Charlie Jane Anders has written several science fiction and fantasy short stories plus a Lamda Literary Award-winning novel (The Choir Boy), but All the Birds in the Sky is her first speculative fiction novel. It’s a quirky, thoroughly absorbing story, and although I thought the first part was stronger than the second, I found it quite readable throughout—in fact, when I looked through it again to prepare for writing this review, I found myself rereading much of it because it drew me in all over again!

All the Birds in the Sky follows two main characters whose lives collide at a young age: a witch named Patricia and a technological genius named Laurence. It’s the story of how their lives intertwine beginning with their childhoods and resuming after the two meet again as adults.

Patricia discovered she had the ability to communicate with animals when she was only six years old. She sought to protect a sparrow with a broken wing, and after finding he could understand Patricia, the sparrow informed her this meant she was a witch. The bird instructed her to take him to the Parliament of Birds, but this congregation was concerned that the sparrow broke the rules by leading an ordinary human to them—and decided it was necessary to prove she was indeed a witch by making her answer the Endless Question: “Is a tree red?” Flummoxed by the riddle, Patricia barely had time to consider it before she was found and harshly punished by her parents, and it’s not until she’s older that she rediscovers how to speak with animals and learns about her witchcraft.

Laurence has always been gifted with technology, and even some rocket scientists found it impressive that he was able to make a two-second time machine at a young age. To his great chagrin, his parents were not so thrilled with his proclivity for computers and forced him to do activities involving nature, concerned that he was spending too much time indoors staring at screens. After he and Patricia literally ran into each other at school, Laurence learned that she loved these types of activities and convinced her to make up stories about all the amazing experiences they had in the great outdoors after they had actually been hanging out at the mall. Both social outcasts without anyone else to talk to, Patricia and Laurence became good friends until they were split apart by the plotting of their new school counselor: an assassin who foresaw that these two children would grow up to play central roles in a terrible battle between nature and technology.

All the Birds in the Sky is a unique book that covers a lot of ground, making it quite difficult to summarize. It’s largely about two people—one gifted at magic and the other gifted at science—and the impact they have on each other and the world, but it’s also about relationships: the longing for connection and the struggles to achieve it. There’s some ethical and philosophical discussion and problems caused by climate change. Plus, there are witches, scientists, conversations with animals, an AI, and an assassin. This may sound like a lot, and it is absolutely scattered and hard to describe, but it works. Although I did have some issues with it, All the Birds in the Sky is an extraordinarily readable, compelling, memorable story.

The earlier part focusing on Patricia and Laurence’s childhoods is more cohesive than the later part, and it balances between lighthearted and difficult situations. There are some fun moments, such as Patricia’s encounter with the bird who realizes she’s a witch, and there is a good dose of narrative humor, but their classmates are cruel and both are misunderstood by their parents. In particular, Patricia’s family is terrible: her parents lock in her room for extended periods of time as punishment and her sister deliberately tries to get her into trouble. Laurence also has a lot of problems that make him a sympathetic character, but he’s not as loyal to Patricia as she is to him so I found her easier to like during their childhood years, especially since she is compassionate through and through.

After the two are reunited as adults, there is still a focus on their relationship but it’s also about how they’ve integrated into their respective groups: Patricia with the witches and Laurence with the scientists. Of course, the beginning foretold of a battle between these two and the science/technology vs. nature/magic trope is not one I particularly like since it can be simplistic and too black and white. However, I think that summarizing it as a book about science vs. nature would be overlooking the point when there were so many examples of people discovering those they thought of as opposites were in fact stronger together. I actually quite liked what Charlie Jane Anders did with this trope in the end.

Although I thought the outcome was fantastic, my main issue with All the Birds in the Sky was the conclusion. The novel is wrapped up quite hastily, and I also felt like it didn’t provide satisfactory explanations for the recurrence of the question “Is a tree red?” throughout the story. As I mentioned earlier, the second part of the novel doesn’t come together quite as well, and I think this is largely because it feels like there are some gaps after spending so much time on their childhood and then skipping over their time actually becoming a witch and a scientist. Enough information on the past is provided that it didn’t bother me as much as the rushed ending, though.

Despite these quibbles, I found All the Birds in the Sky to be an utterly charming book with a delightful narrative voice and blending of fantasy and science fiction, and I especially appreciated how it handled a common trope that often irritates me. I’ll be very surprised if it isn’t still one of my favorite 2016 releases by the end of the year!

