REVIEW by Jena: Gunmetal Magic (Kate Daniels World #1) by Ilona Andrews (@ilona_andrews , @GordonSm3)

Some people have everything figured out — Andrea Nash is not one of those people. After being kicked out of the Order of Knights of Merciful Aid, Andrea’s whole existence is in shambles. All she can do is try to put herself back together, something made easier by working for Cutting Edge, a small investigative firm owned by her best friend, Kate Daniels.

When several shapeshifters working for Raphael Medrano — the male alpha of Clan Bouda and Andrea’s former lover — die unexpectedly at a dig site, Andrea is assigned to investigate … and must work with Raphael. As her search for the killer leads her into the secret underbelly of supernatural Atlanta, Andrea knows that dealing with her feelings for Raphael might have to take a backseat to saving the world …


I love the Kate Daniels books.  I mean, I loooooooove them.  So I was rather excited about Gunmetal Magic and over the last two weeks, I finally got the opportunity to listen to the audiobook. 

I went into this book wanting to LOVE it and I have to say….I liked it but I didn’t love it.  Not the way I love the Kate Daniels books. 

And here’s why:


I was kind of disappointed in the version of Andrea I was introduced to in this book.  The Andrea that we got to know in the Kate Daniels books was sarcastic yes but not to a point of biting.  Gunmetal Magic has a different side of Andrea that I wasn’t used to at all.  It felt like Ilona Andrews tried too hard to make her a Kate Jr. rather than allowing her to carry the book on her own merit.  She just has a totally different feel in this book from her character in the KD books.  Not that I didn’t like her in this book.  I did.  But I found myself, on several occasions, thinking that I was actually listening to Kate and had to remind myself that it was Andrea.  That should never happen, not when you have two strong characters with strikingly different personalities. 


I loved him in this book.  I really did.  In the Kate Daniels books, we only got a taste of what he’s like and in Gunmetal Magic, you get a full-on dose.  I do have to say I wanted to punch him square in the unmentionables for about half of the book but all was explained and my need to hurt him subsided.  And there are two scenes in this book that will make you fall over and swoon.  … … Ok, get your mind out of the gutters!  They aren’t sex scenes.  It has to do with dialog!  … …perverts… …


What can I say?  LOVED THEM AS ALWAYS.  They’re such a dynamic pairing.  These are two characters that were totally built for each other in every way.  They aren’t in the entire book but the scenes they’re in will make you start going through withdrawals.  I can’t wait for the next KD book!


Roman, Roman, Roman.  Roman was always a character I wasn’t sure I liked.  I give it to Gunmetal Magic.  This book completely swayed my opinion and he’s now one of my favorite characters.  I am really hoping that we see more of him in future books.  Or perhaps his own book…..  Hmmm Ilona Andrews???  Oh!!!  And this book reveals a bit of a secret about Roman and the way it is revealed will make you laugh pretty damn hard. 


Ok, so aside from the Andrea not really feeling like Andrea situation, the other thing that I took issue with was the main story arc in this book.  Gunmetal Magic, like all of Ilona Andrews writing, carries several story lines at once.  A few minor ones and they one major one that crosses all the others. 


Storyline #1:  The initial Investigation
The book kicks off with an investigation into a shifter murder.  I am not going to go into any more detail than that because I don’t want to blow the story line for those that haven’t read the book yet.  This is the big story arc that crosses over the rest.  It’s also the one I didn’t like.  You start out with this thunderous opening to the book, full of energy and then it just sort of craps out and drags.  I found that I was far more interested in the minor story lines that the big one and isn’t the big one sort of the point?  You know?  Not that it was all around bad.  I found that it went from interesting to not, back to interesting, back to not, then back to interesting.  That makes for a long book when it doesn’t grip you all the way through.  As much as I love the writing of Ilona Andrews, I found this main story arc lacking.  And it kind of made me sad and I have been putting off the review because it makes me sad to even say I wasn’t crazy about it.


Storyline #2:  Andrea & Raphael
This one had me.  All the way through.  From start to finish, I was DYING to find out what happens.  If you haven’t read the Kate Daniels books, read those before reading Gunmetal Magic so you understand the scope of the characters’ history, including how Andrea and Raphael got to where they are at the beginning of Gunmetal Magic.  You won’t regret the decision.  Just do it.  For those that HAVE read the KD books, you’re in for a treat.  All the tension and anger and love and lust and anguish – it’s all here.  Let’s just say that the story of Andrea and Raphael is FAR from over.  I won’t say if it’s to be together or to spend eternity TORMENTING each other but it’s far from over.  And either way, you will laugh your ass off.  I promise you that. 


Storyline #3:  Andrea’s History
I can’t pick a favorite between #2 and #3 because it is a damn close tie.  We don’t learn a whole lot about Andrea’s history in the KD books.  Gunmetal Magic doesn’t just give you a glimpse of who she is, you’re submerged in it and WOW is it an interesting story.  Who she is, where she came from and why she turned out the way she did are all explained in this book.  Again, finding out the details of her past was a gripping story line. 


Overall, I am going to give Gunmetal Magic 3.5 stars.  I am actually sad even typing that but it’s true.  It’s a good book but not as gripping as previous writing from Ilona Andrews.  I adore the world they’ve created and all their books have SO MUCH built into them and I felt that Gunmetal Magic fell short by comparison.  I think that a little more thought needed to go into Storyline #1 to really hold the reader all the way through.  It was detailed but not intriguing in the way the rest of their books are.  The original investigation seemed to get a little lost in the rest of the story.  It started out with this crazy adrenaline rush and then felt like the rest of the book was spent trying to find the story rather than the story flowing. 

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