Reading level: Adult
Mass market paperback: 448 pages
Genre: Urban fantasy
Release date: July 31, 2012
Series: Kate Daniels #5.5 (It's a novel in the Kate Daniels world that takes place after MAGIC SLAYS but is narrated by a different character)
Source: Personal shelf
Reviewed by: Jenn
Some people have everything figured out—Andrea Nash is not one of those people.
After being kicked out of the Order of the Knights of Merciful Aid, Andrea’s whole existence is in shambles. All she can do is to 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 the Clan Bouda and Andrea’s former lover—die unexpectedly at a dig site, Andrea is assigned to investigate…and must work with Raphael. As Andrea’s search for the killer leads her into the secret underbelly of supernatural Atlanta, she knows that dealing with her feelings for Raphael might have to take a back seat to saving the world…
Includes a free bonus: a Kate Daniels novella, "Magic Gifts"
By now, you all know just how much I love Ilona Andrews and their amazing writing, which has got to be a superpower of some kind. I fell in love from the first page of MAGIC BITES, the first Kate Daniels novel, and they will forever be on my must-pre-order list so that the book shows up on my doorstep as soon as possible. I've raved about The Edge series already but today I'm talking about a book from the series that is one of the best urban fantasy series to date.
With GUNMETAL MAGIC, they give us something a little bit different: a novel set in the Kate Daniels world but narrated by a different character. This time around, we're experiencing the world through eyes of Andrea Nash, Kate's best friend and fellow investigator/bad ass at Cutting Edge Investigations, the company that Kate started after quitting the Order. But before I get into that, here's the scoop on the world of Kate Daniels, straight from the authors' website:
WELCOME TO THE MAGIC APOCALYPSE
The world has suffered a magic apocalypse. We pushed the technological progress too far, and now magic returned with a vengeance. It comes in waves, without warning, and vanishes as suddenly as it appears. When magic is up, planes drop out of the sky, cars stall, electricity dies. When magic is down, guns work and spells fail.
It’s a volatile, screwed-up world. Magic feeds on technology, gnawing down on skyscrapers until most of them topple and fall, leaving only skeletal husks behind. Monsters prowl the ruined streets, werebears and werehyenas stalk their prey; and the Masters of the Dead, necromancers driven by their thirst of knowledge and wealth, pilot blood-crazed vampires with their minds.
One of the reasons I was so excited for GUNMETAL MAGIC, aside from the fact that it's another exciting story for Ilona Andrews, is Andrea herself. Ever since she appeared on the page, I've been rooting for her. She's been through so much, personally and professionally, and she's always been one of my favourite characters in the series. Andrea's smart, brave, and loyal, and a total badass to boot. Of course, she'd be no fun if she were perfect, which is why she's delightfully flawed -- she's got major conflict over her shapeshifter nature because she's beastkin, meaning her father was a hyenawere (born a hyena, able to shift into a man), making her a pariah in the shapeshifter world. At the same time, she's mated to Raphael, the alpha of the bouda (werehyena) clan but they've broken up because she stayed to serve the Order when the Pack was in danger, and she's been forcibly retired by the Order once she was outed as a shifter. So. Much. Internal. Conflict. I love it.
I also love Raphael. He's provided a lot of comic relief and serious fight skills over the series and it's great to see him front and centre in GUNMETAL MAGIC. It's especially great to see Raphael and Andrea forced to work together to solve the murder of four shapeshifters who were working for Raphael's company. It forces them to deal with all of their baggage, as individuals and as a couple, in a way that will delight the reader while stressing out the protagonists.
The murder mystery is also well developed, with the book taking all sorts of unexpected turns. I was completely hooked, waiting to see who was behind the murders and how Andrea and Raphael would resolve it. Many of Andrea's issues are also resolved (to a degree, in some cases), which was quite welcome.
Kate Daniels fans should run to the stores to get copies of this book. GUNMETAL MAGIC is a must-read urban fantasy with great action, wonderful characters, and dry wit. Folks new to the series would be better off going back to MAGIC BITES since events in previous novels are referenced in GUNMETAL MAGIC, and it'll give you a better handle of the world and its inhabitants. But even if you don't, you're sure to enjoy GUNMETAL MAGIC as a stand-alone kickass story!