After being kicked out of the Order of the Knights of Merciful Aid, Andrea’s whole existence is in shambles. She tries to put herself back together by working for Cutting Edge, a small investigative firm owned by her best friend. When several shapeshifters working for Raphael Medrano–the male alpha of the Clan Bouda, and Andrea’s former lover–die unexpectedly at a dig site, Andrea is assigned to investigate. Now she must work with Raphael as her search for the killer leads into the secret underbelly of supernatural Atlanta. And dealing with her feelings for him might have to take a back seat to saving the world…
Ilona Andrews is the best urban fantasy author out there (she and her husband write as a team). Kate Daniels is one of my personal heroines, because she’s badass, magical, not afraid to kill, and she doesn’t really do guilt. My big problems with the Anita Blake series turned out to be Anita’s guilty conscious due to her Christian beliefs and necromantic skills. That annoyed me! Kate Daniels never annoys me, not really. This one isn’t about Kate, but that’s okay. Andrea is just as cool, despite having trope-y, boring commitment issues. She grew up in a bouda pack that abused her and her mother, so she has a lot of deep scars when it comes to Pack logic or unity. She doesn’t want the Pack, but now that she’s out with the Knights, she might be forced to reconsider. The whole thing with her and Raphael is stupid, in my opinion. They both did stupid things, they’re both too stubborn to get back into it, and Andrea is acting like she’s not a shapeshifter. Whatever. I ignore the romance in most urban fantasy, because the plot is always better. It bugs me that the summary focuses so much on the romance when the plot is so interesting!
What I love about Andrews’ writing in this particular world (because I did not like their YA series AT ALL) is how lushly she describes post-apocalyptic Atlanta. I’ve never been there, but I imagine it evokes the same feelings as reading about a torn up Chicago in Divergent did. I love when a character goes to Centennial Park, the witches’ park, when the magic is up, because it always makes me think of Rivendell or Lothlorien. Magical. And Andrews is so good at weaving a twisty, snarly mystery that I almost NEVER figure out. The fights scenes are also really well-written, with people getting hurt and all that reality. I’ll be honest, I prefer being in Kate’s head over Andrea’s, but I love the character development of Ascanio, who I hated in the original series, but he’s growing on me. I also really like the further development of some secondary characters we saw during Kate’s series.
I love the twisty mythology in every Andrews novel, and this one’s no different, showing us the god Anubis and his demon Annit. We see all kinds of creatures you’d expect to see near the Nile, and discovering things through Andrea’s fresh eyes was a lot of fun for me. The fight scenes with these animals are crazy, and I found myself really getting into it. The ending wrapped things up nicely, but there is always room for disaster in Kate Daniels’ Atlanta! You can read this one without reading the Kate novels, so dive right in!