PUBLISHER: Ace Books
RELEASE DATE: 31 July 2012
FORMAT: Paperback, 433 pages
GENRE: Urban Fantasy
Some people have everything figured out – Andrea Nash is not one of those people. After being kicked out of the Order of Knights of Merciful Aid, Andrea’s whole existence is in shambles. All she can do is try to put herself back together, something made easier by working for Cutting Edge, a small investigative firm owned by her best friend, Kate Daniels.
When several shapeshifters working for Raphael Medrano – the male alpha of Clan Bouda and Andrea’s former lover – die unexpectedly at a dig site, Andrea is assigned to investigate… and must work with Raphael. As her search for the killer leads her into the secret underbelly of supernatural Atlanta, Andrea knows that dealing with her feelings for Raphael might have to take a backseat to saving the world… (Goodreads)
I am an avid fan of Ilona Andrews and they haven’t made one wrong move so far with the Kate Daniel’s series and GUNMETAL MAGIC is no exception. This is the first full length story for one of the secondary characters and the first novel in a spin off series dedicated to them. I am excited already!
GUNMETAL MAGIC is Andrea’s story following on from book 4 of the main series and it runs in parallel to the final chapters of Magic Gifts which was released as an e-book in December 2011. Andrea had started to work with Kate at Cutting Edge Investigations and she has been called in by Jim to investigate the death of four weres at the site of one of Raphael’s projects. Andrea hasn’t been in contact with Raphael since she refused to leave the Order to fight with the Pack against Kate’s evil aunt Erra. She is hoping to reconcile with Raphael during the investigation but he has replaced her with a leggier, blonder, bustier version. This sends Andrea into a tailspin…literally as she lets her inner self out and starts to carry out the investigation as her beastkin-self. It is also at this point where the plot of GUNMETAL MAGIC intersects with Kate’s story in Magic Gifts and scenes are shared between the two stories.
Andrea is forced to work closely with Raphael on the investigation and constantly reminded of what she has lost. She is haunted by her past and even though she has avenged herself she still finds it difficult to get past what happened and this is impacting her decision to join the pack. We first learn of Andrea’s abusive childhood in Magic Mourns and in GUNMETAL MAGIC more is revealed about what happened to her and later, to her abusers. She is probably the only character plagued with self-doubt due to her upbringing but Andrews’ doesn’t leave her to wallow in self-pity and she is ass kicking and monster killing from the first few pages. Needless to say that action abounds and Andrea takes a beating several times and has a couple of near death experiences during the investigation. When she isn’t just fighting the bad guys, she is fighting with Raphael as well as, with her own inner demons. Andrews’ builds tension with the Andrea/Raphael storyline by introducing Roman, the vohlv as the third in a potential love triangle. Roman first appeared in Magic Slays and Andrews’ brings back this charming and enigmatic character to brews up more tension between Andrea and Raphael.
Andrews’ excels at character building and there are so many likeable secondary characters that I am looking forward to reading more about. We learn more about Ascanio not just from the scenes between him and Andrea but also between Andrea and his mother. These scenes centre on discussions of why Andrea is beastkin and about her abusive childhood but they are delivered in a sweet and touching way that you aren’t expecting from these characters. They could easily be described as ‘bittersweet’. As this story crossed with Magic Gifts there are inevitable scenes with both Kate and Curran which are quite fun and we get a different perspective of Kate than we do from either her series or the Curran POVs. There is one scene that is especially amusing between Kate and Andrea that occurs following a discussion of Andrea’s romantic entanglements.
Kate leaned toward me, “When I was little, Voron took me to Latin America. TV still ran regular programming back then, and they had this really dramatic love story on during the week. It was full of very pretty people…”
I pointed my fork at her. “Are you implying that our relationship is like a Spanish soap opera?”
“I’m not implying. I’m saying it”
Kate grinned. “Have you traded any significant, tormented glances lately?”
“Eat dirt, Kate.”
“Perhaps he has a twin brother….”
“Not another word!”
There are a number of equally good scenes with Jim, Barabas and of course Raphael but I would end up quoting the entire book. I don’t want to give too much of the plot away so suffice to say that GUNMETAL MAGIC is the perfect mix of action and character development.
Ilona Andrews has the unique ability to write a series with secondary characters that can hold their own story, as we have seen with Magic Mourns, Magic Dreams and now a full length story with GUNMETAL MAGIC. I really enjoyed this story and love the further development of both Andrea and Raphael. I will admit however, at first I felt a tiny bit disappointed that Magic Gifts was included in the book as I thought all 400 pages were dedicated to Andrea. I had already read the e-book months earlier but then it never hurts to read a great story again and in the end it was the perfect length. Andrea had a few too many near death experiences for my liking but they usually followed with the scene with the sexy Raphael so I wasn’t complaining too much. This story was touching and action packed at the same time which is a difficult balance to make but Andrews’ hits this perfectly. There are so many great characters in the Kate Daniel’s world and Andrea was the perfect one to start off this series. I am really looking forward to, not only more Kate and Curran but also learning more about the other characters in the Kate Daniel’s world.
BOOKS IN SERIES ORDER
- Gunmetal Magic
- Untitled (expected 2014)
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