Magic Strikes brings in basically exactly what the Kate Daniels series needed: a magical tournament. Step right up, get your tickets here, because Kate's about to give the throw down.
So. Following Magic Burns, Kate is off working as usual when she gets a call from shapeshifter Saiman that he has her other shapeshifter/werewolf friend, Derek, locked up at his apartment. Saiman caught Derek trying to steal all-access tickets to something called the Midnight Games, which werewolves--and the rest of the Pack--are explicitly prohibited from attending. As part of the deal to bail Derek out, she agrees to attend the Games and evaluate a team called the Reapers for Saiman, and then covertly agrees to deliver a note for Derek. While, things go to hell in a handbasket pretty quickly when Kate determines that the Reaper team is not human, but she can't tell how, and Derek is found almost dead...and then a bunch of shapeshifters try to kill Kate, too, because they think she's involved. Ultimately, it ends up with Kate and werejaguar Jim, the head of the Pack's security, and a handful of other on the run from Curran as they attempt to solve the puzzle of getting revenge for Derek and finding out exactly what's going on with the Midnight Games.
The mythological flavor of the month here is...Indian! As in southeast Asian Indian, not Native American, of course. Along these lines, Andrews introduces a really awesome new character named Dali that I hope we see lots more of. Dali is an Indian mythology expert, she writes calligraphy curses, and oh yeah, she turns into a white tiger but gets short-term amnesia and goes cross-eyed when she does so, to the point that she can't figure out why she has paws. Dali is freaking awesome. Julie, the cool kid from the previous book, is also brought back here to some use, though honestly she can't possibly be as cool as Dali is. (Did I mention that Dali also has a thing for street racing, even though she's legally blind?)
We get a lot of neat stuff here, including info about what, exactly, Saiman is and some more information about Roland, Kate's biological father who definitely wants to kill her. Some of his minions come out of the woodwork and we get to know about some of the crazy weaponry he's been cooking up, and some of the reasons that Kate is both terrified of him and determined to take him down. The relationship between Curran and Kate also evolves, like, a lot, and Andrea, Kate's new bestie who first showed up in Book 2, gets to make a return here, too! I was so happy to see Andrea as a continuing character. These books really needed more girl-power, and Andrews has done a wonderful job of building it up in this volume. Kate is no longer the only woman taking on all the magical men! Whoo hoo! OH and we get more Unicorn Lane here which is baller.
I have two real issues with this book. First, the Indian mythology is cool as heck but difficult for me to grasp just because I haven't had a lot of exposure to it...and I keep getting this feeling that Andrews is actually probably being really offensive in some regard with it. This might just be me. Second, the big gem that everyone is fighting after... It's pretty much established that it's not the same stone as in the myths (the size, etc. doesn't match) and yet it works the same way? What was the deal with this? I'm confused. It seems like something that wasn't thought through all the way, or if it was, those thoughts didn't necessarily make it onto the page. Because the stone actually ends up playing a very important part of the plot, even though it doesn't get a lot of page time, this is something I would have liked to see handled with a bit more finesse.
Again, this was a really fun read. Was it one that I'll go back to over and over again? Probably not. But it was a solid installment and it sets up a lot of promise in the Kate/Curran department for Book 4 that I think was done really well, and it gets a good rating for that, and all of the awesomeness I've discussed above.
4 stars out of 5.