Trouble will always find Kate – or maybe the other way around…
Magic Claims is the second book in the Wilmington Years series spin-off from Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels books. And it’s another rip-roaring adventure, but with some moments of seriousness as well.
In the first book in the series, Magic Tides, readers learned that Kate and Curran had moved to Wilmington to make the world go away (beach + fort + moat = happy!), and to try to find a bit of normal life for their son, Conlan. But even in Magic Tides, it seemed that they might not be left alone (or even want to be left alone) for very long. And this becomes perfectly clear in the opening scene of Magic Claims, when Kate’s aunt, Erra, gives her a not-so-gentle kick-in-the-tush – telling Kate that so long as she is who she is, and Curran is who he is, the world will intrude, and they need to be prepared.
Now, having cracked the door on their anonymity in Magic Tides, when Kate rescued their general contractor’s nephew, Kate and Curran are approached by one of the other kids Kate saved. Solina and her grand-uncle Edward Calloway (Ned) have an even knottier problem, though. After the last magic flare, someone – or something – seems to have appeared in the woods not far outside Wilmington, and is terrorizing the inhabitants of the small town of Pendleton. Several members of Ned’s and Solina’s family still live there, so they are looking for help. And Ned, a sharp and successful businessman, has done his homework, dangling ownership of 82,000 acres of woodlands near Pendleton in front of Curran, to help persuade him.
Of course, neither Kate nor Curran can resist Pendleton’s plight, and they don’t actually try all that hard. As Kate says, just before flexing her magic in one of the funniest scenes in the book (no spoilers, but you’ll know it when you get to it), “letting go of the need to hide was surprisingly easy.” From there, the story just picks up pace, with Kate’s magic and Curran’s fighting prowess – and the skills of their allies –carrying the day in the end.
A lot of the fun comes along the way, though, as Kate valiantly tries to avoid having some of her father’s former retainers pledge loyalty to her, Keelan attempts to impart wisdom to a junior Pack member in the “poke-it-with-a-stick” scene, Erra betrays her well-hidden soft heart in the matter of the dog, and Darin checks out some special critters near the end of the book. As with any IA books though, there are also some moments for thought. The Pack in Atlanta seems to be heading for trouble, and those problems will almost certainly spill over all the way to Wilmington. And although the People’s Wilmington representative, Barrett, hasn’t yet figured out who Kate is, he probably will fairly soon.
If there’s even a minor downside to Magic Claims, it’s that it has just a teeny bit of the feel of a “set-up book”, even if we don’t know exactly what future story the set-up is for: Julie 2? Hugh 2? Wilmington 3? All of them? But although the hooks are clearly there, Magic Claims is still a great tale, and still would be, even if none of those other books ever come along. I highly recommend it and offer my thanks to the authors for the advance review copy. Oh, and on a personal level, I’m thrilled that two of my favorite characters in the Kate Daniels universe, Damian Angevin and Luther Dillon, both turn up near the end, and hopefully may have bigger roles in the future 🤞.