Title: Small Magics
Author: Ilona Andrews
First published September 17, 2015
159 pages, Kindle Edition
Get ready to be mesmerized by Ilona Andrews’ Small Magics, a captivating anthology of five previously published stories that are now collected for the first time. Join Kate Daniels as she undertakes the task of protecting the shifty Saiman from dangerous Russian wizards.
Follow the journey of Adam, a frost giant, and his enigmatic partner, Siroun, as they set out to accomplish the impossible mission of enforcing a client’s Retribution Clause. Brace yourself for a young adult story that combines magic, a pig, and the worst date ever.
Discover the magical abilities of Grace’s family and the challenges she faces in the midst of a mage clan war. Lastly, let Kate recruit her teenage ward, Julie, to search for a missing student whose location spell has her hidden somewhere on campus.
These stories are full of magic, mayhem, and personal chemistry that will leave you wanting more.
About the Author
Meet Ilona Andrews, the pen name for a dynamic duo of writers. Ilona hails from Russia, while Gordon served as a communications sergeant in the U.S. Army.
Despite what you may have heard, Gordon never worked as an intelligence officer with a license to kill, and Ilona wasn’t a Russian spy who seduced him. In reality, they first crossed paths in college during an English Composition 101 class.
Ilona’s writing skills earned her a higher grade, much to Gordon’s chagrin.
Now, the couple calls Oregon home, where they live with their two children, three dogs, and a cat. Together, Ilona and Gordon have co-authored two popular series: the bestselling urban fantasy series featuring Kate Daniels, and the romantic urban fantasy series known as The Edge.
Ilona Andrews’ Small Magics is a collection of short stories set in a world where magic is commonplace, and the supernatural exists alongside the mundane. Andrews, a pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing team, is known for their popular urban fantasy series, including the Kate Daniels and Hidden Legacy novels.
Small Magics showcases their signature blend of action, romance, and humor, while also exploring deeper themes of identity, family, and power.
The stories in Small Magics are set in various locations and time periods, from medieval Europe to modern-day Atlanta. Some feature familiar characters from Andrews’ other series, while others introduce new protagonists and settings.
What unites them is the focus on small-scale magic, as opposed to the epic battles and world-ending threats that often dominate urban fantasy. These stories are more intimate and character-driven, allowing for nuanced explorations of the magic system and the societal implications of supernatural abilities.
One standout story is “A Mere Formality,” which follows the misadventures of a young woman named Helen who accidentally summons a demon while trying to impress her snobbish in-laws. The demon, named Saiman, is a fan-favorite character from Andrews’ Kate Daniels series, and his cameo here is a delight for fans.
The interactions between Helen and Saiman are witty and entertaining, but the story also touches on themes of classism and the pressure to conform to societal expectations.
Another standout is “Small Magics,” which tells the story of a young woman named Julie who discovers she has magical abilities after her mother dies. Julie is a recurring character in the Kate Daniels series, but this story stands on its own as a poignant exploration of grief and self-discovery.
Andrews’ prose is at its best here, capturing the raw emotions of a teenager grappling with loss and newfound power.
While Small Magics is overall a strong collection, there are a few weaker stories that feel underdeveloped or repetitive. “Grace of Small Magics” and “The Case of the Half-Demon Spy” both feature similar plotlines of supernatural detectives solving mysteries, but with less memorable characters and worldbuilding than Andrews’ other series.
Additionally, some of the stories rely too heavily on familiarity with the Kate Daniels universe, which may alienate new readers.
Despite these flaws, Small Magics is a worthwhile read for fans of urban fantasy and Ilona Andrews’ previous work. The stories are well-crafted and engaging, with enough variety in setting and tone to keep things fresh.
The themes explored are relevant and thought-provoking, and the characters are memorable and relatable. Overall, Small Magics earns a rating of 4 out of 5 stars for its strong writing, imaginative worldbuilding, and emotional resonance.