Shapeshifters play a large role in Ilona Andrews Magic Series and the authors have never hesitated to reinvent or adapt them as necessary. In Magic Rises this is done twice by delving into the mythologies of two different cultures.
A weredolphin. Pinch me, somebody.
Greek legends spoke of some pirates who captured the god Dionysus. They were planning to rape and sell him into slavery. Furious, he transformed them into dolphins. Apparently, their descendants were alive and well and still in the family business.
In the greek mythos the pirates were turned into normal dolphins, but I admire Ilona Andrews for taking the story and adapting it as the book’s major events take place in this world. Like the people in the myth these weredolphins are pirates who attacked the ship that Kate and her friends are traveling on. Naturally, Kate and Co. kick them overboard, but they eventually learn that the attack was no accident. Someone hired these people to kill Kate, someone who’s amongst the shapeshifters that Kate and Curran are going to mediate between. While the person behind the weredolphins hasn’t given up on killing Kate, their not the only ones who want her dead. There is another new group of shapshifters, and unlike the weredolphins they can hide their forms making them far more deadly.
“He wants me to tell you that you are kind. He is glad that you have the word. It will help you in the castle with all those lamassu. He doesn’t know why you have them up there anyway. Don’t you know they eat people?”
Unlike the other shape shifters in the Magic Series–including the weredolphins–lamassu aren’t real creatures. They’re stone sculptures that first appeared during the reign of Tiglath-Pilessar II in Assyria around 3,000 BCE. The lamassu are hybrids, depicted with the body of a winged bull or lion with a human head. Placed outside the entrances of gates and important buildings, they were symbols of protection as well as power.
In Magic Rises, the lamassu are a type of shapeshifter who’re created in ancient Assyria as a means to defend against invaders. Unlike other shapeshifters who have two forms–human and animal–the lamassu can have three with the lamaassu transformation–a winged, cat-like creature that is awoken by consuming human flesh, a big no-no for shapshifters in this series. As the plot progresses it becomes clare that one of the rival packs wants Dessandra–the woman Kate is guarding–dead. It isn’t until Kate learns that a terrifying secret about Dessandra’s unborn twins that she knows why. One of them is a lamassu and with Dessandra’s sons having been fathered by two different men it means only one thing. One of the packs is more than they seem and they’ll do anything to keep their secret.
As the attacks by the lamassu increase and intrigue reaches dangerous levels, Kate and her friends must figure out who the lamassu are and stop them before it’s to late. But even it they can do that, can Kate escape the clutches of Hugh d’ Ambry who orchestrated this entire affair and is determined to keep her in his grasp?
Disclaimer: I do not own the imagery or book quotes used in this blog and have no claim to them.