The One About the Lion King
And the winner of the Alpha Showdown 2012 is (drums, please)...
Some of us were really peeved about it, some danced little happy dances while nobody was watching, and some were intrigued by the mofo who beat their precious Bones. But I doubt if there was a single Wench or PNR/UF bookworm who remained indifferent to the whole thing.
For those who haven't read Kate Daniels, and for those who have but still can't understand why he won the Alpha Showdown, I'll try and play Mr. Lennart's lawyer in front of you. Because I love him. And because he pays well.
Warning: Mild spoilers ahead.
Warning: Mild spoilers ahead.
Who the hell is this Curran?
I picked up the Kate Daniels series because I heard so much about it that I knew I had to read it and find out what all the fuss was about. Then he won the Alpha Showdown and that just sealed the deal.
If you've read the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning and liked it, then Kate Daniels is definitely up your alley. Set in a fictional Atlanta of the year 2040, the five books we have so far are narrated by the twenty-six-year-old Kate. There is also Gunmetal Magic, set in the same world but told from Kate's BFF, Andrea's, point of view.
The world has suffered a magic apocalypse. We pushed the technological progress too far, and now magic returned with a vengeance. It comes in waves, without warning, and vanishes as suddenly as it appears. When magic is up, planes drop out of the sky, cars stall, electricity dies. When magic is down, guns work and spells fail.
It’s a volatile, screwed-up world. Magic feeds on technology, gnawing down on skyscrapers until most of them topple and fall, leaving only skeletal husks behind. Monsters prowl the ruined streets, were-bears and were-hyenas stalk their prey; and the Masters of the Dead, necromancers driven by their thirst of knowledge and wealth, pilot blood-crazed vampires with their minds.
In this world lives Kate Daniels. Kate likes her sword a little too much and has a hard time controlling her mouth. The magic in her blood makes her a target, and she spent most of her life hiding in plain sight. But sometimes even trained killers make friends and fall in love, and when the universe tries to kick them in the face, they kick back.
Ilona Andrew's web page
Remember the "fall in love" part? That's exactly where Curran comes in. But don't think "boy meets girl and they are struck by Cupid's arrow from the moment they set eyes on each other" kind of love. Oh, no! It was all about snappy comebacks, snarls, growls and threats of bodily harm. And that's the beauty of it because neither of the two badasses saw it coming.
We didn't start out by looking at each other and instantly deciding we were soul mates. When we met, I thought his attitude needed a serious adjustment, preferably by means of a boot to the head, and he entertained ideas of throwing me out of the nearest window to relieve his frustration.
Magic Rises snippet
Okay, but Curran who, again?
Few people outside of the Pack claimed to have met him and nobody seemed willing to discuss the experience. The only thing certain about him was power. By the latest count, he commanded a force of three hundred and thirty-seven shapechangers in Atlanta alone. He wasn't in charge because he was the smartest or the most popular; he ruled because of those three hundred and thirty-seven he was unquestionably the strongest. He was in charge by the right of might; that is, he had yet to meet anyone who could kick his ass.
Alrighty then, we get it, you're very strong, but so are all the males who made it to the Alpha Showdown list. Tell me more about it because I'm not in fear and trembling yet.
You do as you please, but I know I'll need to grab an extra pair on panties and a handkerchief or two to wipe the saliva off my laptop.
It doesn't get much more Alpha than that
We first met Curran in Chapter 3 of Magic Bites through Kate's eyes. It was not rainbows, sugar hearts and chocolate kisses, but even though Kate was clueless, you had to be the blind and deaf to miss the attraction between these two. She wants to smack him upside the head with something heavy, he thinks she is deranged (because she called him a kitty), arrogant, impulsive, and has a big mouth, and he dreams about choking the life out of her. The road Ilona Andrews threw ahead of us was long and full of angst but that's the way we like it.
In the second book Curran figured out that he wanted Kate for life, and after she was badly injured by some crazy sea-demons he fed her chicken soup, which in shapeshifters terms means "I love you. Will you be my girlfriend/marry me?" Kate didn't have a clue, but that didn't change the fact that she accepted and ate it.
