Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A New Author Found, Ilona Andrews

I've been pretty stressed out lately. My plate is very full, and I think it's starting to become overfull.  First off I've got my job which I'm working 19 hours a week at, that's just fine. Then I've got my solo research project which kinda stalled out because I was lacking info, but lo and behold ask and you shall receive, albeit with a three week delay. So now I have tons of info to sort through and my Primary Investigator (PI) wants me to move forward with the project.  Then I have my not one, but two summer classes (think of summer classes as twice as fast). Not only are they 'capstone' CBS (college of biological sciences) courses, they are also team based. Team based means you are permanently assigned to a nine person group and all of your projects and grades will happen in concert with these random people, even some of the tests are taken as a team. I have two sets of people to work with, somehow I've ended up directing the long term projects for both classes. Finally you've got the home life, which is not going so smoothly. My female roommate and I decided we no longer wanted to live with one of our male roommates.  We told the other male roommate first who decided that he could not stay if the other went, and is trying to convince the other guy to move out without telling him we don't want to live with him anymore. I don't think this approach is going to work well due the the guy's extreme laziness. So now we need two new roommates before our lease rolls over on August first. We think we've got one, but we're going to need to advertise and interview for another.  We can't really start looking though until they guys agree to move out.  This uncertain housing future has me really stressed out.

When I'm stressed out I want to escape reality with a good book. Unfortunately I've got a binge reading problem and will deprive myself of sleep to see what happens next. This makes me grumpy and prone to mood swings which is a bad combo with stress.  With this in mind I had an idea: why don't I buy some anthologies so I can read a short story before bed,and have a definite stopping point so I will go to bed. One of the anthologies I bought was Dark and Stormy Knights. The first story, A Questionable Client, was by Ilona Andrews which is a pen name for a husband and wife writing team. I read this story and about half way through I thought 'why have I never heard of this author before?' and 'I've got to read more of this' because it was such a unique world and character. I did a brief amazon search and found the first book in the Kate Daniels series, Magic Bites for $.76, there was no resisting and I bought it. I finished it within 24 hours of receiving it (see binge reading problem, though all in all it probably didn't take more than four and a half hours to read.). The first thing that struck me is that by reading the short story I'm actually getting the character's story in chronological order, because the short story explains an acquaintance that shows up a few times in the book.  The other thing that I noticed was that while the writing in the book is by no means bad, it certainly was better in the short story which means this duo only gets better with time. I don't think I would have gotten quite as sucked in a I did if I hadn't read the short story first. The novel was good but didn't have that same gripping power. That being said I can't wait to get my hands on the next one, though I know I need to wait until my classes are over.

The really interesting part of this series is the world it is set in. The Authors call it post-shift, the jist of it is that magic flows randomly so sometimes it works, and sometimes technology works. This leaves magic monsters stranded and they wreak chaos. The main character is Kate Daniels who is a mercenary who deals with these monsters. She's also something else, but so far I don't know what. It has something to do with her father and some powerful magic she's got in her blood. There's also a whole supporting cast of maybe good, maybe bad guys it depends on the situation. Overall I like the concept because it's different and the characters because although they are superhuman on the powers level, they're quite human on the emotional level.

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