My Rating: 8/10

Where I got my reading copy: Finished copy from the publisher.

Read an Excerpt

The Leaning Pile of Books is a feature where I talk about books I got over the last week–old or new, bought or received for review consideration (usually unsolicited). Since I hope you will find new books you’re interested in reading in these posts, I try to be as informative as possible. If I can find them, links to excerpts, author’s websites, and places where you can find more information on the book are included.

It’s been a very, very busy few days since I spent last weekend and the end of the week before moving and there is still a lot of unpacking to be done (despite getting a lot unpacked already)! Due to that, this covers a couple of weeks, but first here are the new posts that went up after the last one of these:

Now, the latest books in the mail!

A Night Without Stars by Peter F. Hamilton

A Night Without Stars (Commonwealth: Chronicle of the Fallers #2) by Peter F. Hamilton

This sequel to The Abyss Beyond Dreams will be released on September 27 (hardcover, ebook, audiobook). This new series is set in the Commonwealth universe, and the publisher’s website has excerpts from both books (excerpt links are below the cover images):

  1. The Abyss Beyond Dreams
  2. A Night Without Stars

The planet of Bienvenido is on its own, isolated from the rest of the universe. And it’s waging war against the ruthless Fallers, aliens which have evolved to conquer whole worlds. Kysandra is leading an underground resistance, aided by biological enhancements that give her a crucial edge. But she fears she’s fighting a losing battle. This is especially as the government hampers her efforts at every turn, blinded by crippling technophobia and prejudices against enhanced ‘Eliter’ humans. However, if the resistance and government can’t work together, humanity on this planet will face extinction – for the Fallers are organizing a final, decisive invasion. Bienvenido badly needs outside help. But the Commonwealth, with all its technological expertise, has been lost to them for generations. Desperate times will call for desperate measures, or humanity on Bienvenido will not survive.

Additional Books:

Once again, I wanted to get some books that weren’t published in the last couple of years into the mix so September’s Patreon poll theme was simply books by authors I’ve been meaning to read for awhile. The choices were as follows:

The September book is…

Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton

Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton

A tale of contention over love and money—among dragons

Jo Walton burst onto the fantasy scene with The King’s Peace, acclaimed by writers as diverse as Poul Anderson, Robin Hobb, and Ken MacLeod. In 2002, she was voted the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.

Now Walton returns with Tooth and Claw, a very different kind of fantasy story: the tale of a family dealing with the death of their father, of a son who goes to law for his inheritance, a son who agonizes over his father’s deathbed confession, a daughter who falls in love, a daughter who becomes involved in the abolition movement, and a daughter sacrificing herself for her husband.

Except that everyone in the story is a dragon, red in tooth and claw.

Here is a world of politics and train stations, of churchmen and family retainers, of courtship and country houses…in which, on the death of an elder, family members gather to eat the body of the deceased. In which society’s high-and-mighty members avail themselves of the privilege of killing and eating the weaker children, which they do with ceremony and relish, growing stronger thereby.

You have never read a novel like Tooth and Claw.

I’ve heard this is wonderful and am quite looking forward to it!

Andre Norton’s Forerunner, first published in 1981, is not her first book set in this universe, but it is the first of two books following the character Simsa. Although Forerunner was re-released a few years ago, Forerunner: The Second Venture was not, but both of Simsa’s stories can be found together in the omnibus The Forerunner Factor.

The old city Kuxortal contained a variety of peoples, but Simsa never met another like herself. She does not know where she came from, and for as long as she can remember, she’s lived in the Burrows with Ferwar, an elderly woman who is not her kin. Those who live in the Burrows are the poorest in the city, making their homes out of the ruins of old buildings, and much of their earnings come from unearthing and selling the artifacts found there, particularly popular with visiting starmen. With her dark blue-black skin and light silver hair easily disguised with soot, Simsa is especially well suited to the task of blending into the night and finding relics for Ferwar.

On one of these searches for treasure, Simsa finds instead a zorsal with a broken wing. She almost instinctively soothes the injured creature and immediately feels connected to her in a way she has not experienced before, never having been especially close to anyone, even Ferwar. Though she suspects there is a substantial reward for the zorsal, Simsa takes her home and cares for the wing to the best of her ability. The zorsal, whom she names Zass, can communicate basic concepts such as “danger” and “hunger” and becomes Simsa’s constant companion during her nocturnal excursions.

