SPOILERS FROM BOOKS 1-4*When Book 4, Magic Bleeds, ends, the sh!t has hit the proverbial fan. Kate has left The Order of Knights of Merciful Aid, her best friend Andrea is gone, she's killed her Aunt, and feels responsible for almost killing her mate.When Magic Slays opens, Kate has opened up her own mercinary business, with the financial assistance of the Pack. Things are slow going though, until she gets a call that a runaway vampire is headed in her general direction. One thing leads to another and suddenly she's got a new employee (or two) and their first big case: she's got to find a man who has disappeared. Not just any man, but a man who invented a "magic doomsday machine" - when the machine is turned on, it removes all magic in the vicinity, and kills anyone who has magic. In her search for the missing man and machine, they discover a super-secret cult of anti-magic fanatics. If Kate doesn't find him before the anti-magic zealots do, the aftermath will be devastating.My thoughts:When I have a favorite series, I'm always cautiously optimistic about the next book - will it disappoint me? Will the story go in the direction I hope it does? Have I built it up in my head to be more than it really is? By now I should know better than to have these fears, at least in respect to this writing team. Ilona Andrews consistently delivers unputdownable books, and Magic Slays is no exception. I have to be honest - I sat on this review for days. Why? Because I didn't feel like I could adequately express what an amazing book this is. Fans of the series will not be disappointed.My personal highlights:If I was worried at all that Kate and Curran would lose their "spark" after they got together, they don't. Kate and Curran after the mating are just as good as before - he tells her what to do and she ignores him. Can I tell you how much I love his possessiveness towards Kate? They joke about it, but he is and she knows it: I threw a bread roll at him. Curran snapped it out of the air. "Would you like me to carry a foot-long stick? I can just poke people with it when they get too close." "That's a good idea." He held his arm out. "If you can extend your arm and touch them with the stick, they are too close." "You're insane." "If I'm insane, what does it make you?" "A terrible judge of character." I went back to the couch. I could've fallen for someone steady. Dependable. Well-grounded. But nooo, I had to lose my head over this idiot.~Magic Slays page 275Kate still as ballsy as ever - she goes through this book kicking ass and taking names. She's involved in Pack life and managing well. But there's also a personal side of Kate that we're slowly seeing more of as the series progresses: I was thrilled that we learn more about her childhood in Magic Slays; a lot of the things she thought were truths about the people she loved were not necessarily so. My heart breaks for her as she struggles with her inner demons: does Curran love her for herself or for who and what she is? What's going to happen when she inevitably meets her father?Curran continues to be wonderously and terribly Alpha. The Beast Lord has not gotten soft being mated to Kate: "Will you acquiese to our terms?" the man asked. "Your answer?" "No," Curran said. "Here are our terms: you line up in front of the Capitol, beg forgiveness for murdering hundreds of people, and blow your brains out. You can hang yourselves or fall on your swords. You can set yourselves on fire. I guarantee that any method of suicide you choose will be pleasant compared to what we will do to you. You have until the end of tech." The disconnect signal sounded like the toll of a funeral bell. ~Magic Slays pg. 261Julie, Kate's teenage ward, hasn't had a huge part in the books up until now, but in Magic Slays, all that changes. I don't know what's going to happen in future books with Julie, but I'm sure it's going to be interesting. All I will say is that Kate has some serious ethical challenges ahead.Andrea is back and I love her! She had a rough time between Magic Bleeds and Magic Slays, but she's back in true Andrea form and she and Kate are great together. I was surprised we didn't see Raphael in Magic Slays.One of the best parts of the book, for me, was seeing all the different magical factions band together to fight the anti-magic fanatics: The Pack, The People, the Natives, the Mercinary Guild, the Norse Heritage group, The Mages (including witches, volhuvs, druids, and others), and the Red Guard. I loved seeing them all unite to grudgingly work as a team as they attempt to defeat their common enemy. Magic Slays is my favorite book in the series to date. You can't tell from my review, but the authors manage to inject a lot of humor into an action-packed story. I wouldn't recommend reading it without reading the previous books, there is too much going on at this point to fully understand the world and the players or their motives without having all the back-story. (Trust me, it won't be a hardship to read the series - it's that good.)I'm already looking forward to the next book in the series - the way Magic Slays ended, while not a cliff hanger, blatantly hints at much more to come.