And the life of man, solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short. – Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan
After reading a bunch of disappointing urban fantasy, I returned to the Kate Daniels series to remind myself how it should be done.
The Kate Daniels series is a combination of urban fantasy and post-apocalypse. The setting is a familiar urban landscape, Atlanta, made foreign by the apocalyptic return of magic to the world. Magic once ruled the world, but faded, allowing technology to take precedence. A few decades before the series begins, magic returns, throwing the world into chaos. Magic comes in waves, alternating unpredictably with technology. The return of magic, brings legendary creatures and gods, shape-shifters and vampires to the world. The world has become unpredictable and violent. Society has become balkanized. Long distance travel has become difficult and long distance communication less certain. Guns are unreliable, making swords and hand-to-hand combat more relevant. A few spoilers for previous books and this book follow after the break.
Kate Daniels is a sword wielding mercenary currently working for an aid organization tasked with protecting humans. She’s smart, tough and sarcastic, but never overly-impressed with herself. In the previous three books, Kate has gone from being a loner to having a group of friends and has started an on/off romance with Curran, the leader of the local shape-shifter pack. The romance isn’t my favorite part of the book, as there is way to much obvious miscommunication and misunderstanding. But, given where it looks like the series is going, it makes more sense for Kate to be invested in a community with a family to fight for, than for her to be a loner.
For those of you traumatized by Twilight, let me assure you that the vampires here don’t sparkle. They are scuttling mindless creatures, that if not controlled by their pilot would kill until there was nothing left to kill. Because vampires are so deadly, the pilots who handle them are controlled by an organization called The People, run by a mysterious man named Roland. This is important because of Kate’s secret. She is Roland’s daughter, and he wants her dead. In Magic Bleeds we learn a lot more about Kate’s mysterious family when her city destroying aunt comes to town bringing plague, death and destruction. Unlike other urban fantasy books, Kate is not a lone woman among men. There are many formidable women in Kate’s world.
This is a good series of books for light reading. The first book, Magic Bites, is by far the weakest and each book has improved.