Eventually Ferwar dies, and some of those in the Burrows see this as an opportunity to assume ownership of a better home—or even Simsa herself. When one man tries to assert his claim, Simsa successfully defeats him due to her high dexterity and sharp claws, but after that and an attempt on her zorsal’s life, she decides she’d better take action, fearing for them both.


Simsa had no gods, and trusted in no one—save herself, and Zass—and perhaps somewhat Zass’s two offspring, who at least would answer her calls. But in herself first and most. If she were ever to achieve any rise above the Burrows, out of this constant state of having to be on guard, it would not be by the wave of any god’s hand, it would be by her own determined efforts.
—pp. 23

So Simsa sorts the artifacts Ferwar collected throughout the years and gathers those she plans to trade. Her timing is fortunate—a star ship lands and one of the starmen is quite obviously interested in purchasing some of her more valuable items. This man, Thom, is also interested in her expertise on these as he’s seeking his brother, who disappeared after coming to Kuxortal in pursuit of knowledge of these artifacts. Simsa is not certain if she can trust Thom despite Zass’ apparent approval, but when he’s in danger she chooses to aid him, leading to a difficult journey and the discovery of mysteries both ancient and recent—some of which may even be related to Simsa herself.

Forerunner is an enjoyable story of adventure and discovery. I didn’t always find it a smooth read since the prose didn’t always flow well and I found myself rereading sections because of that, but I also tended to appreciate this style more after a second read. (Admittedly, this need to reread may have been at least in part due to Moving Brain—I have found it rather difficult to concentrate of late due to the upcoming move.) It’s more focused on the tale than depth of characterization, but I did find Simsa a compelling character and am glad that there is another story about her.

One fantasy and science fiction trope I love is the intelligent animal companion, and it’s no surprise that this is my favorite feature of Forerunner, nor that the account of Simsa finding Zass in the first chapter immediately captured my attention. Simsa felt alone in the world and saw this reflected in this lone hurt creature, and in saving the injured zorsal she gained a lifelong friend. She learns the zorsal is surprisingly clever, able to evaluate whether or not someone else is trustworthy and smart enough to detect poisoned meat. Though Zass can not communicate in words, Simsa is able to understand her to an extent and Zass seems to respond to Simsa’s emotional state. The two forge a deep bond, and while Simsa has trained Zass to help look out for her, she looks out for the zorsal in turn, even sacrificing some of her own scant water supply for the zorsal when traveling through the desert.

Simsa trusts Zass more than any person, which isn’t hard to fathom considering the difficulty of life in the Burrows: after all, she has to be ever vigilant against those who would steal her home or even Simsa herself. When she decides to aid Thom, the spaceman who purchases some of her merchandise, and ends up leaving Kuxortal with him, she struggles with this and expects him to betray or abandon her at every turn (even though Zass has judged him not to be a threat—Simsa wonders if his being from another planet may affect this assessment). At one point, she even tells Thom he trusts too easily and shouldn’t even trust her, and it’s interesting to read about the two of them together.

Best of all, this relationship defied my expectations. Often when man and a woman are thrown together like this, Meaningful Glances, Smoldering Looks, Deep Angst, and perhaps a dose of Hilarious Misunderstandings ensue. While this can be fun, I found it a refreshing change of pace to read a story in which this did not happen. Simsa doesn’t spend time wondering what Thom thinks of her, and she doesn’t hesitate to speak her mind unless she feels like it’s unwise to share certain information. Although the novel is ultimately focused on Simsa, the relationship is focused on two people who each use their skills and knowledge to save the other while uncovering mysteries of the past. (I was going to add that they did this while learning to trust and respect each other, but that wouldn’t quite be accurate since Thom seemed to trust and respect Simsa from the start, and meeting him was the first time Simsa had felt like someone was treating her as an equal.)

Despite its short length, I didn’t find Forerunner a quick read, but I did find it entertaining and quite liked reading about Simsa (and Zass!). The ending is rather abrupt and it doesn’t supply many answers, but that didn’t bother me too much since Simsa’s last thought fit well with the struggles she faces throughout the course of the novel—plus it’s not like this is the end of Simsa’s story since it does continue in Forerunner: The Second Venture!

My Rating: 7/10

Where I got my reading copy: I purchased it.

This book is August’s selection from a poll on Patreon.

