Kate Daniel works for the Mercenary Guild. They take on freelance jobs to purge demons from the backyards of those who are willing to pay the bounty. As magic begins to take over the world once again and comes in waves to destroy all machine run technology, each new phase of magic run world leaves behind monsters that refuse to go away peacefully. Thus the need for the Guild and fortunately, for Kate's talents, because she still needs to pay her bills. The Atlanta of Kate's time is a society struggling, thriving, falling, building amongst magic made ruins of great structures and buildings. The hours of magic waves render every advanced technology in the city useless and only the resourcefulness of the humans keep the city from falling on its knees.
Mules and horses have replaced cars. The few vehicles that still run are either equipped with a magic engine that runs on water or get stranded when the tech wave fails.
Kate's special friend is the sword she carries on her back, Slayer, and she knows very well how to use it. She is also surprisingly well educated about all forms of magic and owns power words that would kill most people to acquire. Despite her potential she keeps a low profile, because there are demons in her past that wont be vanquished as easily as the monsters she cuts down.
When her god father gets killed, she is pulled into the spotlight despite her reluctance. A Knight-Diviner with the Order of Knights of Merciful Aid, Greg Feldman was the only family Kate had left in the world. The mysterious way he died and her own guilt because of the strain in their relationship that had existed for the last few years, makes Kate determined to find out his killer and serve them her own brand of justice.
The Order reluctantly allows her in to investigate and new doors open for her through their power that had always slammed on her face before.
Two powerful forces, other than the Order, exist in Atlanta- The Pack and the People. The Pack is the name for all were-animals who are under the rule of the Beast Lord. It is a hierarchical body that includes were-tigers, were-jackals, were-hyenas, were-rats and many, many more. The Beast Lord, Curran, is above them all, which as Kate says means that he has proven that he is the strongest of every one of the fifteen hundred super-human weres that he governs.
The People are masters of the dead who pilot the corpses of humans who volunteer to be turned into gruesome mindless zombies, called vampires, who if left to their own devices would kill and drink the blood of every human in sight. The People are ruled by Nataraja, an obnoxious, pompous man who suspects that Kate is more than just a mercenary for hire and keeps trying to provoke a show of power from her. His right arm is Ghastek, a man whose obsession with vampires disgusts Kate and yet who often turns out to be helpful to her.
At the scene of the crime, where Greg Feldman was found, was also a beheaded unclaimed vampire, four hairs of an unknown species and traces of magic that registered a strange yellow colour on the magic-scan (m-scan). This implicates the Pack somewhat and Kate has to run down one improbable scenario after another, as the Pack turns and accuses the People of killing their members.
During Kate's investigation she meets a doctor called Crest, who is refreshingly ordinary and bewilderingly attracted to her despite knowing about her profession. Kate tries to see where it could go, all the while regretting that the timing couldn't be worse.
Things start going down fast when she finally meets the Beast Lord and gets off on the wrong foot. Later, quite unknowingly, she ends up challenging his authority in front of almost three hundred members of his Pack, while defending herself. When she eventually has a hunch about the killer, Curran descends upon the suspect only to find that he was completely innocent.
In the process, Kate's relationship with Crest is ruined.
The villain comes as something of a surprise to the reader, which is a fantastic thing in any novel, but the best parts of Magic Bites all include the great characters the author (or rather, authors) has sketched, the funny dialogues and mental commentaries of Kate, and of course, the very interesting fantasy world of the future, where Tech and Magic fights daily and the mortals try to survive.
Ilona Andrews is the pseudonym adopted by a literary couple, who have together penned several other fantastic books.