Ace, $7.99, ISBN 978-0-425-27068-4
Fantasy, 2016 (Reissue)
Everything about Magic Shifts is a spoiler for the previous book in the Kate Daniels series, so avert your eyes if that’s not your thing. Have you seen a review entirely covered in spoiler bars? It’s ugly, so I’m not doing that here. You’ve been warned!
Okay, in the last book, Kate and her father Roland finally go head on, but in the end, Kate told that man that Ilona Andrews is still contracted to write some more books in this series, so it’s not like they could kill one another at that moment. Roland was like, “So, Kate, do you watch Scandal?” and Kate was like, “Curran, would you let me watch that show?” and Curran was like, uh, arr, watch me flex my muscles and eat a burger, arr. Roland, exchanging a side-eyed glance with Hugh, sighed and told Kate that, okay, he would leave now so that there would be stuff for a few more books, but Kate would have to leave the Pack just because. Kate was like, okay, anything to keep things going and Curran was like, arr, Kate stay put and don’t move until he permits her to do so. So off Roland went, and that was when I realized that Kate is Olivia Pope now while Roland is like Eli. Does that mean Hugh is Jake and Curran is Fitz? Whatever. #teamsally
Okay, on with the story. I get it. Curran Lennart is awesome. God used his sperm to magic-inseminate the Virgin Mary so that a kick-ass Jesus would bring light to the world. The most bestselling showerhead brand in the world is Curran. Curran is everything, a twenty-eight inch cylindrical barrel of pure power that will save us all from the dark side. All man, all lion, he only has to swing that Sword of Omens between his tree trunk-sized thighs and every villain can only whimper in submission.
Curran is also the perfect gentleman. While it’s okay if he leaves the house alone – he is a big strong man who can take care of himself, after all – Kate can’t leave the house without him stalking her or sending a pack of minions to hover over her. He understands that the world is a dangerous place, after all, and a proud, strong independent woman needs all the protection she can get. In fact, he understands that the world is a stressful place, so he spares Kate the heavy responsibility of deciding for herself and makes decisions for her, often in front of other people. When Kate goes off to meet bad guys, he insists that she swears that she will not do anything dangerous, because he’s such a sensitive romantic fellow that way. (And I’m starting to hate Julie because she insists that Kate stick to that vow she has made to Lion-O-Douche.)
When Kate takes him along with her, she barely has any capacity to be herself. He pushes himself into everything. Kate has spent more time with Ghastek compared to Lion-O-Douche, but she has to ask Lion-O-Douche anyway about what he thinks Ghastek’s motivation is; when he answers, she nods and goes, “Ooh, you’re right!” while I gag and try not to throw up. Kate stands there, watching, as he does all the heavy work. He throws his money around to solve matters that cannot be resolved by violence, and our former kick-ass heroine spends time watching her steal-stealing soul-sucking douchebag chew scenery while telling me, the reader, how seeing Curran’s muscles flex and what not makes her hot and horny.
It’s official – I’m now reading a fanfiction of Lora Leigh‘s The Breeds books.
And I have to warn you, half of this book is like this. You see, those two are not longer part of the Pack – not that it changes much, as their old friends from the Pack still keep in touch and defect along with them – so there is no escaping Curran as there is no more Pack stuff to take him out of the picture. He sticks to Kate like glue. He’s so awesome, amazing, alpha, take-charge, whatever.
The were-buffalo dude Eduardo goes missing shortly before the story opens, and his lover George – short for Georgetta, so don’t get too excited, people – wants Kate and Curran to help find him, since her father Mason certainly won’t (the man is against inter-species romance, what an ass). But in the meantime, Kate and Curran have to take over the Guild – yes, heaven forbid we let our main characters be in the middle of the hierarchy for even a short while – and there are family problems. Someone is sending monsters and giants to attack Kate and Curran. Some interesting things happen to some secondary characters like Christopher and Mitchell, but these events are told to Kate, as she is so wrapped up with Curran that she has little time for more interesting things in this world. After all, we all know that shagging a furry is the be-all and end-all of an urban fantasy heroine’s existence, and now that she’s done good with a furry, who cares about anything else? Hence, her asking Curran for his permission to let her go see Saiman.
The second half or so of the book is so much better, although the fact that Curran doesn’t hog all the pages may have something to do with my opinion of those parts of the book. Kate suddenly remembers that she kicks ass, the villain remembers to show up, and despite the fact that major plot twists happen just because useful characters and magical devices conveniently show up out of the blue at the right moment, the action parts still kick rear ends. I remember for a moment why I used to have such a great time reading these books. Even then, the Thundercats and their Berbils-on-Steroids partners are so overpowered that they just cut through the enemies like a hot knife through butter, so it’s not like I’m having that great of a time. Remember a time when it actually seemed like Kate would lose against a foe? I can’t, and that’s sad.
But I have to say: I love the incorporation of Arabic culture here, although something tells me some Muslim readers will not appreciate having lines from their Quran used in such a fantastical manner. Those readers may want to give this book a miss, because I confess that even I raise a brow when I come to that scene. I like it, I just initially can’t believe any author has the guts to do such a thing, considering how touchy some… people can be.
And then I read the epilogue and I want to throw up all over again.
I like Roland, but he’s basically Eli Pope, ranting and lecturing his daughter while the daughter professes to hate him but still goes to meet him now and then nonetheless due to the fact that nobody is killing anybody as long as there are going to be more books in this series. The first half or so of this book is pure sleep-inducing bore for anyone who isn’t a Curran groupie, and Kate turning into this “Love is amazing, anyone who stands in the way of love is a hater and my big strong Curran will tear him apart, oh no!” out-of-character romance heroine is just salt and acid on the wounds of my heart.
I’m going to be like Saiman, the wisest character in this book, and cut off ties with Kate because I don’t think I can keep reading this series and see Curran continue to turn Kate into this… this… thing. So, if you are a big fan of Curran and you read this book while rolling on Curran bedsheets and calling out his name every five pages, add three oogies to the score of this book and read it today.
Me, I’m out. Let me know when Lion-O-Douche gets fatally run down by a zoo van or something, but until then, I’ll check out the fantasy aisle to see whether there is any other fun series to take the place of this one.