Then, when in charge of the lid of a magical cauldron (which could be the gateway to the world of the dead or, with the lid on the other way, the cauldron of plenty), Curran traded the lid for an orphaned thirteen-year-old girl. Completely aware that in doing so he would give up the key to releasing a horde of sea-demons into the city.
And he would do it again in a heartbeat for the chance of saving the life of one little girl.
In Magic Strikes, Curran decided to take the bull by the horns and flat-out kiss Kate. He kissed her at the end of the first book too, "for luck", but that was more like a joke. Kate thought he was a "psychopathic control freak" because he ordered her around. So she's a pigheaded insubordinate ass, who drove him mad until he wanted to strangle her. All these "problems" were forgotten, though, when he kissed her.
Do you know of any character in any series/book who would sentence himself for breaking one of the rules he himself made? Well, that's the Beast Lord for you.Oh. My. God. The Universe exploded. He tasted intoxicating, like wild wine. I sank against him, drunk on his taste and his scent, seduced by the feel of his hard body wrapped around mine. My head swam.
Curran served as the Pack’s first and last line of defense. Any hint of a significant threat, and he’d be out there, roaring and ripping bodies in half.Magic Bleeds
Curran became the Big Kahuna of the Atlanta shapeshifters when he was fifteen ( ! ) by beheading a twenty-five-hundred-and-eighty-pound were-Kodiak gone loup (or just berserk *shrugs*). Said were-bear shifted into full beast form, ripped some vamps to shreds, crushed wolf skulls, and generally mauled whoever got in his way.
Now when Curran enters a room through a door that isn't opened, its hinges fly; if he needs to knock on your door, he'll be doing you a favor.
It would take a bloody army to bring down Curran. Of the fifteen hundred homicidal maniacs under his command, he was the toughest and most dangerous sonovabitch.Magic Bleeds
Tough, strong, arrogant, stubborn, paranoid, violent, Mr. My-Way-Or-The-Highway, Curran becomes a total sap where Kate is concerned. He misses her while she's at work and calls her, pretending he can't find his socks, and spends the next two hours on the phone talking trivial stuff with his mate. He'd love to have her "locked up in his rooms, all safe, barefoot, and pregnant", but like he said, “We don’t live in a safe world. I can’t give you the white picket fence, and if I did, you’d set it on fire.” He totally gets and respects her and knows that she can't sit on her hands while the world isn't what and how it is supposed to be. She'll always tell him exactly what she thinks and stand her ground, and she won't take shit from anyone. Not even (especially not) from Curran.
But at the same time he would give up everything he's achieved so far to hide with and for Kate, if she so much as said the word. Leave everything and everyone behind to protect and be with her. Just her.
Now let us take in all there is of Mr. Curran Lennart a.k.a the Beast Lord
- Beast Form
The Kate Daniels shapeshifters have three forms they could take at will: human, warrior ("an in-between beast man, huge, humanoid, and armed with a monster’s claws and nightmarish fangs"), and animal.
Curran turns into an enormous gray lion, striped with darker gray, like smoke blown against grey velvet. He grows teeth the size of dinner forks and bites people’s heads off. Roars afterward. Now would be a good time start trembling and peeing yourselves. And get the hell out of here.
If his animal form in itself doesn't say a thing about alpha and top-food-chain predator, I don't know what will. And this without counting the fifteen-hundred monsters under his command. We're talking shapeshifters here, "thirty-two species in seven tribes, each with their own hang-up" and a deadly alpha couple. And since the Beast Lord is the guy keeping a check on them all, I'd like to shut my mouth, smile sweetly and flee from here.
He wore his warrior form: a seven-and-a-half-feet-tall gray creature stuck on the crossroads between man and beast.
"Some men were handsome. Some men were powerful. Curran was... dangerous." I could go on and on about Curran's body, but I'll leave it at muscular, defined, gives off a sense of coiled strength about to explode. Read: Dangerous eye-candy, beware of sexy strength. He moves with an easy, confident grace, perfectly balanced. He could stalk like a hungry tiger, moving across the floor in absolute silence.
