Julie Lennart-Olsen is princess of the Pack and ward to pack-master Curran and his mate, Kate Daniels. She knows her important place in the pack hierarchy, and what is expected of her as ward to two of the most powerful people in Atlanta. But what Julie cannot abide, what is far too awful for words, pomp and circumstance is . . . school. Julie once went so far as to mail herself back to Kate rather than remain at her hated boarding school. That’s why Julie can’t quite believe that Kate is insisting Julie start attending a new school, and the horrible cycle is going to begin all over again. Or is it?
Kate has ulterior motives for sending Julie to a particular Atlanta school, where a young girl called Ashlyn has gone missing – and nobody seems to be lifting a finger to find her. Luckily Julie is up for the task, but she may not be prepared for what she uncovers in her search for a missing schoolgirl . . .
‘Magic Tests’ is the new short story set in the ‘Kate Daniels’ universe, by Ilona Andrews and appearing in the paranormal anthology ‘An Apple for the Creature’.
I said it after reading ‘Gunmetal Magic’, and now I really, truly believe it. Kate Daniels’s young ward, Julie, is utterly deserving of her very own spin-off. If not a stand-alone book, then Julie could most assuredly carry her own young adult spin-off series. And to anyone who doesn’t think she’s up to the task, I would direct you to ‘Magic Tests’, which highlights Julie’s mettle and sprouts a cast of interesting secondary characters around her.
On her first day of school (and on the hunt for missing Ashlyn) Julie is paired with Brook, a straight-A student with blinkers on but who nevertheless agrees to help Julie in her investigations. Tagging along, if only to nag at Brook, is class clown Barka and keeping a weathered eye on Julie’s progress is class telekinetic, Lisa, who is adamant that Ashlyn is dead and Julie is wasting her time.
But the story takes a particularly interesting turn when Julie’s investigations lead her to the “odd Chinese guy” who everyone seems convinced is an ex-convict, and mafia-affiliated. Yu Fong certainly encourages the rumours swirling around him, even going so far as to appoint two student bodyguards to watch over him in the cafeteria. When Julie lays eyes on him, she’s amazed at his physical perfection and clear magic force – and speaking to him clears nothing up. He recognizes Julie’s ‘Lennart’ surname, and seems disturbingly knowledgeable about all things pack. But in the midst of her investigations, Yu Fong also becomes rather interested in Julie;