Sunday, August 12, 2012
Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Everything about this book was good, these authors just know how to write. They always hit every point - humor, adventure, great characters, heart, plus a nice dose of interesting mythology, it's all here. Fans of the Kate Daniels series will not be disappointed in any way in this book featuring Kate's best friend, Andrea, and her love story with Raphael. I've always liked Andrea and wanted to know more about her and they did a stellar job here in filling filling in her background and completing her story in a satisfying way. And using Roman so much was really smart too. These authors are always clever in their novellas and short stories about fulfilling fans' curiosity about secondary characters who've peaked our interest, so it made sense to use Roman in this novel too. I just love the way they can add just a couple of sentences here and there that add so much depth to secondary characters, they just leap off the page and make them so intriguing that I can't wait to learn more about them too.
I really like that the novel wasn't just a side-story, but it also revealed some important things about a few of the characters along the way. We learned something really key about Curran, there was a lot about Roman that was really intriguing and that I wouldn't be surprised to see come up again in future Kate books, along with the obvious character development for Andrea and Raphael. The fact that the authors called this 5.5 in the Kate Daniels series and not just a separate novel placed in the world indicates that it has an important place in the development of these characters and this series; fans really don't want to miss this, both for the fun of it and for the developments that take place in the overall story arc.
And I saw (either on Twitter or the blog, I can't remember) that some fans are complaining that it's too short, which is crazy, it's a 326 page book! Maybe it just seems short somehow because there's also a really long, 105 page novella included with the book as a bonus, so somehow that makes the novel portion of the book look smaller when you get to the end and realize that you still have so many pages left to read. It isn't logical, but that's all I can think.
As for the novella, Magic Gifts, I originally read it when the authors published it for free on the website for two weeks over Christmas 2011, a truly lovely gift indeed! I said then and I'll repeat now that they always writes solid stories that are really satisfying reads, it's really impressive. The only other author that I can think of that's as consistent with short stories is Jim Butcher. And the fact that they've included this terrific, long, Kate & Curran story in addition to a complete novel is petty cool. The only odd thing is that the novella takes place before the novel and refers to things that happen in the novel (and overlap it slightly), so really you should read Magic Gifts before Gunmetal Magic. If you look the numbering on Goodreads it's even listed as 5.4 and the novel is 5.5. But it also repeats a scene from Kate's viewpoint that might take away a bit from the humor of seeing it from Andrea's viewpoint in the novel, tricky. Either way, both stories are terrific, and stand well on their own, and are even better together.
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