"Muscular, built like he fought for his life every day—which wasn’t too far from the truth—Curran moved like a beast who knew he was at the top of the food chain. When he walked into a room, he owned it and you knew that if you disagreed, he would prove it to you. Judging by the blood spatter on his T-shirt, he had done it today already."
Curran has blonde hair, typically cut "too short to grab", except during the flare when it grows into a mane within a few days.
Kate on Curran's alpha stare:It wasn't his body that set Curran apart. It was his eyes. When you looked into them, you saw chained violence baring teeth and claws back at you, and your instinct told you that if he ever let himself off that chain, you would not survive.
It was the primeval, merciless glare of a predator sighting his prey. It slammed my senses.
- Distinguishing marks
The Beast Lord had a strong square jaw. His nose was narrow with a misshapen bridge, as though it had been broken more than once and hadn't healed right. Considering the regenerative powers of the shapechangers, someone must've pounded his face with a sledgehammer.
Although Curran’s physical power is overwhelming, he rarely has to use to it. He has a massive weight bench with a reinforced steel frame in his gym for when he needs to vent his frustration with Kate.
“How much are you lifting?”“Seven hundred.”Alrighty then. I will just stand over here, out of your way, and hope you don’t remember my promise to kick your ass.Magic Burns
He is shrewd and tends to use diplomacy and intimidation, breaking into violence only as last resort. If you see Curran calm, don't be fooled. That is never a good sign.
The rage of the Beast Lord was a terrible thing to behold. Some people stormed, some punched things, but Curran slipped into this icy, bone-chilling calm. His face hardened into a flat mask, and his eyes turned into a molten inferno of pure gold. If you looked at it for longer than two seconds, your muscles locked, your knees shook, and you had to fight to keep from cringing.Gunmetal Magic
He moves extremely quietly and enjoys sneaking up on Kate. But if he really wants to, he can literally emanate menace. Curran is terrifying, and he wields that fear like a weapon, using it to inspire panic or confidence. He walks into a room as if he owns it.
Curran radiated a supreme confidence. He would handle any problem he encountered efficiently and decisively, and if you stood in his way, he didn't have even the slightest hint of doubt that he could kick your ass. People sensed it and rallied behind him. He could walk into a room of hysterical strangers, and in seconds they would calm down and look to him for leadership. He was dangerous. And difficult. And he was all mine.
You want more? The important things? Ask and ye shall receive.
Have you seen the movie Mr. & Mrs. Smith with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie? The scene where the house is barely still standing after they had a fight and sex afterwards? That's exactly what Kate and Curran did when they had sex for the first time. There was a lot of frustration that had been "nurtured" through four books to vent.
“We had a fight, screamed at each other for a while, I kicked him in the head, and then he stayed the night.”
They also broke several pieces of furniture and stained a carpet with blood. Kate threatened to murder Curran and bashed him with a lamp. Then he crashed her against the wall, braced her with his body, pinned her arms with his and told her that he missed her. He told her that he worried about her and asked her if she missed him, too. Of course she did. And he kissed her, then hoisted her up onto his hips and the rest is history.
In a row. In a single night. And it's only because Kate told him to stop, the number didn't go higher.
“Did I hurt you last night?”I could’ve used many words to describe last night, but pain wasn’t one of them. “No.”
“I wasn’t sure since you told me to stop.”
“Yes, at five in the morning.” He just kept going and going, and at about five o’clock, my body gave out.
He bounces back quickly. Like in two-minutes quickly. But he slows down eventually. After a couple of hours or so.
And all that being said, I rest my case.
The Kate Daniels series:
0.5 A Questionable Client (Prequel, Kate meets Saiman)
1. Magic Bites
2. Magic Burns
4.5 Magic Dreams (Dali and Jim's novella)
5. Magic Slays
5.3 Gunmetal Magic (Andrea's book)
5.4 Magic Gifts (Kate and Curran's short story)
5.5 Magic Tests (Julie's short story)
6. Magic Rises (Expected publication: July 30th 2013 by Ace )
Vol. 1 Curran
Vol. 2 Fathers and Sons
Vol. 3 Promised Goodreads finals
Vol. 4 Magic Strikes Hot Tub Scene