Magic Bites is the first book in an urban fantasy series in which magic has reasserted itself in the world, pushing technology to a place of little importance. A world in which man's industrial and technological achievements crumble uselessly, in which creatures that go bump in the night are just a matter of fact.Kate Daniels is a member of the Mercenary Guild, making a living fighting more unsavory magical creatures. She's practical, tough, smart-mouthed, and kicks some serious ass. Kate likes to fly below the radar, and hides her own magical powers to keep herself safe. When her guardian is murdered, Kate heads to Atlanta to find the killer and get vengeance.
This is a great book, and as I've already read the second as well -- Magic Burns -- I think it's safe to say I'm going to enjoy this series. First off, there's a really interesting world going on here. It's are world, but full of magic. In this reality, magic and technology sit at opposite ends of a pendulum, and thousands of years of technological dominance have been replaced by magical dominance. Sometimes the tech is "up" -- anything technological like cars and phones and electricity work. Sometimes the magic flares and the vampires grow stronger, baddies get badder, and were animals (because it's more than just werewolves, you know) have a harder time staying under control. The reader is put right in the middle of everything, so at first it's a bit jarring. But Ilona Andrews does the gradual world building well, and it makes for fewer info dumps and a faster pace. The story(ies) are tightly written, part mystery and part action-thriller. There's a good bit of blood and guts, but nothing over the top. There's also a dash of romance, but at book two it's basically some molasses-like sexual tension.
Finally, I really love the characters. Most of them start off in a certain mold -- you have the aforementioned kick-ass heroine, you have the alpha male -- literally, since he's the alpha of the Pack, you have the sort-of and very reluctant sidekick, and various other side characters depending on the story. But while they may start off as tropes, Andrews breathes life and individuality into each character. And even over two books the characters have movement -- you'd be missing something to read the books out of order, because you get to know the characters a little better each time.
Bottom line: if you're in the mood for well-written, fast-paced, engaging action/mystery and don't mind some make believe and magical creatures, pick up these books.