Magic Stars Audiobook by Ilona Andrews (REVIEW)

Posted by on Mar 15, 2016 in Reviews | 39 comments

Review of: Magic Stars Audiobook
Ilona Andrews

Reviewed by:
On March 15, 2016
Last modified:September 13, 2017


Magic Stars Audiobook

By: Ilona Andrews

Narrated by: Jeffrey Kafer

Published by: NYLA 02/16/16

Magic Stars Audiobook by Ilona Andrews

Magic Stars Audiobook Sample

Magic Stars Audiobook

3.5 Hearts

When I heard that Derek was getting a book, I was ultra-excited. Then I heard that the book was going to published as an audiobook, SCORE!! However, Ilona Andrews decided that since this book was told from a male’s POV, it needed a male narrator. I’m not sure that I agree with that philosophy, but it is their book, so they can make that decision. I decided that I would give this new narrator a try. I will admit it took me a little bit to get used listening to a Ilona Andrews book that wasn’t narrated by Renée Raudman. After a few minutes, I settled into this book just fine.

So this book takes place between books 8, Magic Shifts, and 9, up and coming Magic Binds, in the Kate Daniels series. I don’t think you can read this without having read the Kate Daniels series. I will also mention that I think this book is important piece to the Kate Daniels storyline. I’m not sure if any of the information from this book will mentioned or referenced in Magic Binds, but it was important in the world and the lives of both Derek and Julie. I will also mention that it hard to talk about this book without giving away some spoilers about some Kate Daniels series. So if you’re way far behind on Kate Daniels, beware.

Derek is looking into the murder of a family. As he does more investigate. He runs into Julie, who comes along and helps with the investigation as well. We get to see them work together as a them, not only as they try to figure this mystery out, but also fight together. They are a great match together. I could also see them matched together a future romantic pairing. There is a bit of an age issue. Julie is 16 and Derek is 20. He has been around her since she was 12, which makes things weird. He will want to continue to see her as the little girl to protect, not the woman she is growing into. Julie is a lot like her adopted mother, and she will fight for what she wants and I think we all know what that is.

Derek is still looking for how he will fit into this new world outside of the pack and without his looks. Julie is wanting to learn as much about the enemy as she can. She has a great source, but a dangerous one. She has great instincts. She has learned something that Kate didn’t want her to know. She really wants to know how to fight her enemies and and willing to do whatever is necessary to win this future battle and protect those that she loves, whatever the cost. She is more like Kate than she will ever know.

This book was really hard for me. First, it is a very short story, so we don’t get as much depth as we’re used to in an Ilona Andrews’ book. Second, it is told from Derek’s POV, which means we don’t get the snark that we’re used to from Kate or Andrea like we have in previous books. There is some snark from Julie and even some from Derek, but just not the amount that we are used to from an Ilona Andrews’ book. This was a good story, but just not the great story that I normally expect from this writing team. I will say that I’m very excited for the next Kate Daniels book and that I enjoyed this look into Derek’s head. It will be interesting to see where he goes from here.

Magic Stars Audiobook Narration

4 Hearts

This is the first book that I’ve listen to with Jeffrey Kafer as the narrator. Like I said above, it took me a bit to get used to him. Add that to the fact that this was a very short book in two hours, I would’ve preferred to not have the change in narrators for the series. However, I don’t think he did a bad job with the narration. He is following up one of my favorite narrators in the business and that is a tough job for anyone. He did a good job with both Derek and Julie’s voices along with the other characters. I thought his tone was perfect for the scene he was working. I thought he did a decent job. Not my favorite, but not bad. I would be willing to listen to him again. I think it is wrong to compare him to Raudman. They are different people, I’m not going to fault him because he has to replace such a great narrator here. That’s just not fair to him. He did a solid job.

Ilona Andrews

Authors – Ilona Andrews

Ilona Andrews is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing team. Ilona is a native-born Russian and Gordon is a former communications sergeant in the U.S. Army. Contrary to popular belief, Gordon was never an intelligence officer with a license to kill, and Ilona was never the mysterious Russian spy who seduced him. They met in college, in English Composition 101, where Ilona got a better grade. (Gordon is still sore about that.)

Gordon and Ilona currently reside in Texas with their two children, and many dogs and cats. They have co-authored two series, the bestselling urban fantasy of Kate Daniels and romantic urban fantasy of The Edge.

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Narrator: Jeffrey Kafer

Narrator: Jeffrey Kafer

SAG-AFTRA narrator/producer of over 225 audiobooks. I’ve narrated works from such authors as Clive Barker, Cory Doctorow, Maya Banks, Kathryn Shay, Bob Mayer and others.

Audiobooks Twitter

Reviewed by:

ML Simmons Reviewer

  • 3.5
    editor rating
Melanie Simmons
I’m Melanie and I live in Ohio. I have two horses and a dog. I’m an animal lover, avid book reader and audiobook listener. I like to live vicariously through fictional characters. I enjoy reading and listening to mostly fictional books in the paranormal genre, including Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance and Horror. My favorite paranormal creatures are shifters, doesn’t matter the flavor.


  1. I am debating on using a whole credit for this one. The story won’t be vital to Magic Binds will it? I love Derek and Julie though. We’ll see. It will definitely be hard listening to a different narrator for this.

    • I’m not sure how much it would cost to get the kindle book, but you might want to look into that. A full credit for a 2 hour book is a lot. I love Ilona Andrews, so I did it. Not sure if I will read or listen to the next one.

  2. So I guess they took a risk with a male narrator. Do you think you’d like it more if it was a female storyteller?

    • I love Renee Raudman. She is one of my favorite narrators and I think she brings a lot more to any story that she narrates. I still don’t know if this one would’ve been a favorite if she would’ve narrated, but I think I could listen to her read the dictionary. That’s not to say this guy was bad. She is a hard one to live up to.

