This week Ilona Andrews releases Gunmetal Magic, which features leading lady Andrea Nash, the best friend the author’s long-running heroine Kate Daniels. But Andrea is on her own when a shifter crime throws this were-hyena back together with the man who broke her heart. Can Andrea and Raphael work out a truce in time to save the pack from a dark supernatural evil?
Whitney: You know when you finish a book and you just want to hoot and holler with glee? Well, that was my experience with this novel.
Morgan: Agreed! We were both Andrews’ novices, but I am pretty confident that we are both now solidly in this author’s camp. Her backlist better get ready for the Morgan Invasion!
Whitney: I can’t believe I’ve been missing out on all the whole Ilona Andrews Reading Rainbow of Awesome. Gunmetal Magic had witty repartee, a twisting plot, excellent secondary characters and a hero and heroine who I absolutely fell in love with.
Morgan: It may have been love at first read for me and Andrea. She is one badass heroine that doesn’t take sass from anyone.
Whitney: Well there’s that one hyena shifter who gets under her skin —
Morgan: But biological mates who have broken up with her aside, no one messes with Andrea.
Whitney: You’re right. In the post-apocalyptic world that Andrea lives in, she has to be hard to survive.
Morgan: Yeah, after magic sweeps through and renders most technology useless, the land is pretty much lawless. So Andrea becomes a force of her own.
Whitney: I love the scene where she introduces two troublemakers to a better way to behave …
“This is an HK MPG submachine gun. Renowned for its stopping power and reliability. Cyclic rate of fire: eight hundred rounds per minute. That means I can empty this thirty-round clip into you in less than three seconds. At this range I’ll cut you in half.” It wasn’t strictly true but it sounded good. “You see what it says on the barrel?”
On the barrel pretty white letters spelled out party starter.
“You open your mouth again and I’ll get the party started.”
The rider clamped his jaw shut.
I looked at the Biohazard guy, “Appreciate the job you’re doing for the city, sir. Please carry on.”
Morgan: Brains, brawn and the ability to judge a situation, Andrea is the complete package.
Whitney: She’s also very honest about who she is. I really liked how well she knows and accepts herself.
Morgan: For example, the fact that she knows she isn’t really an awesome role model because she has more than just a few conflicts looming over her head (and her heart).
Whitney: But she knows enough to say, “Giving advice was easy. Living by it was much harder.” This was a moment that really resonated with me.
Morgan: A lot of what the heroine does sticks in my mind. I was equally intrigued when she was bickering with her friends, beating up foes and playing pranks on her mate-slash-nemesis.
Whitney: But for all of this angst and crazy that goes along with being a paranormal investigator, Andrea’s story is not all kicking ass and taking names. She has some pretty serious identity issues.
Morgan: Which stem from her childhood when she was a vulnerable girl who was tortured because of her half-shifter status.
Whitney: It is no wonder that when Gunmetal Magic opens, Andrea is having a difficult time coming to terms with the fact that the local Atlanta shifter pack demands her allegiance.
Morgan: Something she is not prepared to give since the pack she grew up with offered her nothing but pain and humiliation.
Whitney: So she puts her job ahead of her kind. However, Andrea’s mate, Raphael, prince of the hyena shifters, does not get this at all.
Morgan: So he leaves her.
Whitney: Or it could be said that she leaves him...
Morgan: Either way, they are no longer together.
Whitney: I for one give Andrea total props for her choice. Just because something is in your genes doesn’t mean you have to act that way — nurture over nature, I say!
Whitney: Although I’d give serious thought to anything that threatened my relationship with the person whose scent called to me the way that Raphael’s does to Andrea. Every time she is around him, she imagines singing. Literal singing. “‘Raphael … Raphael … Mate...’ The scent enveloped me, warm, welcoming mine.”
Morgan: Romantic does not begin to describe the connection that these two have!
Whitney: Andrews does a fantastic job of conveying the primal emotion that zings between the couple. (And I’d like to pause for a moment to say that I never in a million years thought that I would think of a hyena shifter as sexy but Raphael, whooee!)
Morgan: Andrea and Raphael’s … let’s say … challenging relationship is part of what makes this book such a great read. Although the fantasy (and urban fantasy) elements of this story are very strong, their romance will resonate with contemporary and series romance readers.
Whitney: I think this is because at the core of Gunmetal Magic is the smart but slightly outcast heroine with her group of eccentric, but supremely loyal friends.
Morgan: And it is a good thing she has these friends who also work with the Cutting Edge agency headed by Kate Daniels. Without her co-workers, there is no way Andrea could survive her mystical foray into uncovering a new type of shifter that kills its prey with retractable fangs loaded with venom.
Whitney: These excellent secondary characters also give Andrews lots of places to go with other characters’ stories. I think I can speak for both of us when we say we would read any spin off book featuring Roman, Jim, Sandra, Lucrezia, Russell, Amanda, Derek, Barabas... They could all carry a story.
Morgan: Carry a story!?! More like make a story explode with awesomeness. In fact, I feel like asking Ms. Andrews and her husband, “Please, may I have another?” (Not begging, per se. But awfully darn close.)
Whitney: Sorry, I wasn’t listening; I was just on my way out to get the previous Kate Daniels books...
Morgan: Wait for me!
Do Andrea and her friends de-fang their enemies? Will she and Raphael get past their problems? Make sure to check out Gunmetal Magic in stores now to find out. And while you are in a book buying mood, download a copy of Double Down by Katie Porter (aka co-writing authors Carrie Lofty and Lorelie Brown) — which RT’s Morgan and Elisa will be Dishing about next week!