I gave four or five stars to the first three books in the Kate Daniels series. Now, I think things are finally starting to flag. Ruh roh. A quick glance at Goodreads has told me that EVERYONE thinks I am wrong. Well, this is a disappointing turn up for the books.
Heheh. Geddit…books….? Moving on.
🐯 Meh Baddie
The friend who lent me this series says that Erra is one of her favourite villains. Qu’est-ce le fuck?!
For the first time in this series so far, I thought that the magical action plot was really boring. There were no dramatic twists or turns, last minute reveals, or wildly inventive mythological set pieces. It’s all very linear and plodding. We know there is someone evil who is killing people with plague. Then we find out it’s Kate’s aunt, the goddess Erra. Erra is not a fascinating, twisted or complex monster. She’s just a tall woman wielding a sword, who’s evil because reasons.
After revealing who she is, the book has nothing more of substance to give, and spends the next 200 pages fannying around to procrastinate the inevitable big showdown between Erra and Kate. Meanwhile, all Erra does is yell at Kate about joining the dark side, cackle evilly, and occasionally unleash plague or stab people because why the heck not. Le yawn.
🐯 That Sweet, Slow Buuuurrrrn
I am an absolute sucker for a slow build romance, and if there’s anything I love more than that it’s ‘enemies to lovers’. Since those tropes describe Curran and Kate to a T I’ve been all on board since book one! And in this book things finally get SERIOUSLY STEAMY.
Yes, we did have the sexy hot tub scene in Magic Strikes, but at last Kate and Curran do the deed, many, many times, and it’s brilliant.
The romantic tension in Magic Bleeds actually hangs on a shoestring, because it’s all based on the assumption that after Curran stood up Kate for a date she wouldn’t just ASK HIM WHERE HE WAS. As it turns out, he wasn’t being a dick (phew), he was just nearly dying.
But Kate doesn’t find out. This therefore lead to another 250 pages of UST within which Kate thinks that Curran has rejected her, Kate hates Curran, Curran is confused and pissed at Kate, Curran is trying to figure out work out what the hell is going on, and Kate ghosts him. In most books, this type of character idiocy to create narrative tension would drive me bananas, especially between characters who are relatively functioning and normal. But in this case…I actually believed it.
Neither Kate nor Curran are entirely functioning and normal. Kate is incredibly stubborn, incredibly proud, and she’s also incredibly hurt. Everyone she’s ever loved has died. It’s taken a long time for her to allow herself to be vulnerable with Curran, for the sake of her broken heart and of her personal pride. Her reward was that he thoroughly humiliated her (accidentally), so it makes sense that after this terrible mix up she would shut back down into the stony hearted warrior that’s kept her alive for the past twenty five years of everything in Atlanta trying to kill her.
Anyway… there is a lot of romance in Magic Bleeds. And after three books of build-up, I’m all about that life.
🐯 Plot Picking Up
Near the end of the book, Erra manages to unleash the plague inside one of the pack safe houses, and some of the young wolves inside go loup. It’s a brutal and chilling mess, and Kate has to make some horrific decisions. The emotional fall out from it was dark, clever, and morally ambiguous. I wish the book had had a bit less of Erra stomping around yelling, and a bit more of this!
I also really enjoyed the practical culmination of the romantic plot at the end of this novel. Kate is forced to prove herself to the Pack as Curran’s new mate. This involves Kate having to work hard to build herself a new status within the pack which won’t sacrifice her independence or lead the city into all-out war, manage various competing political stand points, and fend off assassination attempts.
And of course, she also has to beat the shit out of the other Alphas to prove she’s the real queen of the keep. Yaaaaaas!
🐯 Cookies for Being A Not Shit Human
Why oh why oh why are most romantic anti-heroes so shitty and abusive that all Curran has to do is:
- not be a rapist
- not stand Kate up on purpose
- not violate Kate’s boundaries when he doesn’t understand why she’s ghosting him
- not reject Kate when he finds out who her dad is
- aka, fulfil only the most BASIC tenets of human decency…
…and I already think he’s a 10/10 romantic hero????? Is Curran really all that, or are my standards for fictional men just THAT fucking low???? I don’t even freaking know, mate. Anyway, thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.
I came off such a high from Magic Strikes that I said this series was becoming one of my favourites. But now, even though this book has the culmination of the romance between Kate and Curran (finALLY), I thought the plot was HECKING BORING. Sad face! I’ve got book five and six on my shelf, so fingers crossed that they pick up again. Also, I want more steamy scenes, please and thank.
Chat with me!
Does this series get better again or should I quit while I’m ahead? What monsters are going to try and rip apart Kate and Curran next time? And how long is it before we’re forced to sit through an age inappropriate romance between Derek and Julie? Let me know below!