So I've done a fair bit of ranting lately and just so you know I'm not really a bitter woman, I'm going to rave for a change. Specifically, I'm going to rave about some awesome world building. Fans of kicking-ass-and-taking-names-urban-fantasy heroines must check out Ilona Andrews series set in Atlanta. The first book is Magic Bites.
This is Atlanta like you've never seen it. The name-taking heroine is Kate Daniels, a mercenary in dystopian Atlanta where magic comes and goes in flares. Kate's job is to clean up paranormal messes and her current task is more like a vendetta. Her guardian has been murdered and a pack of undead critters are on the loose. She must learn to work with the sexy but uber scary Beast Lord (pack leader of the shape-shifters)and the controlling, rule obsessed Order (the official government agency which handles paranormal enforcement) to achieve her goals (catch a killer and save the world).
I picked this book up to take on vacation and devoured every delicious bite in two days. As soon as I returned home, I ordered the next book, Magic Burns, and crossed my fingers that it would be just as good. It is. Yummy!
What makes this series so appealing is the world building. The dialogue is snappy and the characters are fascinating--though I don't believe I would have any of them over for tea. But the world. Atlanta has been trashed by the tides of magic that push and pull at the city. Buildings have toppled and the landscape twists and morphs while all manner of beasties and ghouls prowl the shadows. I love the glimpses into the organized societies of these creatures. Everything works together so beautifully. These are not seperate pockets of society, but all the groups merge and blend and relate to one another so that you can see the past history.
Kate didn't just wake up one day deciding to kick ass. She isn't an innocent thrust into a world she can't understand. She is a product of her environment and has valid reasons for having chosen her path. The characters all belong to this world. You couldn't pick one of them up and move them somewhere else. They belong right where they are. That is so rare.
The magic has been imagined in meticulous detail. It works. It makes sense. And the rules are different when the magic is up versus when the "tech" is up. It's brilliant.
I seriously can't say enough good things about this series. I only hope she can maintain this fascinating world without fading into another case of Good Authors Gone Bad.
I will be watching and waiting with a slight string of drool from the right side of my mouth until her next book.