Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Ilona Andrews - Emerald Blaze

As Prime magic users, Catalina Baylor and her sisters have extraordinary powers—powers their ruthless grandmother would love to control. Catalina can earn her family some protection working as deputy to the Warden of Texas, overseeing breaches of magic law in the state, but that has risks as well. When House Baylor is under attack and monsters haunt her every step, Catalina is forced to rely on handsome, dangerous Alessandro Sagredo, the Prime who crushed her heart. 
The nightmare that Alessandro has fought since childhood has come roaring back to life, but now Catalina is under threat. Not even his lifelong quest for revenge will stop him from keeping her safe, even if every battle could be his last. Because Catalina won't rest until she stops the use of the illicit, power-granting serum that's tearing their world apart.

Comment: How could I not read this latest installment in the Hidden Legacy series by Ilona Andrews? This duo of writers has to be one of my favorite because even thinking about the books I didn't enjoy as much, I can't ignore the writing and the characters are unforgettable.

In this book we have the continuation of the events that followed what happened in the previous book, but now months after. Catalina is head of the house now, she has her rules and methods and she is keen on letting go of her feelings for Alessandro Sagredo, the man who has fascinated her for a long time and who, after the events of the previous book, has said goodbye without a look back.

Now, a new case is dumped on Catalina's lap and she must honor her work as deputy and accept it. The problem is that the man who hires her insists Alessandro works with her, something she can value for his skills but that she is afraid of because of how she still feels about him. As they join forces to uncover a killer and solve a huge problem, will they be able to trust one another with the reasons that made them get to the point where they are now?

For fans of the authors and of the incredibly detailed worlds they create, any book is a must read (I do plan on going through their entire back list at some point!) and this is no exception. Even accepting the story line might not be always fascinating - and some things work differently for each reader - the richness of the details and of the characterization is flawless. I would read the books for that alone even if the plots weren't that great.

I suppose I can say that, for me, in this book, a little bit of that happened. Some plot choices weren't really great to me but I was still as amazed by how each character comes to life and how the family interactions are done, that I do imagine what would it be like to be part of the Baylor family somehow, even with all the weirdness going on. How cool is that, the skill an author has to have to allow the reader to so easily feel part of the story? I still think that there are more positive marks on the authors than negative.

The story is full of action, as often the books by this author are. There is always something happening, something necessary to be done but that is constantly spaced out with quieter moments, or family scenes or little things that keep up the conflict but don't overload the reader with too much action where scenes start to become confusing. Yes, there are details a little complicated to imagine, but I was always able to follow the events. Generally speaking, the plot was interesting and filled with incredible situations and descriptions, which can be more or less appreciated.

Of course, the big issues revolve around the characters and their emotions. I liked Catalina and the way she, like the others, tries to protect those she loves. Her relationship with her family is the best part of the book and the romance was cute, although I admit I had much bigger expectations. I suppose the authors wanted to just solve it with minimal effort, though, because it certainly felt like it wasn't given as much attention as other things. 

I also think it was not very good which reasons propelled the change of the head of the House from Nevada to Catalina. I can accept what the author did but to be really honest, it made me a little disappointed because I would prefer that issue - the why of it all - to just disappear. I think there is enough conflict and enemies and how these can be used in the plot choices and the big issue could be solved differently. I don't like the fact the plots seems to keep evolving into a practically puppet show from a certain character. I hope the next story will finally end that, but that's my personal preference...

Some great scenes happen here, mostly the cute ones regarding the family and their interactions with those they care about... really, there's nothing like seeing on the page how much care and love exists between them all and that makes it all worth it. I also keep imagining how some characters should have their own HEAs too... like Cornelius and Arabella... the authors have this amazing ability to write but the families they create are the core of it all, for certain. I'm eager to know what happens next to them!

Grade: 8/10

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