Today I’m delighted to welcome Leanna Renee Hieber! Her debut novel, the enjoyable Prism-Award-winning The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, was recently reissued as Strangely Beautiful, a single volume containing revised editions of the first two novels in this saga. She is also the author of the Magic Most Foul trilogy beginning with Darker Still, and the second book in her Eterna Files series, Eterna and Omega, was just released earlier this month.

The Eterna Files by Leanna Renee Hieber Eterna and Omega by Leanna Renee Hieber

Penny Dreadful’s Betrayal and the Complexity of Feminism in the Gothic Tradition

Hello friends, this is the topic for a graduate thesis, not a blog post, so strap in.

Anyone who has seen my presentations at workshops and conventions across the country knows how passionate I am about Gothic fiction. As the author of ten Gothic, Gaslamp Fantasy novels, now with Tor, beginning with The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker back in 2009 to its recent revised reissue as Strangely Beautiful and my current Eterna Files series, I’ve made a career of writing characters that could have been mere victims or plot devices in a traditional Gothic plot and instead I let them live full lives of agency and developed, meaningful choices. My focus study in college was the Victorian era, so I do come at this from both an academic and professional level.

When a modern Gothic show, such as Penny Dreadful, while set in the Victorian Era, shuns some Victorian conventions but in effect reinforces some of the same, and the most harmful old stereotypes and violences against women who had proven so strong and capable from the start, this is not only a betrayal of the character, but a harmful replay of the Victorian paradox of women being unable to win due to constant double-standards, and being not even considered fully human; vessels for punishment and sacrifice.

The 19th century was a time of unprecedented change in terms of the Industrial Revolution, the shift from rural to urban populations, the creation of the middle class, rampant global colonialism and in the US, relocation and genocide of the native population. It was also a time of great innovation and the birth of many human and animal rights causes. But full rights were a long way off for most women and the vote wouldn’t come until 20 years into the next century. Laws about a woman’s ability to own property or keep what had belonged to her family or husband, as well as domestic abuse laws, didn’t begin until the mid-1800s, women being the property of fathers or husbands.

The 19th century dangerously misunderstood women’s holistic health and sexuality. Through a variety of male-dominated pseudo-sciences, women were found not to be sexual beings and those who did express desire often found themselves harshly corrected if not sent to an asylum. Binary gender roles were violently strict for men and women, and both found themselves victims of the paradox of not being “enough” either way, too limited to be able to express full emotional, physical and psychological humanity.

The tradition of Gothic fiction focuses on extremes. Rooted in psychological perspective, dread and tension, rather than an all-out descent into horror, the Gothic hangs you on a precipice. It leaves a lot to imagination, indulges in wild, often paranormal scenarios, lush if not purple prose, sometimes boasting unreliable narrators and questionable perspectives. The Gothic has always been titillating, as themes of possession, psychosis, physical drives, conditions and general sexuality were things Victorians didn’t dare talk about on the surface. The Gothic tells repressed truths in exaggerated metaphors.

A reader must approach the Gothic with both the willingness to sit back and enjoy the ride, giving over to the razor-thin, perilous edge between beauty and terror, but also be willing to understand the societal pressures, paralysis, obsessions, fetishes, prisons and contradictions from whence the stories come.

The Gothic tends to have a revival in times of great change and/or societal fear. In this day and age where the discourse of politics has devolved into orange tantrums and unprecedented, unfiltered antagonism, it is no wonder that there’s been an upsurge in the Gothic, as artists are tapping into the world’s fear of “the other,” just like Stoker’s subliminal themes in Dracula.

Many female writers, following a trail emblazoned by writers like Ann Radcliffe, Mary Shelley and the Brontë sisters to name just a few, were writing Gothic novels, ghost stories and “Sensational” novels like Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s Lady Audley’s Secret and Gothic styled ghost stories through the century, all of which either overtly or subtly talk of the limited options for women at the time. In a stifling, limiting, often tragic era, writers examined the double standards of the ‘angel versus whore’ dilemma, and the various prisons of half the population, across all classes. For a number of Gothic tales, It Does Not End Well, and the sacrifices for women are enormous, if not deadly.

In our modern day and age, we can subvert this trope and move it forward as laws, societal mores and science has broadened our view of the world to allow for more understanding, choice, freedom and equality, though the fight continues to be fought across many social fronts, only with different vernacular and conditions.

