Review: Sapphire Flames by Ilona Andrews (Hidden Legacy)

Format: mass market
Pub Date: August 2019
Publisher: Avon
Length: 400 pages
POV: 1st, past
FTC: Review copy courtesy of the publisher

I've been a BIG fan of Ilona Andrews for years. They started solidly in Urban Fantasy, and the Hidden Legacy series is still mostly in that genre, with strong romantic elements.  The original trilogy featuring Nevada Baylor ended with Wildfire, with the novella Diamond Fire acting as a bridge between that trilogy and this book. If you haven't read any of the previous books, I think you could enjoy this one, but there is a distinct chronology, and you'll definitely get more out of it if you've read the other books.

Unlike the previous trilogy, this one is told from Catalina's POV, which is a bit jarring at first if you're used to Nevada. Quite a lot has happened in the three years since Wildfire. Nevada is no longer Head of House Baylor. Catalina has taken over that role, which is a bit of a struggle for her. Rogan's mother has taken her under her wing, and helped train her...which is a good thing for someone whose magic is not combat oriented. She's also primarily responsible for running Baylor Investigations, and it's that role that once again gets her, and her family, into trouble when an old acquaintance asks her for help.

I wasn't sure what to expect from this book because while we hear from Catalina in other books, it's usually only in contrast to the rest of her family. Her magic is used twice, both with big groups, but we get to see her fully embrace a wider range of uses for those powers here. And she's not the peacemaker she seems like when she was younger: she knows how to fight.

Without spoiling anything, I did enjoy the twists that involve Alessandro and Linus Duncan. They leveled up the complexity of the world, and I think it fits with both Catalina's personality as well as what would naturally occur as the Baylor family explores what it really means to be a House in truth.

The ending is not tied up in the neat way we like in the romance genre, so in that way it is very similar to how Burn for Me ended. The immediate problem is solved, but there are threads to explore in future books.

I really loved this one,  and now must wait FOREVER for book 2. I highly recommend this, but urge readers to pick up the previous series, or at least the novella, before reading this one.

The Blurb:

In a world where magic is the key to power and wealth, Catalina Baylor is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, and the Head of her House. Catalina has always been afraid to use her unique powers, but when her friend’s mother and sister are murdered, Catalina risks her reputation and safety to unravel the mystery.
But behind the scenes powerful forces are at work, and one of them is Alessandro Sagredo, the Italian Prime who was once Catalina’s teenage crush. Dangerous and unpredictable, Alessandro’s true motives are unclear, but he’s drawn to Catalina like a moth to a flame.
To help her friend, Catalina must test the limits of her extraordinary powers, but doing so may cost her both her House–and her heart.

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