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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

'Burn for Me' Hidden Legacy #1 by Ilona Andrews

From the BLURB:

Nevada Baylor is faced with the most challenging case of her detective career—a suicide mission to bring in a suspect in a volatile situation. Nevada isn't sure she has the chops. Her quarry is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, who can set anyone and anything on fire.

Then she's kidnapped by Connor "Mad" Rogan—a darkly tempting billionaire with equally devastating powers. Torn between wanting to run and wanting to surrender to their overwhelming attraction, Nevada must join forces with Rogan to stay alive.

Rogan's after the same target, so he needs Nevada. But she's getting under his skin, making him care about someone other than himself for a change. And, as Rogan has learned, love can be as perilous as death, especially in the magic world.

‘Burn For Me’ is the new urban fantasy series from husband-wife writing duo, IlonaAndrews.

The final book in Andrews’ ‘The Edge’ series wrapped up in 2012, and they’re still contracted through to book #10 in the ‘Kate Daniels’ series (due for release in 2017) … with this new ‘Hidden Legacy’ series, Ilona Andrews are contracted for three books, ‘Burn For Me’ being the first.

This has been a most-anticipated book for many Ilona Andrews fans. Much as we love Kate Daniels (even more so since the Kate and Curran pairing was finally realised!) Ilona Andrews are undoubtedly one of the best urban fantasy authors writing today – a new release in this genre from them is most welcome indeed. I was especially excited for the beginning of this new series, because the last ‘KateDaniels’ book was a bit of a disappointment to me and I was looking forward to a shake-up. And while I did love ‘Burn For Me’, I’ve got to admit that I didn’t love this book as much as other readers seemed to…

To begin with: Ilona Andrews love to world-build, and they’re very good at it. But they tend to be more at the ‘fantasy’ end of ‘urban fantasy’, and some of the more intricate details take a while for me to fully comprehend (I don’t think I really understood the Kate Daniels universe until around ‘Magic Strikes’). In the universe of ‘Hidden Legacy’, something called the Osiris serum was discovered in 1863 that brought out one’s magic talents. In this world, magic users are segregated into five ranks: Minor, Average, Notable, Significant, and Prime. And a family with a powerful magic is considered a House when it produces at least two Primes within three generations. For more information, check out the ‘Magic 101’ cheat-sheets on Ilona Andrews’ website.

Our protagonist in ‘Hidden Legacy’ is Nevada Baylor – a young woman who has been running her family’s private investigation firm since the death of her father a few years ago, and her soldier mother was wounded during her last tour. Nevada has low-level magic which allows her to know when someone is lying. When a pyrokinetic man from a powerful house goes AWOL and leaves a trail of destruction, Nevada is forced by his family to find him and bring him home – unharmed – or else lose her family’s business.

I opened a writing app and began typing what I knew about Pierce.
Vain.Terminal fear of T-shirts or any other garment that would cover his pectorals. Deadly.
Doesn't hesitate to kill. Holding him at gunpoint would result in me being barbecued. Whee.
Likes burning things. Now here's an understatement. Good information to have, but not useful for finding him.
Antigovernment. Neither here nor there.
Hmm. So far my best plan would be to build a mountain of gasoline cans and explosives, stick a Property of US Government sign on it, and throw a T-shirt over Pierce's head when he showed up to explode it. Yes, this would totally work.

When one of the world’s most powerful Primes, a man called Mad Rogan offers (insists, cajoles, threatens) to help Nevada bring this criminal to justice she can’t exactly refuse … even when she’s terrified of her attraction to this homicidal, powerful Prime and has to keep reminding herself that he’s not for her.

This isn’t ‘Kate Daniels’, but there are certainly repeated elements in ‘Burn For Me’ that perhaps stopped me from loving this first book and our introduction to this new universe as much as others seemed to. Nevada is a PI, where Kate worked for the Mercenary Guild – both have elements of crime-fighting, whodunit-ing (totally a word). Admittedly Nevada has the weight of her family on her shoulders (mother, grandmother, sisters and cousins) whereas Kate’s story-arc was that she needed to be a loner. Even the love-interests are very similar – both Curran and Mad Rogan are big men and leaders (Curran of The Pack, Mad Rogan of his magic house and various employees).

I even found the romance dynamics to be very similar – Kate objectively appreciate Curran’s good looks in ‘Magic Bites’, she came to the conclusion that he was an egomaniac who collected notches on his bedpost rather than actual intimate relationships and was more trouble than he’d be worth … Nevada likewise is very much physically attracted to Mad Rogan, who lets it be known that he would appreciate a bedroom romp with her but she is put off by his homicidal tendencies, hunger for power and intimidating magical prowess.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love that Ilona Andrews’ are able to revisit the romantic snark they so perfected with Kate and Curren through the new coupling of Nevada and Mad Rogan:

“Speak to me."
"I hate you."
"Okay." Mad Rogan let go of me. "You're fine.”

But part of the reason I loved their ‘The Edge’ series was that it was such a departure from the Kate Daniels romance – it offered varied pairings and HEAs – but with ‘Burn For Me’ the crucial romance element of this urban fantasy series felt too much like a throw-back to the good old days of Kate and Curran’s back-and-forth, will-they-or-won’t-they. Undoubtedly Ilona Andrews do that well – but my point is they’ve been there, done that.

I really did enjoy this first book and I am looking forward to the second in the ‘Hidden Legacy’ series (due in 2015). I am invested in Nevada Baylor and her family – a backstory that is brilliantly established in ‘Burn For Me’. I really like this world of magic Houses, and socio-economic dynamics being dictated by magical ability. It is very clever, and I can see that this is a world that will offer plenty of high-octane storylines.

And I do like that this is a series being built around Nevada and Mad Rogan – I look forward to investing in them, and hope that in future books their romance breaks away from the same-sameness of Kate and Curran’s chemistry. Mad Rogan certainly has an intriguing enough history to make him unique.

I can see why people are loving this book – it offers everything that Ilona Andrews is so darn good at … particularly the snarky romance. But it’s exactly because I felt like Ilona Andrews had plowed many of these dynamics in the ‘Kate Daniels’ series that I wasn’t as taken with this first book – I still enjoyed it, don’t get me wrong, but I thought I’d love it and I just didn’t quite get here.


1 comment:

  1. great review!

    Before reading it I had not even thought about comparing Nevada and Rogan with Kate and Curran... so I guess it wasnt something that struck me lol


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