The reason I’m here is Kristen noticed my impassioned Twitter rant about the Gothic, Victorian-set supernatural drama Penny Dreadful after having been a devoted fan of the series until the end. Let me be very clear that I’m only angry because I care. Deeply. I loved (almost all) of the characters in Penny Dreadful. It is the most mainstream embodiment of the genre I’ve spent my entire career in. I not only wanted it to be great, I needed it to be, as I knew I’d be called upon to discuss the series due to my expertise in similar-styled fiction. But if it had been me, I’d have made very different choices for the sake of the really wonderful characters the show had once championed.

By season three, we’ve heard or been shown a thousand times that “everyone is a monster,” but there’s still ways to be clever about “monstrosity” and not be doubly, hypocritically monstrous towards women. Female sexuality was monstrous to the Victorians and in Penny Dreadful it is also used as such. The dire, violent consequences of sex for the characters in Penny Dreadful were disproportionately heaped upon the female characters without a balancing force anywhere else in the series. I’m no prude and I’m not adverse to tragedy, but it has to be fair and balanced.

The only character with a seemingly healthy sense of her sexuality, the trans character Angelique, is murdered in season 2. Double trope foul there, reinforcing yet another violent narrative for queer characters. I kept waiting for a counterpoint to Angelique’s murder to offset that red-flag foul, and all we got at the end of season 2 was the murder of the one prominent person of color. Triple trope foul.

I know the point of Penny Dreadful is monstrous tragedy. I’ve no issue with that. The show’s title comes from 19th century sensationalist stories and ‘tabloid fiction,’ the dime-store novel if you will, called penny dreadfuls, and none of it ended well or happily.

Eva Green’s performance as the central character, Vanessa Ives, was breathtaking. Spectacular. She was the root by which I grounded myself in that wild world. There were some great and clever, bold things this show did for female and female identifying characters. Vanessa was her own woman for most of the show, and called her own shots, for better or for worse. But any ground gained was ruined by the finale.

Vanessa is to Penny Dreadful as Mina was to Stoker’s Dracula. Many of Penny Dreadful’s characters are taken and twisted around from Stoker’s classic 1897 novel. The show used many visual and storytelling parallels. To set Vanessa up as Mina-strong and then give her the Lucy treatment at the end, right down to the parallel of 3 sad white dudes staring down at her grave, was an uncharacteristic and poorly timed reversal of what had been set up from the beginning.

Far more independent, savvy, worldly and aware of darkness and danger than Stoker’s Mina, Vanessa had, until this peculiar end, not needed rescuing, claiming, or fighting over, and was no ordinary damsel in distress. The ending made her seem as though there was nothing but darkness left, all her capacity and fight vanished. I didn’t recognize the woman in the last episode of her own show. It isn’t the death I minded. It was the ‘mercy killing’ by a male hand to serve more character arcs of that same pain. I don’t mind earned tragedy, I understand tales of horror where ‘everyone dies.’ I am a fan of melancholy. Poe is my favorite, most beloved author. But deaths have to be earned for their own reasons and preferably not out of feminine weakness, please.

The finale was glaringly imbalanced. None of the other main characters died. She was the only sacrifice, when it was utterly improbable that all other characters would have lived through the battle. Frankenstein couldn’t even hold his gun. Frankenstein should have been dead a season ago.

This is tip-of-the-iceberg stuff and I have far more to say about the other characters and scenes, but I’ve got to get back to my own book deadlines. I try to offer my readers a rollicking Gothic supernatural saga and I try never to revisit the imbalanced tropes questioned here; instead I play broadly in this incredible genre where anything is possible and the paranormal can be an empowering force for all involved, and once empowered characters remain so. I don’t toy with agency. I wield it. That’s what feminism in the Gothic can be, allowing women their own choices by their own hand, their own agency to act for themselves, destroy themselves or get themselves out of situations. Not without help, none of us can go our whole lives alone, but there are ways to make sure the audience is aware that the character is making her own choices of her own mind and free will, not just a victim of circumstance or pawn of fate, her death interchangeable with her life.

For a perfect example of a film doing EVERYTHING right by what the genre is capable of, please watch Guillermo Del Toro’s Crimson Peak. Please take note how amazing Del Toro’s characters are and what he does with them. All of them are powerful and intriguing in their own right and all of them making choices with agency, for better or worse, acting not as one-dimensional victims or plot devices but as characters surpassing trope, all within a very trope-heavy environment. It’s full of tragedy and passion, beauty and terror and that dizzying whirl that makes the Gothic so delectable. It’s everything I’ve ever wanted for the genre. So it does exist.

