2009, Ace Books
Drafted into working for the Order of Merciful Aid, mercenary Kate Daniels has more paranormal problems than she knows what to do with these days. And in Atlanta, where magic comes and goes like the tide, that’s saying a lot.
But when Kate’s werewolf friend Derek is discovered nearly dead, she must confront her greatest challenge yet. As her investigation leads her to the Midnight Games – an invitation only, no holds barred, ultimate preternatural fighting tournament – she and Curran, the Lord of the Beasts, uncover a dark plot that may forever alter the face of Atlanta’s shapeshifting community…
What really worked for me in this installment as a reader, was the amount I cared for all the characters Kate meets. I knew from previous books their different relationships with Kate, which meant that when the plot twists and action occurred I had to hold my breath quite a lot. I really wouldn't want to get Curran in a bad mood - power infuses his soul. Kate antagonises him a lot, as per usual, but then she's unsure how much she appreciates being eyed up as his future mate. He dares to steal a piece of pie from her!
Kate makes tough decisions when a few of Curran's pack turn rogue. They aren't enemies of Kate - what they are doing is totally foolish but she agrees to help them as best she can. It means she risks losing more than tasty food from Curran. This was possibly my favourite of Kate's adventures so far. I cheered when Julie appeared on the scene - she has a few problems in this book, and the way Kate rides in to save her had me beaming at the book. Julie isn't defenseless, and I look forward to seeing her character - and relation with Kate - develop.
Additionally, Ilona put up two short snippets from Curran's POV relating to Magic Strikes. It details exactly how he got Julie to release him from a temporary holding cage sooner than Kate wanted him let out. Snippet 1 and Snippet 2. Considering that I really wanted to know what passed between him and Julie yesterday, this was a fantastic find.