Magic Bites: Curran

In case you hadn’t caught on, I love paranormal romance/urban fantasy. Amazon figured this out. When I look at their recommendations for me, I have to work through pages of kick-ass heroines who battle evil and are romanced by werewolves, faeries and vampires.

I decided to try Ilona Andrews’ Magic Bites because On the Edge was a pretty good read. And it wasn’t a bad book. But it wasn’t my favorite. And the Mancandy, though a sexy beast (literally), did not light my fire.

Well, maybe a little bit. But I’m living in eternal singlehood. What’s your excuse?
So basic plot: Kate Daniels, our heroine, is a mercenary who cleans up paranormal problems in Atlanta. Greg Feldman, her guardian, is found murdered one day. Also dying are different were-creatures (not just wolves in here) and vampires (here they’re corpses used as puppets by necromancers known as The People) are found dead. Someone is trying to instigate a war between these two forces and somehow Greg got caught up in it.

Have to say, props to Ilona Andrews for putting her own twist on the vampire/werewolf story. There are one or two werewolves but the leader Curran is a were-lion. But wait, we’re not ready to discuss him yet!

So Kate gets involved in the mess to avenge Greg, trying to investigate both sides of the conflict. Thankfully Greg was a knight of The Order which is an all-powerful organization that watches over the magical world. So with those resources, she’s able to do some pretty neat detective work.

And then she talks.

Okay, well Kate isn’t awful. But she has a tendency to make smart aleck comments all the time, often to the point of annoyance. Thankfully several characters call her out on it buuuuut it still exists. And it’s one of the reason she clashes with Curran.

Okay okay, time for the mancandy.

Curran aka The Beast Lord is a were-lion who runs The Pack, the group to which almost all were-creatures belong. I don’t know why I like werewolf characters so much, maybe the same reason I like the big manly men. When I saw a were-lion, I squeed a little bit.

…I’m a furry waiting to happen, aren’t I?

ANYWAY I will skip the part where he first appears to Kate as a lion for the sake of everyone’s sanity and go to where he transforms into human form.

A couple of inches taller than me, the Beast Lord gave an impression of coiled power. Easy, balanced stance. Blond hair, cut too short to gab. At first glance he looked to be in his early to mid-twenties, but his build betrayed him. His shoulders strained his T-shirt. His back was broad and corded with muscle, showing the power and strength a man developed in his early thirties

Curran started out pretty good. He doesn’t take any of Kate’s crap though its obvious she gets a rise out of him. In case you’re romance illiterate, that means their meant to be. Magic Bites is more fantasy than romance so while there’s some sexual tension, nothing is really resolved as far as the romance goes. I do know they must get together eventually because when I read On the Edge, there was an excerpt from the newest Kate Daniels’ book about the pair having dinner together.

He cares a lot about his Pack and is incredibly protective of them. But he’s quick to offense. When Kate challenges him, he challenges her before the whole Pack with one of his own men. Kate wins and he has to quickly find a way for this pack member to save face. This put me at kinda iffy about Curran.

Perhaps I have too high standards for these fictional men. But I liked a lot of flawed heroes so I’ll deny that for now. I don’t mind if a hero’s a butthole as long as he a) has a legit reason and b) experiences some growth. Too often do heroes get away with a lot of jerk moves without repercussions. (I know I’ve ranted about this before. It’s one of my favorite ranting points.)

Curran’s jerk move? Jerk isn’t a harsh enough word. Its near the end and its discovered that our baddie is an Upir, a creature that mates with magical women (or animals to make weird bastard children) to make super offspring and then feeds the woman to the newborns. So three guesses as to who he’s targeting. (Psst, it’s Kate.)

Curran tells Kate not to leave the keep. But she does leave with the Order’s Crusader to get supplies to defeat the Upir, When she comes back…

“Just so we’re clear,” Curran said, “You did understand that I didn’t wish you or the crusader to leave Keep?”
“Yes.”
“That’s what I thought,” Curran said.
He grabbed me by the throat and slammed me against the wall. My feet felt no floor. His fingers crushed my neck.

Um…what?

Two good things about this: Kate extracts herself with a pretty sweet maneuver and doesn’t apologize for her actions. But neither does Curran. A chapter later, when he gives her a big kiss right before the battle I didn’t feel the usual delight that comes from a much-anticipated smooch scene. He pinned her to the wall by her throat! I know he’s an animal and is worried about his people and her but I’m pretty sure he could have expressed it in a better way.

So, breakdown.

If you want a decent Ilona Andrews’ hero, I would go with On the Edge. Or if you don’t want Andrews, I’d go with Patricia Briggs or for a YA flavor, Holly Black and Melissa Marr. I may try the rest of the series since this was Andrew’ first book and she can only get better. I’m not sure.

Breakdown:
Appearance: A physically fit specimen either as gray-eyed, blonde man or a gold-eyed lion.

Personality: Dominant, a little uptight, loyal

Best quality: His devotion to his people

Worst Quality: His temper. His pride. The fact that he pinned the heroine to the wall by her throat.

Grade: D

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