Magic Bites

Reviewer: Jake Beal

Author: Ilona Andrews

Published: 2007

Reviewed: 2008-09-04

Publisher: Ace

Ms. Andrews' first novel, "Magic Bites" is a reasonable entry into the
ever-expanding genre of urban fantasy/horror. We find the standard
collection of tropes made oh so familiar by authors like Anne Rice and
Laurell K. Hamilton, not to mention a hundred lesser imitators: a
technological society coping with the sudden re-emergence of magic, a
creepy-ass vampire society filled with intrigue and backstabbing which
is often opposed to a jostling dominance-obsessed were-critter kingdom
ruled by a sexy-as-hell alpha male, and, of course, a
monster-of-the-week that horribly mauls sweet young things.

So why read this one? That's the question that I am struggling with
as I write this review. The novel is well enough done, and features a
few interesting twists on the standard product---for example, in Ms.
Andrews' world, magic and technology seesaw back and forth, and when
one is high, the other fails to function properly. Another example is
that Ms. Andrews' vampire society is not actually a society of
vampires, but a society of necromancers who keep a stable of vampires
under their control. But are these enough to justify a whole new

The heroine, after all, is a standard bad-girl archetype, a sexy
mercenary with a sassy tongue. She even wears leather. She does not
get laid, which is a mercy, and she's got a mysterious past which does
not get revealed, but there's time enough for both to happen in the
sequel. And the plot, while well-done, is quite cookie cutter.

I guess that in the end, all I can say is that there's nothing
particularly wrong with this book, and it delivers exactly what it
appears to promise. Ms. Andrews appears to have a defter touch than
most of her competitors, and while there's nothing fundamentally new
to offer in her story, it's a fine enough short read.