Magic Tides by Ilona Andrews (Kate Daniels: Wilmington Years #1)

Kate, Curran and their son, Conlan have left Atlanta, vowing to keep a low profile, and are settling into a new city and new house…but some things never change! Magical mayhem is about to erupt when Kate undertakes the rescue of a kidnapped youth, while Curran guards the homefront.

It should be a simple retrieval, but with monsters on land and sea, Kate’s got her work cut out for her. Still, she's never let her blade dull or her purpose falter. And that low profile? It’s about to wash away with the raging tides! 

YEAR: 2023
LENGTH: 161 pages
AGE: Adult
GENRE: Fantasy

Queer Rep Summary: No canon queer rep.

I like this more mature version of Kate, I’m not quite sure how old she is here, but it’s been at least a decade since MAGIC BITES. She’s at least in her late thirties, possibly in her early forties, and she makes a few references to what she would’ve done before and how she’s changed. She’s consistent with the threads of that earlier self, but she’s older, wiser, and has a very different set of resources and connections than she had by the time the main series ended. I hope this can be a good starting point for new fans, and I’m excited to see where it goes.

The main plot deals with bringing a kidnapped child home. Kate tracks him down and deals with the people responsible. Implicitly, later books will deal with Kate and Curran continuing to set up their new home, as well as what Conlan is like as he grows up, but this doesn’t make any attempt at a cliffhanger because it’s more about the general path forward rather than trying to keep any particular storyline dangling open.

This is the first book in a new series of novellas within the broader world of the Kate Daniels books. One of the biggest changes as a long time reader of the series is that this is narrated by Kate, Curran, and briefly by Conlan rather than just Kate. There have been various other stories in spinoff series with different narrators, but it’s new to have Kate narrating alongside someone else. It would be very hard for me to really assess how much the summaries of the backstory would make sense to someone who had this is their starting point. I think it does a pretty good job of bringing up only as much is actually matters to this story, which is the only really fair thing to ask for a world developed already through so many stories. I particularly enjoyed getting Curran's perspective. I have read most of the Curran POV stories, but it was nice to get this in an intentional way rather than as an addendum. There's a particular moment between Curran and Conlan that helped me get a sense of who Curran is as a father to a son who's now old enough to understand what he's saying.

I excited for more of Kate and Curran, and I'll have to keep an eye on Conlan as this isn't the only new book where he appears. Splitting new books into a cluster of parallel/intertwining series is a very smart way to keep each specific series focused, not all needing to involve the very extensive cast of characters which had built up in the original series.

Graphic/Explicit CW for gore, blood, violence, murder, death.

Moderate CW for fire/fire injury, sexism, cursing, confinement, child abuse, kidnapping, trafficking, cannibalism, child death.

Minor CW for excrement, ableist language, terminal illness, pregnancy, slavery, parental death.

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