Magic Triumphs by Ilona Andrews
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
This is an extremely difficult book to review, friends.
It’s no secret that I fell in love with this series, its humor and atmosphere since the first book. I fell in love with Kate, I fell in love with Curran, with Derek, with Doolittle, with unexpected characters that slowly grew on me over the 10 books (but not with Julie. NOPE. Sorry, I tried but nope. To think that a trilogy is dedicated to her in the future *sighs*). I fell in love with the damaged world and with the alternating tech and magic waves. And I fell in love with the friendships and with the loyalty and dedication they inspired.
My mother used to say that family, blood or found, was our salvation. It was the net that caught us when we drowned and gently lifted us up out of the raging waters.
Magic Triumphs still had all that. And yet, somehow, it wasn’t enough to shape it into the great finale I was longing for.
On the one hand, there were amazing things to be found within these 300 and so pages. There were amazing and epic demonstrations of power and magic. There were badass and beautifully described close quarters fights and duels in which Kate embraced her full potentiel and skill! There was yet again a complicated investigation, gruesome deaths, dark concepts and dangerous creatures, inspired this time by Pictish mythology. There was Conlan and all the cuteness one so young can unleash. But what I enjoyed the most was the convergence of all the subplots, the reappearance of most of the old major characters (I was screaming at one particular, most awaited appearance! Those who read this book and Iron and Magic know whom I’m talking about *wiggles eyebrows*) and the touching mention of the departed ones.
Note: Speaking of, Mel’s review reminded me to strongly recommend to read Iron and Magic (KD, #9.5) before starting Magic Triumphs otherwise the encounter I mentioned above would be less impactful and you’d miss a lot imo.
On the other hand however, I feel like the series has lost its freshness. It lost the “snarkiness” and lightness I found so addictive and unique in the earlier installments. And when I say it’s less light, I’m definitely not complaining that it’s darker. Kate Daniels has always featured grim and bleak elements and it’s been the case since the first book, with the disturbing upir and his sinister practices. No I’m rather talking about the humor and the touch of flippancy in the stoeytelling that made the series so fun to read. The banter is repetitive. Same one-liners. Same kind of jokes. Even some of Kate’s retorts and her love relationship banter (that was one of my favorite things about this series) felt like copies. Granted, it’s only normal after 10 books and just as many side novellas. But I don’t have to be happy about it, right?
There is also a sort of fatality and resignation in Kate. I totally missed the early Kate who felt far more relatable and less dry. However power and responsibilities come with a price. Adapting to it all and struggling to save the day (and Atlanta) was inevitable and it made the story go directions I didn’t really like.
And last but not least, and for this one, I was warned beforehand: the ending was rushed. For the conclusion of such a long-running series, 25 pages are just not enough to narrate the final battle, wrap up the aftermath and include a bonus epilogue! I just wished for and needed more. The story needed more I think.
Okay, time to conclude this very long review, that dangerously sounds like a rant! Hehe. It isn’t friends, not really. Because despite all the things I disliked or that didn’t sit all too well with me, I still devoured and enjoyed this book! I still screamed and smiled and shook my fist in triumph every time an epic fight or a clever exchange took place. It was time for this series to end I guess but I just couldn’t shake the nostalgia and the sense of finality off when I turned the last page. Can I also confess that I’ve been listening to my favorite passages of the early books for a week now? I just can’t say goodbye!
Thank you Ilona Andrews for delivering a fantastic story and for eliciting such strong emotions in me. Thank you for making me care so much for your characters, swoon like an infatuated teen for your romances and cure my reading slump every single time I start one of your books!
“We came in all shapes and sizes, in every age, in every human color, in every variation of magic, and from that we drew our strength. We were surprising and unexpected, and we were united.”