Magic Claims by Ilona Andrews (Kate Daniels: Wilmington Years #2)
Kate and Curran have just settled into their new home and their 'low profile,' when a local businessman approaches them with an offer they can’t refuse. A mysterious evil has spawned in the nearby forest and is holding a defenseless town hostage. The ‘due date’ is rapidly approaching.
It’s exactly the kind of fight the Lennarts can’t resist, not for the prize the town offers, but for the people who will surely die if they ignore it. If they succeed, they’ll be rescuing an entire community and can build a strong new base for their family and the Wilmington Pack. If they fail...well, fail is a four-letter word.
Nothing comes without a price. Now Kate must decide if she has what it takes to pay it.
LENGTH: 226 pages
Queer Rep Summary: No canon queer rep.
Kate and Curran's new and hopefully relaxing life in Wilmington is disrupted when one of the people Kate rescued in magic tides offers them a prize too great to turn down in exchange for rescuing a town trapped in a forest.
One of my favorite uses of world building is the way that the antagonist in the forest is specifically relevant to Kate's magic and to Curran's history in a way that makes sense and isn't contrived. Because so much of the original series focused on Kate and her family in dealing with her father, it would be weird for all of that to vanish (especially when her father is still trying to be a force in Conlan's life). Instead, Kate is figuring out what her family can look like, acknowledging their history but not reacting based on worries about whether her father would approve of what she decides. Before, she had a bit of a knee jerk reaction where if it was what her father wanted she was determined to do the opposite. Now, she knows what she wants and what she cares about separate from him. It definitely doesn't hurt that he's locked in a separate dimension, which greatly limits his influence and effectiveness.
As a sequel to MAGIC TIDES, MAGIC CLAIMS picks up not too long afterwards, when Kate, Curran, and their son, Conlan, are settling into the new rhythm of their lives away from the Keep, the Pack, and Kate's frequently murderous family. The specific storyline related to the town in the forest is new. While it is jump-started by a small connection to the previous book, as soon as it gets going it introduces and resolves a new storyline with a town to rescue. This is definitely not the last book in this series, and there are several very clear indications of what might happen in the future. They're trying to prepare for what will happen when the fractures in the Atlanta pack hit a breaking point. Curran is older and wiser, able to imagine something much more nuanced than get all the shape shifters here and protect each other. At least partly due to his relationship with Kate and their adoption of Julie in the original series, he has more nuanced and less xenophobic ideas about family, belonging, and protection than he did when he built the Pack as a teenager, finally ready to create a place where many kinds of people, not only shapeshifters, can live and thrive.
I like getting to see from Curran's perspective how much he cares about as a Kate as a person. He's finally in a place where he can be devoted to her well-being and happiness without trying to protect her in a way that would make her feel stifled.
The storyline could mostly make sense if someone started here without reading any of the previous books, but it would be much better to at least go back to MAGIC TIDES. Overall, the series does a good job of explaining what matters from the original Kate Daniels books and various spinoff stories, but because there's so much background, trying to start with this second book would likely be a bit much.
This is a great continuation of an excellent series, I'm ready for more in this world as soon as they become available.
Graphic/Explicit CW for sexual content, blood, gore, violence, injury detail.
Moderate CW for extortion, kidnapping, medical content, animal cruelty, murder, death.
Minor CW for ableist language, cancer, terminal illness, medical trauma, parental death.