Every secret wish of my bubblegum soul has been fulfilled. This book has everything. I will never doubt again, Ilona Andrews.
This time round, Atlanta is in for some Arabian exoticism as the mythologies of Africa and the Middle East invade Kate’s life. And boy is it fun to watch.
This book has all the trademark IA writing: whiplash humour, both in situation and dialogue; flawless action scenes that are informed by proper physics; new mythologies that seamlessly meld with existing worldbuilding; actual, common sense detective work in the framework of magic, and my favourite, believably adorable characters.
To keep this review from turning into a senseless pile of fangirling mush, here are the most important points in the book’s favor:
1. IT IS CONSISTENT WITHOUT BEING BORING.
The beauty of this, and every IA book, is that we get to see all the same characters from the previous books despite the cast being so large. We develop a sense of familiarity with the world itself through them and love them more because they are like family. At the same time, we always learn something new about the cast or have someone new added to it. Even the small things like this make me happy:
Shapeshifters didn’t like the feel of precious metals. Silver was poison and gold was only slightly better. Rhodium insulated them against gold. Raphael had given a black rhodium ring to Andrea for her birthday, starting a craze.
(I have to say the Saiman thing is getting old though. Are Curran and Kate going to have the same glaring match each time?)
2. IT IS A GOOD, SOLID DETECTIVE MYSTERY WITH A TRUCKLOAD OF ACTION.
When you chip away the novel magic system and all the outlandish characters, what Magic Shifts is at its core is a good ol’fashioned detective novel. Of course, the genius of it lies in the fact that Kate is working within the framework of the magical world, so she is using basic logic, only on fantastical crearures.
And this time round, all the action comes straight from Attack on Titan. Need I say more?
3. CURRAN IS AWESOME. CURRAN AND KATE ARE EVEN MORE AWESOME.
If anyone is wondering how one would maintain interest in a relationship that is pretty much a done deal, this is it. You write scenes of them snarking at each other and making pancakes. #mydayhasbeenmade
Since he isn’t burdened by the responsibilities of the Pack anymore, Curran’s humour has been unleashed on the world.
“[The mailman] was putting things into the mailbox. I was passing by and I said, ‘Hello, nice night.’ And then I smiled. He jumped into his truck and slammed the door.”
“Rude!” Julie volunteered.
“I let it pass,” Curran said. “We’re new to the neighborhood.”
The former Beast Lord, a kind and magnanimous neighbor. “So you sneaked up behind him, startled him by speaking, and when he turned around and saw a six-hundred-pound talking lion, you showed him your teeth?”
At the same time, we get to see the depth of his love for Kate, especially when she’s injured and she might not live to see the next day. You cannot be immune to the depth of his grief, even though we are seeing the whole thing through Kate’s eyes.
I ship this so very much.
4. ALL THE SUPPORTING CHARACTERS ARE ALSO AWESOME.
Everyone is amazing. George and Eduardo are an interesting development. Mahon and his relationship with Curran is fleshed out more fully. Andrea and Raphael are as cute as ever. Julie and Ascanio are full of surprises. Perhaps the only complaint I have is that Derek is underdeveloped, which is funny considering that even Barabas gets a lot of air time. This might also be a good time to mention that I happen to really like Roland; I want Kate to get along with him. There, I said it. Don’t kill me.
But the most fun development is Jim as Beast Lord and Dali as Consort. Yeah, Dali kicks butt.
“What are you waiting for?” Dali asked. Her voice made it clear she wasn’t interested in an answer.
“He’s waiting for an ‘or,’” I told her.
“Usually there is an ‘or’ attached to this kind of threat. Do it or something bad happens.”
“He doesn’t get an ‘or.’” A faint green sheen rolled over Dali’s irises. “There is no ‘or.’ Do it. Because I said so.”
There’s a million more things that I could mention but I won’t. This ought to be enough to convince anyone to read the book anyway, right?
In one gif, this book is: