-- commercial break --
Bite Me – 10/23/10
I love to read. My shelves are lined with all kinds of things, including vintage cookbooks, old college textbooks, graphic novels (primarily X-Men), and lots and lots of scifi. Like most readers, I spend a hell of a lot of time weeding through all the mediocre garbage that the publishing houses push at us, trying to find those few books that are actually worth my very-limited time. Amazon tries to help me avoid the crap, and once in a while, they succeed. Case in point: Magic Bites, Book 1 of the Kate Daniels series.
Magic Bites was written by Ilona Andrews, who is, surprisingly, really two people. They are a husband & wife team who publish under the wife’s name. Cool, huh? There are currently four books in the series, and, I swear to god, I cannot wait for the next one to come out.
Magic Bites is one of those books that is hard to classify. It’s not Scifi, and it’s not really Horror, but it’s so much more than just Fantasy. It has a lot of magic and some seriously sexy creatures, and one of the best romances I’ve read in ages. The authors themselves do a good job of explaining their work: “We write urban fantasy, an odd hybrid of a genre that includes elements of mystery, fantasy, and horror. Our stories are set in a modern setting that has a touch of paranormal to it.”
The protagonist is, of course, Kate Daniels. She’s funny. She’s got a hell of a sense of humor, which is very helpful given that her life is so seriously screwed up. She’s also got a pretty bitchin’ magic sword. In the first book, she is employed as a mercenary, helping with magic cases that the police either won’t, or can’t, handle. If I tell you any more than that, it’ll screw up the surprises for you…so I’ll move on the her love interest. Oh, hell, I can’t really tell you anything about him either, for the same reason. Suffice to say he is one of the strongest, sexiest, manliest males you’ll meet in a book. He puts all of Anita Blake’s men to shame, and by the time you get to the end of Book #4, you will melt for him. Seriously.
The series is set in Atlanta in the not-too-distant future. The world is in a bit of turmoil because Magic (capital M) reasserts itself at times, which renders modern technology useless. Apparently, back in the really old days of legend, Magic ruled. But then technology began to grow stronger, and Magic waned — hence the Industrial Age and all our modern gizmos. In Kate’s world, the pendulum is swinging and Magic is on the uprise — so all types of magic and myths and legends are coming back to life. Every time a wave of Magic hits, things that are technology-driven, like your phone or office tower, crumble. Tech reasserts itself at times, leaving Magic dead again. It’s all very unpredictable, and provides a wonderfully creative environment for Kate’s adversaries to thrive in.
The Magic series has vampires too, but don’t expect a new-fangled version of Lestat to pop up. These vamps are not your run-of-the-mill sexpots. In fact, they’re kinda gross. Imagine a completely-bald, emaciated, misshapen animated corpse crawling across your ceiling. The corpse is being “piloted” by someone else, who is sitting in a room far, far away. Nothing sexy here. Pretty nasty, in fact, but they do have a very interesting role in the books. As you read, you’ll find yourself guessing about what they’ll do next. You’ll probably also get the willies if you read about them while you’re alone in a darkish room, so keep your magic sword handy.
Willies aside, the multitude of Were creatures are hot enough to make up for the unsexy vamps. Hell, even the regular humans are hot in these books…but I should stop talking about how drool-worthy the characters are, lest you get the impression this is a smut book. It’s not. It’s a first-class mystery, with lots of intrigue and twists and surprises. It has a real plot, (unlike some other books whose plots are soleley half-assed excuses to showcase freaky sex positions). You won’t even see any sex until much later in the series, and by then, you’ll be begging for it. I’m not kidding.
Here’s a link to the author’s web site, and here’s a link to their page at Amazon. The four books are titled Magic Bites, Magic Burns, Magic Strikes, and Magic Bleeds. If any of you have already read these books, I’d love to hear what you think of them. I’ll open a thread for spoilerish discussion at the message board if there is enough interest. I swear, you’re going to love these books.
Bite Me – 10/14/10
Bite Me! No, Seriously Bite Me. Right here…
I can’t believe I’m writing a column. When I was a journalism student, I hated this stuff. I dreaded the days when my columns were due, because I was forced to write about things that bored me to tears. I had to write in “proper” journalistic style and I couldn’t cuss. I was almost always an hour late for my deadline, and the editor was a class-A bitch who took every opportunity to be nasty to me. It was sheer hell.
But that was 25 years ago, and a lot has changed. The most important change, obviously, is that this is a non-profit, fan-operated web site. I’m one of the owners, and here in my own column, I can cuss if I want to. (And I will!) Another big change is the content of this site. I used to write columns about student government at our campus, which sucked. Now I get to write about all my favorite TV shows, movies and books. Instead of trudging through boring meeting notes, I now get to look at photos of Jensen Ackles’ ass. This is way more fun.
Another important change is that I now have something to say. Back in the day, I didn’t have a real opinion about student government or local businesses or any of the other “beats” to which I was assigned. Maybe that was because I was only 19 years old, or maybe it was because I was simply shallow. Whatever. But now that I’m “grown up,” I have lots of opinions on all sorts of things. I’m not gonna bore you with my more serious thoughts, but I will share my ideas about science fiction, movie stars, zombies, and other cool shit.
Oh, and I’m not gonna follow proper journalistic style, either. Besides the fact that I have a serious disagreement with the Associated Press Style Manual’s suggested use of commas, I like to use words that you won’t always find in a dictionary. I write like I talk, and I usually make shit up as I go along — so don’t expect this to make too much sense.
In addition to the VinXperience web site, these columns will be posted at the board for comments. I’m sure our members will not be shy about spouting their opinions, so I hope lots of new people will join in, too. In fact, I hope a whole bunch of newbies will check out our board. It’s a pleasant place, with discussion areas for many movies, TV shows and celebrities. Our staff is helpful and our members will give you a big welcome. Our fanfic section is huge, covering lots of different fandoms; it also has a bunch of truly good original fiction and a couple of unique group-writing projects. And, happily for me, we’ve got lots of pictures of Jensen Ackles — it’s way better than that crappy newspaper I worked for when I was a youngster.