In any book where magic exists, mythological creatures are usually not far behind. This is true in the Magic series by Ilona Andrews, but where it differs from most is that magic and mythological creatures are intertwined, providing a new take on them. This is most notably seen in the two prominent factions that not only play a key role in the series, but are the prominent players in Magic Bites.
The vampires are people who are brought into undeath by the Imortus Pathogen, becoming mindless monsters that warp as they get older and–if left unchecked–would slaughter everything with a pulse. So, who controls them? Necromancers, or as they like to be called–the People.
Headquartered in the Casino which was built on the lot of the Georgia World Congress Center after it collapsed, the People are one of the largest factions in Atlanta with bases all over the country and answer to a man named Roland–someone whom Kate knows all too well. The People–the most adept being called Masters of the Dead–control the vampires through telepathy as the creatures have no minds.
Like their movie counterparts the vampires are strong, fast, and can tear through a battalion faster than Homer Simpson could go through a box of donuts. And their are dozens if not a few hundred of those monsters in hidden levels beneath the People’s headquarters. Think about that the next time you walk into an actual casino.
Shapeshifters become what they are as a result of the Lycos Virus, or Lyc-V, which does a mix and match of human and animal DNA. By coming up with such a unique concept, Ilona Andrews expands the traditional shapeshifter concept to include more than just werewolves and this is shown in the dynamics of the Pack.
The Pack is one of the largest in the United States with roughly 1,500 people ranging from traditional werewolves–whom you see plenty of–to rats and panthers. Regardless of their animal form, shapeshifters are powerful, fast, and can regenerate injuries at an accelerated rate. While their headquarters–the Keep–is in the Suwanee area, their territory extends over a wide area, including parts of the city of Atlanta. This–in combination with their numbers–makes them an immediate rival of the People.
Vampires vs werewolves isn’t a new concept, but Ilona Andrews turns it on its head by where the conflict takes place, who’s involved, and how the mythological creatures are portrayed. And it’s the last point that makes the draw of the novel’s conflict so engaging.