Last night, I spent some time digging through my Kindle, trying to remember the Kate Daniels (by Ilona Andrews) book order. Unfortunately the books don’t line up by number in my Kindle so I always have to dig through the beginning of each book to see which one it is. I wish I could manually notate it on the table of contents so it’d make my life easier.
A sixth Kate Daniels book is scheduled for July this year, and while I’m way ahead of my 50-in-2013 goal, I thought I’d do some reminiscing. I dug through passages from each of the books in the series, looking for the parts where Kate and Curran had conversations. I have some of them highlighted and bookmarked – yay Kindle. The last interaction between Kate and Curran in the first book, Magic Bites, is priceless. When I read it the first time, I laughed. Such a perfect ending and a small surprise to me when it didn’t end with a typical “HEA” or “HFN.” Their relationship builds and builds over the arc of the series, and I love this. In addition to building up this tension, funny and romantic, over the course of the series, it keeps binding you to their story as well as the universe.
If Kate were real, I’d want her to be my bestie. (That would make me Andrea! Yeah!) Andrews has written Kate as a strong, smart, clever, and funny person. She’s got a few hangups about her parentage and her secrets add to the fuel to battle it out against Big Bads. Curran is also smart and clever. Kate knocks him down, calling him arrogant and self-centered, which he is. The books are written in the first person, and as the reader, you get to hear what Kate is thinking. She’s funny. There’s a passage in book 4 where she’s in a hot tub after a battle. The passage reads in real-time as she stops her thoughts mid-thought when she sees Curran naked with an “… oh my.” That made me laugh.
The world building is pretty fantastic – in book 1, you have a good understanding of the Daniels world works. As the books go on, the cast of characters expands, and for me, I grow to like them more. Dr. Doolittle (yes, that’s his name!) and Kate’s exchanges are not only funny but moves the story(ies) along. Derek turned out to be a winner. Andrea..well you know my love for Andrea! I only have one thorn in my side – I’m not a fan of kid characters in books. I have zero desire to read about Julie in these books, but I know she’ll be in the rest of them because of Kate’s relationship with her. Bleh.
The universal rule with book publishers of fantasy novels must be – “We must create the ugly covers to sell these books.” (As you know, I don’t believe you need to be so literal in book covers and you also don’t need to commission ugly art to sell great books.)
I think it’s obvious after the first book that Curran is a big part. No need to be that literal. I’m here to read about and for Kate, not Curran. Also why are they so dark? Turn the brightness back on. I can barely see anything but whooshes of color. I checked Goodreads for the latest cover for book 6, Magic Rises. I’m so confused. When did Kate become Asian-ish? Once again, publishers are pushing out crappy covers on good books.
Regardless of the covers, I would recommend this series to anyone who likes adventure, urban fantasy. I think it’s rare to find a hero who’s a woman and is matched well with her companions and against her enemies. Moreover, if Kate was “Ken,” the story would still work. And therein lies what is most refreshing – not depending on engendered stereotypes written in these books to debilitate or characterize the hero. (Am I making sense?)
I also think I am a hopeless romantic, in spite of my well-formed reputation of being a hard ass. (Don’t tell anyone.) I _want_ my heroes to live HEA or HFN. This series isn’t a romance series, and I’m glad. It’d make it too easy on all of us.
If you are inclined to read these, feel free to shoot me an email – I’ll lend them to you on Kindle. Or find them at your local library and download the audiobook or ebook to your reader!