Spouses Ilona and Gordon are the writers behind the pseudonym Ilona Andrews and the bestselling Kate Daniels series. Ten novels in, Andrews' Kate Daniels books continue to prove themselves as one of the most complex yet action-packed urban fantasy series out there.
Their newest Kate Daniels novel, Magic Triumphs, releases on August 28, and it even back in May, it was among the top ten preordered books of the summer. Which is another way of saying that people are so thrilled to read about what happens next to Kate, battling monsters in Atlanta while the world shifts between magic and technology, that they will take no chance of getting the newest book even a day late.
Ilona and Gordon told us which five books have been their favorite recent reads. As authors, they sometimes get a sneak peek at upcoming titles, but there are plenty of recommendations here for those looking for a final excellent summer read.
Phoenix Unbound by Grace Draven
I was lucky enough to read an early copy of this book. It’s a story of a woman with fire magic shackled by the need to keep her loved ones safe and the best gladiator in the Empire who will stop at nothing to gain his freedom. There is love against all odds, ancient magic, brutal duels, and clashing armies. Grace Draven has a masterful touch when it comes to worldbuilding and this novel showcases it beautifully. I loved it. (September 25)
Tsumiko and the Enslaved Fox by FORTHRIGHT
A great lovely book, steeped in Japanese mythology. In a world much like our own, magical races, Cats, Foxes, Wolves and others, existed in the shadows, craving the radiance of human souls, held at bay by reavers, human mages. Now these magic races, the Amaranthine, emerged and want to be acknowledged. Tsumiko, a young woman, receives an unexpected inheritance and finds out that she is a reaver, and in addition to inheriting a mansion, she also received an Amaranthine. His name is Argent and he has been enslaved by her family for generations. Tsumiko decides she doesn’t want to own a person. She wants to free Argent, even if it comes at a great personal cost. If you like anime and Anne Bishop’s Others series, you will like this book.
Shades of Wicked by Jeaniene Frost
Another book I was lucky to read early. It’s the story of Ian, probably the most controversial and crazy vampire you ever had a chance to meet. Ian flaunts his disregard of vampire rules, listens to no one, and generally has a very good time driving vampire authorities nuts. Except Ian has been cursed by a demon and as his soul and survival hang in the balance, he has to do something nobody expected. He has to work with a Law Guardian, vampire police, judge, and executioner. He thinks he has seen everything, but he never imagined the kind of secrets Veritas is hiding. This book was pure Jeaniene Frost. Action, trademark humor, and heat. (October 30)
The Plastic Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg
The synopsis of this book described it as whimsical and it is. It’s set in the beginning of the 20th century in a world where magic exists side by side with technology. Avie Brechenmacher, an American from Ohio, is fascinated by both, but chooses magic as her primary area of study. As the book opens, she arrives to London to begin her apprenticeship with a mage in the new area of magic – Polymaking, working with plastic. Avie is an inventor at heart. She is both endearing and relentless, and her study of Polymaking was as fascinating as her commentary on British society and her budding relationship with another apprentice. If you like Girl Genius, you would probably like this one.
The Last Sun by K. D. Edwards
This is a difficult book to describe. Atlantis suffered an apocalypse and Atlanteans, beings of extreme magical power, have emerged into the world and made their new home on the island of Nantucket. They come in all shapes and sizes, but the most powerful of them exist in courts, aristocratic families corresponding to the Tarot: Court of Sun, Court of Tower, Court of Justice… Rune is the last Sun. When he was 15, his father’s court was raided, his family slaughtered, and Rune was brutally raped. He survived and now, about two decades later, he and his Companion, a sworn bodyguard, Brand, solve problems for other courts. He is hired by his mentor, Lord Tower, to look into disappearance of Lord Tower’s godson. The investigation takes him into unexpected places and threatens to nearly end the new Atlantis. While this seems like a set up for an urban fantasy, the book reads more like the spiritual successor to Nine Princes of Amber or Steven Brust’s work. It’s equally vivid in its beauty and brutality. It has spells of unimaginable power, magic swords, and sense of wonder, but it’s not for the faint of heart.
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