I absolutely adored this book. It was better than the first; it was a little bit different in that it was less a murder mystery and more a missing person's case this time around. Kate Daniels is a down on her luck mercenary who also works for the Order of Merciful Aids Atlanta Chapter. Kate isn't a fully fledged knight of the Order, but she works for them nonetheless and also "enjoys" Friend of The Pack status with the local shapeshifters. In Kate's world magic is well and truly out -- leaving the inhabitance to battle its effects as it constantly wipes out technology in unexpected waves.
'Magic Burns' finds Kate taking charge of a street kid dumped on her by Red. The girl's mother is missing and she needs Kate's help to get her back. There's also cosmic trouble when a phenomenon known as a flare (something that happens every few years) occurs -- a flare being a time when the already erratic magic waves run even more rampant. In terms of her personal life, Kate is busy entertaining 'fanciful notions' about a certain grey-eyed blond who is apparently very interested in her. As if she doesn't already have enough on her plate what with mouthy urchins and magic trouble, she's asked by the Pack to retrieve some stolen property.
We see all the familiar faces from the first book back in Magic Burns. I was delighted to have more 'boy wonder' (Derek) because I find his friendship with Kate to be adorable. I was surprised to see very minor characters like Red return. I liked the new faces presented also, like Bran. Andrea was wonderful too! Now to the Beast Lord... Curran is just a fabulous character. He's totally worthy of Kate and gets a nice bit of character development as well. Their scenes are very well written and brimming with chemistry -- I laughed when Curran nearly dropped the bench-press on himself because Kate was making him laugh. I definitely like the speed at which their relationship is progressing; when a romance comes about too fast all the tension and longing is sucked out of it. So far it's been beautifully done. The scene lightly exploring Kate's loneliness was also touching and it's nice that she's not too proud to discuss it with someone.
The heart of the story was very much Kate's continuing ambiguous relationship with Curran and her new charge, Julie. There were so many great lines in 'Magic Burns'. That wonderfully droll humour was very well placed and doesn't ever feel farcical -- it suits the tone of the book very well. We were also treated to more hints as to Kate's true lineage (I think I have an idea who her dad might be)... I'm looking forward to finding out for sure at any rate.
The plot was very action packed with barely a moment left for a breather. And I loved every minute of it. From the first page to the hilarious final scene. Amazing!
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