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Magic Bleeds
by Ilona Andrews
Ace Books, 2011, $7.99, 384pp
Release Date: May 25, 2010

The Magic series is solidly good urban fantasy in the traditions of film noir. If you like hard-luck detectives with a sardonic narrative style, these books are right up your dark alley. Protagonist Kate Daniels reminds me of Humphrey Bogart in a trench coat, only she’s in Atlanta instead of San Francisco , and she’s facing down magic evils instead of gunslingers and fat men. Actually, she’s got a lot in common with Chicago ’s Harry Dresden, sans the sense of self-deprecating humor.

The chords of familial foreboding that have been played in previous installments are part of the overture of this volume and develop into the main theme, as Kate and her almost-lover Curran, and all their allies in the magical community, are targeted by a very old, very powerful entity loyal to Kate’s even older, even more powerful father. It’s showdown time in Old Atlanta, and if you think Sherman ’s March did damage, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Kate is a formidable warrior in her own right, and she thinks her way to several solutions too.

Now without giving away spoilers, I will simply say that the conclusion is thoroughly satisfying, while leaving room for plenty of action-packed adventures for Kate, Curran, and the were-wolves.

The descriptions of magical attacks and combat are gripping, fascinating, and well-thought-out – thanks, Ilona, for caring enough about the details to think them through and explain them to your readers. Serious afficionados of urban fantasy appreciate the effort – and the results. ~~ Chris R. Paige

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