Alright, alright. I am now fully entrenched in the "I Love the Kate Daniels Series" camp. [b:Magic Bites|38619|Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, #1)|Ilona Andrews|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1331612872s/38619.jpg|38381] was ok, Magic Burns was better, and Magic Strikes had me grinning from ear to ear at the last page. I'm desperate now to read the next one to see what happens with Kate and Curran. The tension they've built up is absolutely delicious. THIS is how you create a relationship in a series. I hate authors that think throwing the two characters into bed with each other right away is either realistic, plausible, or sexy. Most of the time it makes me roll my eyes. I think the first Mona Lisa book by [a:Sunny|11859|Sunny|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1237065699p2/11859.jpg] had the two main characters jump each others bones within the first 10 pages. Ridiculous and unsatisfying, and it made me think less of her characters and the author for creating it. (I only mention Sunny because I just finished a book by her, trying to giver her a second chance. My advice: don't bother.)Anyway, getting back to Magic Strikes.At the start, Kate is extremely tired and overworked. After one too many jobs she gets a call that a shapeshifter has been murdered. She goes to investigate, already exhausted and craving her bed and some pie she left in the fridge, and finds a bunch of shapeshifters at the scene combing for evidence. Before she can even get close though, a shifter walks up to her and tells her they have it under control. And then Jim, Curran's chief of security as well as her friend and fellow mercenary, drops from the shadows and tells her to leave. He won't let her see the body and he doesn't want her help or interference. She leaves, although the situation nags at her. And rightly so, since the creatures that killed the shifter come after her and her friends, and threaten the shifter community like none have done before.I loved the back stories we were treated to in this one. Finally we learn more about Jim, Derek, Curran, Roland, and Kate and I'm hungry to learn more. The characters are getting fleshed out and the story is getting more complex without being overwhelming. Andrews sticks to a select few of Kate's friends and acquaintances and really develops them and all I want to do is read more and more. This was the type of book where you're almost at the end and you're hoping 20 more pages will magically appear because you don't want it to stop. Kate has more than just grown on me at this point too; I've got a full blown girl-crush on her now. She's strong, funny, caring, snarky, and just a complete badass. I can't wait to read more of her adventures.I also like Curran more now since he's slowly progressed from the snarling caveman (cavelion?) from the first book. He's still decidedly alpha and scary, but not to the point where I'm afraid for Kate to be around him. He loves her and cares for her and he's sexy as hell. I honestly couldn't stop smiling after I read the last page and even after I closed the book I had a stupid grin on my face. This was a fantastic book and May can't come soon enough. Ilona Andrews's books have moved on to my list of automatic buys and if you liked this one as much as I did, check out On the Edge, which was written after. It's a completely different series but the quality of Magic Strikes is also apparent in On the Edge as well.Check out my reviews of books two and four in this series: Magic Burns and Magic Bleeds.