next one already.

Thank you Netgalley for providing this ARC

   Book Quotes:
 "You're like a crazy cat lady, but you collect killers instead of fluffy cats."

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