BRIEF SYNOPSIS: In Magic Rises, the 6th installment of the Kate Daniels series, Kate and Curran must travel to the Black Sea to find the panacea that will help to ensure the survival of the shapeshifters’ young, but the chances of this trip being a trap is very high. However, the stakes for the Pack are pretty high too, and Kate and Curran are willing to do just about anything to get the cure.
PROS: The Kate Daniels series is one of the best in urban fantasy with rich world-building, twisted magic, and emotional story lines, and Magic Rises is no exception.
CONS: Honestly, there weren’t any cons for me in this one. It’s probably my favorite of the series and I stayed up very, very late to finish it.
BOTTOM LINE: Magic Rises is a near perfect addition to the Kate Daniels series, and has reawakened my love for the urban fantasy genre.
Magic Rises is the 6th book in the Kate Daniels series, and in my opinion, the best. In this outing, Kate is settled in at the Keep as the Beast Lord’s Consort, which means her bond with Curran puts her in a very high position indeed. Helping to lead such a large group of shifters, of all breeds, is tough anyway, but Kate constantly feels like an outsider, because she’s human. Don’t let that fool you though, Kate is as tough as they come, and has some pretty powerful magic. It’s a good thing too, because soon she’s going to need it. When the teen daughters of a pack member succumb to loupism, always a possible side effect of the Lyc-V virus all shifters have, Kate, and Kate’s young ward, Julie, are devastated, as is the rest of the pack. Loupism causes shifters to be stuck mid-transformation and also causes homicidal derangement. It can strike any shifter during puberty, and usually, once it sets in the shifter must be put down. Luckily, there is a cure, but its availability is very limited. When Curran tells Kate that they’ve been asked to arbitrate a dispute in Europe, with payment of the cure, Kate is all in. Unfortunately, the chances of this job being a trap are very high. Good thing Kate and Curran will have help from a few of their friends.
When Kate, Curran, and crew arrive at their destination, they’re bombarded on all sides with hostility. After all, they’re there to bodyguard Desandra, who is the pregnant daughter of an alpha that is disputing territory with the two fathers of her babies. Yep, two. She’s pregnant with twins, and because of her father’s machinations, she’s got babies on the way that each have a different father. (Yes, this is biologically possible.) The two fathers aren’t truly interested in her well-being, but they are interested in getting at her father, who’s frankly a psychopath, and getting the jump on the Beast Lord could be a huge coup for just about everyone there. So, problems all the way around. Then there’s Lorelei Wilson, whose father leads the Alaskan pack. Why she’s there, Kate isn’t really sure, but the last time Curran saw her, she was 12. She’s 21 now, and has grown up into a beautiful young woman. She also seems determined to undermine Kate at every turn and monopolize Curran’s attention. I wanted to slap Lorelei. Repeatedly. If you’re looking for some serious tension, you‘ll find it here. The storyline involving Lorelei was one of the biggest reasons I enjoyed Magic Rises, and with everything else Kate has to deal with, including the identity of the gathering’s host-this one’s a doozy, but in my opinion, to give it away, would spoil a major part of the story-it’s just adding insult to injury. Did I already mention that once they get there, they pretty much immediately have to start fielding attacks from creatures that Kate has never seen before? Really nasty ones. I also really enjoyed Kate and Co.’s interaction with Desandra, who first appears to be a spoiled brat, but is much more than she seems. The lady has hidden depths, and discovering these was another high point of the story.
Readers of this series are used to seeing Kate pushed to her physical limits, and she is in Magic Rises, but she’s also pushed to her emotional limits (and nearly beyond.) This emotional turmoil was one of the most important parts of the story, and you’ll want to see resolution so badly, you won’t want to put the book down until you get some satisfaction. Don’t worry, though, the fight scenes are superb, as usual, and you’ll want to keep an eye out for the scene in which Kate spars with their host. Magic Rises goes to some pretty dark places, but the stakes are very high, and expect some major game changers here. Seriously, there are some stunning twists, and some tragic ones. While the majority of the narrative delves into very dark territory, the authors are always good at inserting some levity here and there. (Veteran readers will be delighted to find out who owns the ship that takes the group to their destination.) The story is made much richer by having read the previous books in the series, but I can honestly say that new readers could start with this one as well (though I would recommend starting with book 1, Magic Bites, because it’s, well, awesome).
I have to admit, I’ve been stagnating a bit where urban fantasy is concerned, but Magic Rises has reawakened my love for the genre. Urban fantasy absolutely does not get much better than this.