Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Reviews 37 - Ilona Andrews Magic Shifts

Reviews 37
Magic Shifts
Ilona Andrews 

The Reviews series has not been indexed yet.  And I have messed up the numbering, resulting in two posts numbered 34. I'm not planning to fix that, as I think this is the only duplicate.

The first Reviews 34 is:

The second Reviews 34 is:
Today we again raise the topic of what, exactly, is Paranormal Romance?

In fact, it would be good to ponder the abstract problem of what Romance really is.

The best way to figure out where you, the writer, stands on these two questions is to read-read-read.  Read reams of non-fiction, yes, but loads and loads of fiction outside your target genre.

It is painful, I know, but as you did in High School and College, read things you don't enjoy.  Yes, you must read for enjoyment because enjoyment is your stock in trade, what you have to sell, and if you don't have any enjoyment, you can't sell any.

You must have an overflowing reservoir of enjoyment in your heart.  Therefore, read Ilona Andrews (all titles).  Pay special attention to the Kate Daniels novels.  If you read them already, just because they are best sellers - read them again as a set.

At the same time, to convey that enjoyment in your heart to others, to purvey that enjoyment you have collected over years, you must understand more about story structure than your reader does.  You must make the structure of your story as invisible to your readers as the great writers you've been reading make their story structure invisible to you.

Therefore, today we take up a relationship-driven Action-Romance-Paranormal by a husband/wife collaborating team.  There are a few like that working in the field today, but the Ilona Andrews byline is the best example at my fingertips right now.

MAGIC SHIFTS is a "Kate Daniels Novel" -- and the 8th in the Series.

The collaboration is seamless -- there is no jarring shift from one writer's style to the other.  It is a blended style, probably done somewhat the way Jean Lorrah and I collaborate, with every word gone over by both.

They have mastered the trick of "pacing" -- the narrative moves smoothly from cerebral to action scenes.

They have SHOW DON'T TELL down pat. The Characters do not tell you what they are feeling (and the novels replete with conflicting feelings).  Even if you have not read the previous novels, you know what these people are feeling.

The two main Characters, a retiring Alpha pair from a shapeshifter Pack, are not yet married, but yes they are very married, oh, very very married.

This is a Couple novel -- an after-the-Romance novel, which does ask the question, "Can this couple ever get to Happily Ever After?"

The answer seems to be Yes, but maybe not "ever-after" -- as there are still problems to be solved.  They are now living in typical suburbia, adjacent to acres of wild forrest to run in, with houses on the block inhabited by other shapeshifters who have left the Pack to follow the Alpha Couple out of loyalty or other personal necessity.

Yes, I recommend the previous novels in this series, and yes, I have read them.  If Shapeshifter novels are your passion, you must know all your readers will have a familiarity with these works.

But the Kate Daniels universe has another, vastly interesting, quirk.  Here is not a choice between magic and technology, not a World Bridge to cross to go from where Magic works to where Technology works.  Here, Magic washes over the Technology based normal world you know, and disables all our devices and gadgets.  Civilization adjusts, and we see our world in semi-ruins but life goes on, with Magic working sometimes and Technology working other times.

The shifts can be dangerous.

Meanwhile, Magical creatures rampage and must be stopped.

Plenty of monster hunts, and battles, and plenty of mysterious puzzles to solve.  The latter gives this the flavor of a Mystery/Detective series while the puzzles themselves work a lot like science fiction.

So, just don't miss reading Ilona Andrews titles.  It is a trustworthy,, go-to byline.

Jacqueline Lichtenberg

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