  3. I have this, and was going to read it for Take Control, but it’s a novella and wouldn’t count. I didn’t know it was available for audio…hmm I love Renee’ To be honest this is the first novella I have tried of this series. I keep holding out hoping they do an audio collection of all of them. 🙂

    • I almost skipped it because of the TBR challenge, but I was really wanting to listen to it. I figured I could give up two hours of listening in March and have it not count towards my challenge. I’ve got a ton of other books and audiobooks counting towards that challenge. 🙂

  4. I really loved this even if it was way too short! I can’t wait for the next one!

    • I do wish it was longer. I felt there was more that could’ve been told in this story.

  5. My bookclub agreed–those that had not read the series (or were not caught up) felt totally lost reading this. I loved it but then again I was totally caught up 🙂

    • I really enjoyed it, but I don’t think it was up to what I normally expect from Ilona Andrews. It was good, but not great and I’m used to great. I will be picking up the next one, just not sure if I will do audio or just ebook.

  6. I’m glad I read this one instead of getting the audio. I didn’t know it was a male narrator.

    • I don’t know if I will get the audio next time. I might just read it. It just wasn’t the same without Renee Raudman.

  7. Hmm… I am glad to read your thoughts on this. I am planning on picking it up. I can’t believe it’s not narrated by Renee. I have had a feeling that Derek and Julie would come together since they first met. I am excited to see how this series unfolds, but I can’t find any further details on upcoming books.

    • They felt that since this was from a male POV, they needed a male narrator. I completely disagree, especially after listening to Lorelei King narrate Reyes’ POV.

      I kinda had a feeling that Derek and Julie would come together eventually.

  8. It wasn’t as appealing as the others but it was so much fun to have a story with Derek like that!

  9. You made me very conflicted now, Melanie! I would love to read Derek’s story, but it might feel a bit weird to not read a story set in Kate’s universe without following Kate… I’m sorry it didn’t completely work for you, even if you enjoyed it.

    • I think part of my problem is I’ve set the standards so high for Ilona Andrews. It was a good story, just not as good as I expected from them. I think if it had been just a bit longer, I would’ve enjoyed it more. I just don’t feel like it was enough time for the first time in Derek’s head. I also really missed the snark that we get from Kate. We get some of it from Julie, but Derek hasn’t had much ever since he was scared and especially if he is out in public.

  10. I loved this story! Listening to the sample the narrator has a nice voice but he sounds too much like he’s just reading it. Too rushed.

    • I might have gotten used to him if it was a longer story. Two hours isn’t that long to get used to a completely new narrator for a series that I’ve listened to for so many years.

  11. I of course did not listen to the audio, but read the novella and I LOVED it. I agree not as much snark, but we get so much more insight into these two characters and yes the age difference at this stage is odd, but I can see them together in the future. Julie is a mini Kate.

    • I love Julie. I love Derek too. I feel so bad for him sometimes.

  12. I’ve only had one audio book and I just couldn’t get into it. I can read a book in 2 hours so sitting for hours through an audio book is not something I can do comfortably.

    • Yeah, not everyone likes them. I love that I can listen to so many more books by listening while drive, do chores, ride my horses and even at work, depending on the job at the time.

  13. I’m one of those who are far behind, but need to catch up in the series. I will say this… I can so agree that it is hard to take a narrator shift but at least he was good! 🙂 I just had that happen to me, but I did like the shift.

    • I’ve had some changes in narrators that work and others that haven’t. This narrator wasn’t bad. It is just that the normal narrator is phenomenal, she is hard to live up to.

  14. Every time I see someone reviewing a book in this series I keep wondering if I should continue the series. I read the first book and wasn’t impressed, but I heard the second book is better. Everyone makes it sounds like such a good series.

    It’s too bad this story is so short though, sounds like it could’ve used some extra length. And that’s strange they used a different narrator for this book. I hope the next book is a good one!

    • I think the first book in this series was their debut novel, so yes, the series does get better as it goes along. Their writing gets better as does the overall plots, characters, etc. They are a go-to author for me. I just love everything they write.

  15. Interesting that they would decide to change narrators but you’re right…it’s their prerogative. I can see where having Derek’s POV would affect the feel of the story and it’s length would affect that too. I know I’ll read this one because everything from Kate & Curran’s world seems to end up being important. Plus, I’m a Derek fan, so I’ll take what I can get even if I’m left a little wanting. 😉 Nice review, Melanie!

    • That’s my feeling too. I will always pick up anything they publish. I just love them and their writing. I think I just wanted so much more from Derek and Julie. I set my expectations too high on this one.

  16. A change of narrator in a series could be hard, but I’m glad it turned out ok. I am still one book behind, but I’ll try and grab this one before I pick up book 9!

    • Yeah, changes in narrators are not my favorite. This guy did a good job. It is just really hard with Kate Daniels have on of the best on the market.

  17. I’m glad to hear you enjoyed this one, even with a lack of usual snark levels. I’m excited to get around to reading it soon. I’m a few books behind on the Kate Daniels series so I need to catch-up first.

    • You definitely want to wait until you’re caught up before you read this one. I don’t think there are any real spoilers, but it will help you to know where the pack, Kate, Curran Derek and Julie are at during this time.

  18. I just realized that I wasn’t getting my email notices for Hot Listens. So sorry it took so long for a visit.

    I’ve got this one still to read. I want to read it, but I’m not a Julie fan so I’ve held off. I’ll get around to it, though. 🙂

    • That’s weird, but don’t worry about it. I held off for the audio. It’s a good story and I do recommend it. I just wish it was a longer, more fleshed out story.

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