Magic Mourns

mournsTitle: Magic Mourns: A Companion Novella to Magic Strikes
Publisher: Penguin
Author: Ilona Andrews
Pages: 100 pp
Price: $2.99

Andrea Nash is a Knight. In post-apocalyptic magical Atlanta, the Order of Knights of Merciful Aid are all that stand between innocent bystanders and nasty, nasty things which will eat your heart and suck out your soul — among other horrible things. When a tip comes in that a gigantic three-headed dog has been seen on the outskirts of the city, Andrea drives out to investigate. She finds not only a very pissed off Cerberus (yes, that Cerberus), but a rogue necromancer, a host of rabid vampires, an earth-bound ghost, and a love-struck hyena shifter. Cerberus she can handle … the hyena Raul is another matter all together ….

I reluctantly admit that I have not read any of the Kate Daniels novels. I have, however, read several of the short companion stories. I love the fact that Andrews pays such close attention to mythology, and treats it with such respect. Magic Mourns is no different. In this case, the earth-bound ghost is that of a priest of Hades; hence, Cerberus’ appearance on the mortal plane, sent by his master to retrieve the soul of the God’s devotee.

Andrea is a great character: tough, but deeply wounded, who courageously offers her heart to Raul despite the pain she has known most of her life. Raul is just as awesome: a trickster with a serious side, fiercely loyal to those he loves — and quite happy to stand back and allow a strong woman like Andrea to take the lead. (He is a hyena, after all; their culture is matriarchal.) Even better is how seamlessly Hades and Persephone and Cerberus, and the golden apples of the Hesperides with their guardian dragon, are woven into the tale; it just works; other fantasy authors could take lessons from Andrews on how to respectfully incorporate such source material.

As I said, I have not read any of the Kate Daniels novels; nonetheless, I had no problem following what was happening in Magic Mourns. Recommended to anyone looking for an urban fantasy with a Hellenic theme, as well as fans of CS MacCath, Annie Bellet, and Lindsey Buroker.

Note: Magic Mourns may be purchased separately, or as part of the Must Love Hellhounds anthology.

[Rebecca Buchanan is the editor of Eternal Haunted Summer.]