Audiobook Review Bites
Atlanta has become a city that lives at the mercy of magic. Technology advanced to a point that caused magic to push back violently and topple many of the cities grandest buildings and technologies. When magic is up, technology doesn’t work. Guns don’t fire. Cars don’t start. When the magic is done, spells don’t work. Protection wards fail. Magic loses its power. It’s a precarious situation for Kate Daniels, a magic-based bounty hunter, to live through because you never know when the magic is going to fall. When Kate’s guardian is murdered, she takes on the task of finding his killer, a decision that takes her into the lairs of the shifters and the necromancers who live in the city. Both factions blame the other for the mysterious deaths of their own that accompany her guardian’s death. These murders threaten to throw the two into a supernatural war, putting pressure on Kate to find the killer before the two explode.
This has been sitting on my TBR list forever, so during a book buying ban in April, I checked this audiobook out from the library. Kate Daniels herself is typical for what you’d find in Urban Fantasy. She kicks butt, and there’s always a quip on the edge of her tongue, even when she should probably stay silent. My only real complaint with Kate is that the authors (because this is a husband and wife duo writing this series) went a bit overkill in the scathing wit department to the point that it became downright frustrating and childish in some scenes. There was one particular exchange between Curran (king of the shifters) and Kate near the end that just made me roll my eyes until I thought my eyes were going to roll right out my head. In that respect, I wasn’t really feeling the chemistry that was supposed to be there between Kate and Curran, but maybe it’ll feel more natural as the series goes forward.
The thought of a magical apocalypse is an intriguing one, and I wished we’d been given more glimpses of how far Atlanta has fallen. However, given the descriptions that Kate does provide of parts of the city, you can definitely picture the ruin that magic has brought about for once great buildings and districts. (I don’t live far from Atlanta, so I could picture the different areas quite a bit.) One thing I was a little unclear on is if the whole country is suffering after this magic apocalypse or if it’s just Atlanta. This is probably a tidbit of information that I missed in my reading. While the shifters aren’t anything new and exciting, I liked the direction the authors took with the vampires. There’s nothing pretty or seductive about them. Instead they’re mindless, blood-obsessed creatures piloted by the city’s necromancers. I mostly enjoyed this book, but it could be a bit cumbersome in places, as most first books can be as the world is being established. Renée Raudman’s narration made this bearable at least until getting back to the good parts of the story. Here’s another series that I’ve found in 2016 that I want to continue. Too many series, not enough time.
Narrator: Renée Raudman | Length: 9 hrs and 5 mins | Audiobook Publisher: Tantor Audio (January 12, 2009) | Whispersync Ready: Yes
Dina Demille owns a bed and breakfast in a small Texas town, and that’s about as normal as her life gets. Dina is an Innkeeper, a neutral person who provides sanctuary and rest to the various beings populating the galaxy. Dina’s parents were Innkeepers, but Dina only recently became an Innkeeper, which means she is trying to establish her inn as a place that otherworldly travelers can trust. She finds herself dealing with more than she intended when strange attacks start occurring in her neighbor, bringing the local alpha werewolf and the vampires to her door. Clean Sweep is different than normal Urban Fantasy for the fact that it relies heavily on science fiction as well as fantasy elements. While the story takes place in Texas, space travel and distant planets are part of the backbone of this story. There are alien races, and even familiar creatures, such as wolves and vampires, are products of their home planets and science rather than magic. However, don’t think that the magic is curbed in favor of this angle. Dina’s abilities are magical in nature. Her magical strength is largely tied into her inn. The inn itself is “aware” in a way, and it is dependent on guests coming to the inn to thrive and become stronger magically.
I think this has probably been my favorite book I’ve read (listened to) by Ilona Andrews. Dina is a little softer, a little sweeter, than the normal UF heroine, which is a refreshing change of pace. Given her role as an Innkeeper, being soft and sweet are traits she has to have to provide hospitality. She’s endearing and has a much more down-to-earth quality about her. Don’t get me wrong she kicks ass in her own right, but that’s not her defining trait like so many UF heroines. This was a fun melding of science and fantasy, but there were instances where I found the rules of this new world a little murky. It also felt like they info-dumped at times to get certain information out about this world rather than allowing it to blend naturally into the story. I’ve noticed a little bit of a trend in these books where the authors have the characters, usually the female character and a potential love interest (and just like with Magic Bites, I am not feeling the chemistry between Dina and the love interests right now), have a pissing contest between them at the most inopportune time. Each time it’s happened, it has really jarred me from the story because it’s usually so petty, stupid, and nonsensical. Renée Raudman seems to be the voice of all their series. She’s a great narrator, but I don’t know how I felt about the voice she used for Dina. Another series that I’ll be sure to follow.
Narrator: Renée Raudman | Length: 7 hrs and 55 mins | Audiobook Publisher: Ilona Andrews, Inc. (March 19, 2014) | Whispersync Ready: Yes