Thursday, August 23, 2012

Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews, narrated by Renee Raudman

Why I read listened to it: Love this series, love Andrea and Raphael.  Got it as soon as I could.

What it's about: (from Goodreads)  Some people have everything figured out—Andrea Nash is not one of those people. After being kicked out of the Order of the Knights of Merciful Aid, Andrea’s whole existence is in shambles. All she can do is to try to put herself back together, something made easier by working for Cutting Edge, a small investigative firm owned by her best friend Kate Daniels.

When several shapeshifters working for Raphael Medrano—the male alpha of the Clan Bouda and Andrea’s former lover—die unexpectedly at a dig site, Andrea is assigned to investigate…and must work with Raphael. As Andrea’s search for the killer leads her into the secret underbelly of supernatural Atlanta, she knows that dealing with her feelings for Raphael might have to take a back seat to saving the world…

What worked for me (and what didn't):  This is Andrea's book and Kate doesn't feature all that much (and neither does Curran *cries*) - they were busy doing other save-the-world-type things I gather - perhaps we will find out more in Kate 6.  Because it was so strongly Andrea's story, it felt very appropriate for Kate to be more in the background - she has a way of taking centre stage when they're on scene together.    
At the start of the book, Andrea is estranged from Raphael, has been kicked out of the Order of Merciful Aid and hasn't taken up a place in the Pack (despite clear intention from Aunt B and even Curran that it is becoming urgent).  When Jim tasks Andrea with investigating the murder of 4 shapeshifters on behalf of the Pack, she is both excited (this is what she does) and dismayed - the shapeshifters worked for Raphael's salvage company and it means she's going to have to spend time with her ex.  It doesn't help that very early on Raphael brings a blonde bimbo with him when he's giving information to Andrea - and she announces that Raphael is "engaged to be engaged" to her (Rebecca). (This is a Very. Bad. Move.)

Pushed to her absolute limit, Andrea embraces the beastkin side of herself and finds new attitude - demonstrated in various ways including her newfound ability to rock a little black dress and scarlet lipstick.    Raphael of course is still deeply in love with Andrea (as is she with him) but they are both hurt and in need of an apology from the other and some mutual understanding.  Eventually they do talk and finally (finally!) Raphael understands why Andrea made the choices she did before and during the battle with Erra.  While he does not like it (which is fair enough) he gets it and is then able to let it go.    Andrea also understands things from Raphael's point of view - it was very much that they both had things to explain and understand about each other - no one character was all wrong or all right - which is, you know, realistic.  

When Raphael gets his inner Marvin Gaye on however, break out the fans because it gets pretty steamy. :P

Of course, it's not only a romance (there is a very strong romantic thread but it is a story about saving the world first I think).  Andrea and Raphael, assisted by Roman (the Volv), Ascanio (he's hilarious, I adore him) and other Pack members must battle an Egyptian god who's trying to resurrect himself.  I won't give more of that part of the plot away - it's too much fun to discover as you read (or listen to, as the case may be) the book.

Andrea also finds herself - she finally accepts the shapeshifter part of herself and finds her place of belonging - and it's not just with Raphael.

I did find the ending a little abrupt and perhaps a little convenient, but I forgave both because I'm all about the happy ending.   I spent a lot of time laughing and grinning like a loon at the snarky banter between Raphael/Andrea, Raphael/Roman, Ascanio/Andrea, Kate/Andrea etc.   This is a rich world with fully fleshed out characters and it doesn't just rely on Kate and Curran.  Who knew? :D

The narration:   As far as the narration was concerned, Renee Raudman was her usual excellent self.  There were some times when she continued with one character voice instead of changing to the correct one which made a couple of conversations difficult to follow - I would have been fine in print but on audio one relies upon character voices and/or dialogue tags - when there are none of the latter and the wrong character voice is used, it does cause some confusion.  Fortunately, this didn't happen too often.

I think Ms. Raudman's voice for Raphael has changed a little but it did sound different to her "Curran" voice which I appreciated.  There were only very subtle differences between the Kate voice and the Andrea voice - and I think Andrea's beastkin voice was a little different (and very much like Aunt B's) but these are small niggles in an otherwise very enjoyable listen.

What else?  Curran is still my favourite in the Kate Daniels world but Raphael definitely holds a special place for me and he got extra bonus points for his treatment of Michelle late in the book.

If there are going to be more books in the Kate Daniels world (and I hope there will be), may I request stories for Roman (who knew he was so sexy? And funny?)  and (when he grows up a little more) Ascanio?  Pretty please?

Grade:  B+


Mandi said...

Yes I want books for ALL her supporting characters...LOL

I loved this book. Their story telling is just fab.

Kaetrin said...

Do you think Derek kind of looks like Mickey Roarke now? (ie, post boxing career?) :)