Let’s celebrate the great representations and when something really misses the mark, let’s call it out as dreadful indeed.

Happy Haunting,

Leanna Renee Hieber

Leanna Renee Heiber
Photo Credit: C. Johnstone
LEANNA RENEE HIEBER’S first novel, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, is a foundation work of gaslamp fantasy and the winner of two Prism Awards. Hieber has been a finalist for the Daphne Du Maurier Award. Her travel schedule and other news can be found at

The Leaning Pile of Books is a feature where I talk about books I got over the last week–old or new, bought or received for review consideration (usually unsolicited). Since I hope you will find new books you’re interested in reading in these posts, I try to be as informative as possible. If I can find them, links to excerpts, author’s websites, and places where you can find more information on the book are included.

Both of this week’s books sound amazing, but first, here’s what happened last week in case you missed it!

Julie Czerneda stopped by as part of the Futures Past Tour celebrating the upcoming release of the second Reunification book, The Gate to Futures Past. She shared the story of her recent move while in the midst of book deadlines, and there’s also a giveaway—I’m giving away two sets of the first two Reunification books! You can also enter the tour-wide Rafflecopter giveaway for all eight Clan Chronicles books.

I’m actually going through preparing to move myself at the moment (the sorting of books is indeed HARD!) so I haven’t had much time for reading or writing reviews lately. However, there will be a guest post by Leanna Renee Hieber on Tuesday.

Now, this week’s books!

Everfair by Nisi Shawl

Everfair by Nisi Shawl

Everfair, award-winning author Nisi Shawl’s debut novel, will be released on September 6 (hardcover and ebook with the audiobook following in October). has an excerpt from Everfair.

There will be an Everfair tour throughout the month of September including events in Washington, Texas, Arizona, California, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Georgia. To see the dates, times, and locations, check out the News section on Nisi Shawl’s home page.

Nisi Shawl’s collection Filter House was one of the 2009 recipients of the Tiptree Award, and her short fiction has also been nominated for the World Fantasy Award, the Theodore Sturgeon Award, the Gaylactic Spectrum Award, and the Carl Brandon Society Parallax Award. Her story “Cruel Sistah” was selected for the Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror in 2005.


Everfair is a wonderful Neo-Victorian alternate history novel that explores the question of what might have come of Belgium’s disastrous colonization of the Congo if the native populations had learned about steam technology a bit earlier. Fabian Socialists from Great Britian join forces with African-American missionaries to purchase land from the Belgian Congo’s “owner,” King Leopold II. This land, named Everfair, is set aside as a safe haven, an imaginary Utopia for native populations of the Congo as well as escaped slaves returning from America and other places where African natives were being mistreated.

Shawl’s speculative masterpiece manages to turn one of the worst human rights disasters on record into a marvelous and exciting exploration of the possibilities inherent in a turn of history. Everfair is told from a multiplicity of voices: Africans, Europeans, East Asians, and African Americans in complex relationships with one another, in a compelling range of voices that have historically been silenced. Everfair is not only a beautiful book but an educational and inspiring one that will give the reader new insight into an often ignored period of history.

Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews

Magic Binds (Kate Daniels #9) by Ilona Andrews

The latest novel in the Kate Daniels series by New York Times bestselling author(s) Ilona Andrews will be released on September 20 (hardcover, ebook, audiobook).

This is one of my favorite ongoing series (books 3 and 4 are especially amazing!). The novels are as follows:

  1. Magic Bites
  2. Magic Burns
  3. Magic Strikes
  4. Magic Bleeds
  5. Magic Slays
  6. Magic Rises
  7. Magic Breaks
  8. Magic Shifts

Mercenary Kate Daniels knows all too well that magic in post-Shift Atlanta is a dangerous business. But nothing she’s faced could have prepared her for this…

Kate and the former Beast Lord Curran Lennart are finally making their relationship official. But there are some steep obstacles standing in the way of their walk to the altar…

Kate’s father, Roland, has kidnapped the demigod Saiman and is slowly bleeding him dry in his never-ending bid for power. A Witch Oracle has predicted that if Kate marries the man she loves, Atlanta will burn and she will lose him forever. And the only person Kate can ask for help is long dead.

The odds are impossible. The future is grim. But Kate Daniels has never been one to play by the rules…