Warning: all the spoilers for previous books AND this one, so avoid if you haven’t read the book or don’t want to know. I have not marked the spoilers, so proceed with caution.
First, yes, I’m still alive! This blogging mojo is not coming back no matter what I do, but I’m not quitting even if that means one review every three *cough*or six*cough* months.
Second, I’m feeling lazy, so I’m not going to describe the plot. Plus this what, book 9? So I’m sure at this point anyone interested in the book knows what’s up.
Let’s get to it! I didn’t love this book, I’m not sure I even liked it, but bad Ilona Andrews is still pretty good, so I’m not saying this thing was good, but it wasn’t terrible either.
The main issue I had is that I really loved the previous book, but this one renders it pointless and it’s making me retroactively dislike it, why? Because Magic Shifts was a bridge book that perfectly set up what I thought was the end point of the series, meaning Kate was going to trap Roland in a Djinn box. But Magic Binds had other plants, I guess, and it ignores that whole potential plotline entirely and literally drops it with one line. Now, before someone tells me I read too much into the box thing, listen, the previous book ends with her realizing the box is a viable way to defeat this super powerful, god-like evil; the very last line is Kate asking about how to build the thing. It’s an exciting, borderline cliffhanger-ish ending, and it was great. How is that not setting up the next book? Hey, maybe the story wasn’t working, which is fine, but what clumsy way to redirect things.
What else? Right, my favorite trope: people who see the future gives our heroine vague clues about it, so that she can conveniently figure out how to get out of trouble. These are also self-fulfilling prophecies, because the book needs conflict. It gives the whole story the stink of deus ex machina, even if it’s not quite that, but yeah, it was disappointing and really didn’t work for me. That said, and this speaks of how talented the authors are, there was a lot of delicious tension created because of the prophecies, and I was worried about everyone, Kate included, at one point or another.
And speaking of Kate, she’s now apparently tempted by the dark side of her power, which is a situation that would have been pretty great if it hadn’t come out of nowhere. It feels to me that this is the type of major character development and threat that could and should have been introduced organically through previous books, but because it’s simply dumped on us without warning, I was too distracted by the randomness of the situation to actually worry.
On the other hand, there’s a lot of stress put in Kate and Curran’s relationship, in part because she’s forced to cross some of his hard lines. This was pretty well done, in my opinion, and in fact, the book is at its strongest when dealing with the characters and their different relationships to each other. But then again, we have spent several books worrying about Julie finding out about how she’s bound to Kate and how it will affect them, but that’s another revelation that gets dismissed with a couple of lines, so all that hard work worrying was for nothing, I guess.
I’m also having a hard time with Roland. I can’t figure out whether he’s supposed to be funny or creepy or what, but there’s something tonally off about him that I can’t quite pinpoint. I don’t find him threatening or scary, and all the confrontations with him have been pretty anti-climactic so far, so whatever anticipation he might have inspired is mostly lost. I don’t know if the next book is the last one, but I’m not sure the series can handle more filler stories that lead nowhere.
Okay, I’m making it sound worse than it is, and maybe I have to adjust my expectations, but Ilona Andrews is so talented and this world so strong and compelling that it’s hard not to expect too much from a series that has been consistently delivering for years. On the other hand, the book is doing just fine, so maybe it’s not the book, it’s me (nah, I’m pretty sure it’s the book).
Mercenary Kate Daniels knows all too well that magic in post-Shift Atlanta is a dangerous business. But nothing she’s faced could have prepared her for this…Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews
Kate and the former Beast Lord Curran Lennart are finally making their relationship official. But there are some steep obstacles standing in the way of their walk to the altar…
Kate’s father, Roland, has kidnapped the demigod Saiman and is slowly bleeding him dry in his never-ending bid for power. A Witch Oracle has predicted that if Kate marries the man she loves, Atlanta will burn and she will lose him forever. And the only person Kate can ask for help is long dead.
The odds are impossible. The future is grim. But Kate Daniels has never been one to play by the rules…
Ace. September, 2016