It's not as great as you'd think, living in a tourist town that's known as "the most magical place in America." Same boring high school, just twice as many monsters under the bridges and rival Families killing each other for power.
I try to keep out of it. I've got my mom's bloodiron sword and my slightly illegal home in the basement of the municipal library. And a couple of Talents I try to keep quiet, including very light fingers and a way with a lock pick.
But then some nasty characters bring their Family feud into my friend's pawn shop, and I have to make a call--get involved, or watch a cute guy die because I didn't. I guess I made the wrong choice, because now I'm stuck putting everything on the line for Devon Sinclair. My mom was murdered because of the Families, and it looks like I'm going to end up just like her. . .
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Cold Burn of Magic
By JENNIFER ESTEP
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2015 Jennifer Estep
All rights reserved.
Bad things always come in threes.
Three strikes. Those three bears that Goldilocks ran into.
The three guards with swords who were chasing me right now.
"Come back here, you thief!" one of the guards bellowed, his voice booming across the dark rooftops.
I grinned and ran faster.
Thirty minutes ago, I had let myself into the lavishly furnished, but poorly protected, brownstone of a rich, Family-affiliated accountant who had bought a ruby necklace for his girlfriend—something his wife didn't exactly appreciate.
So I had been dispatched to swipe said necklace on the angry wife's orders and dime. It had been child's play to climb up the drainpipe to the second floor of the brownstone, pick open a balcony door, and slip inside. I hadn't even had to break into the office safe, because I discovered the necklace nestled in a black velvet box, the top open, sitting on the accountant's desk. I'd admired the sparkle of the rubies before closing the lid and tucking the box into my long, sapphire-blue trench coat.
Then I had rifled through the rest of the desk to see what else I could steal.
I'd been mildly surprised and rather pleased to come across a pair of diamond cuff links tucked away in another box in one of the drawers. The diamonds weren't as large and impressive as the rubies, but into my pockets they'd gone all the same, along with a gold fountain pen, a sterling silver letter opener, and a crystal paperweight.
Nothing that I hadn't swiped dozens of times before in my seventeen years. In fact, this job had been easier than most of the recent ones Mo had sent me on.
You might say that I was a sort of modern-day Robin Hood, merrily stealing from the rich. Only I never, ever gave my loot away for free. There were only three people in this world that I cared about—me, myself, and I. Well, maybe four, if you caught me on a good day and I felt like including Mo. Either way, Mo could fend for himself, and mine was quite enough of a mouth to feed, as far as I was concerned.
Once I made sure all the loot was securely tucked away in my coat pockets, I scanned the rest of the office. But the vases and other knickknacks were too awkward and oddly shaped for me to carry away, the furniture far too large and heavy.
Satisfied with my haul, I decided to leave—the exact moment one of the guards stepped into the room to fetch the necklace for his boss.
He had yelled for his two buddies, they'd come crashing into the office, swords drawn, and I had beat a hasty retreat through a side door, up some stairs, and out onto the top of the brownstone before leaping onto the roof of the next house over ... and the one after that ... and the one after that ...
Now, here I was, three minutes later, still racing across the rooftops of some of the nicer brownstones in Cloudburst Falls, West Virginia. The guards had been harder to shake than I'd expected, but I had a plan to take care of that.
I always had a plan.
I neared the edge of the roof and put on an extra burst of speed, preparing myself to leap onto the rooftop of the next house over. Lucky for me, the brownstones in this part of town were grouped closely together, with flat, square roofs, many of which featured gardens or even aviaries. This particular roof boasted both, and the roses fluttered as I raced past them, a few petals swirling up into the humid air, while the doves mournfully coo-coo-cooed about how I'd disturbed their sleep.
It was only a short gap between houses, maybe three feet, and I easily cleared it, my feet churning through the air before my sneakers scraped against solid stone again.
I staggered forward a few steps, my coat flapping around my legs. While I worked to regain my previous speed, I glanced over my shoulder. Even though it was after ten at night, and rain clouds cloaked the sky, I could see the three guards chasing me as clearly as if it were noon, thanks to my Talent for sight. They looked like normal humans, and I couldn't tell if they were boring old mortals or more interesting magicks like me.
The guards didn't seem to have any Talents, any obvious magic. Otherwise, lightning bolts, ice shards, or even balls of fire would have been streaking through the air towards me. Part of me sort of wished the guards were throwing magic at me. It would have made my escape easier.
Because I had another, rather unusual Talent of my own.
But it wasn't meant to be, and the men jumped onto the roof behind me as I leaped onto the next one over—the last on this block.
I raced over to the far side of the roof. This brownstone butted up against a street, which meant that the next building over was more than a hundred feet away, much too far to make the jump. And since this was a private home, there wasn't even a fire escape to climb down, just a rickety metal drainpipe loosely bolted onto the side of the brownstone.
But I already knew that from when I'd cased the neighborhood earlier this evening. In fact, it was the reason I'd run toward this building.
So I dipped my hands into my pockets, sorting through the items there—the necklace box, the other loot I'd swiped, my phone, several quarters, half of a dark chocolate candy bar that I'd been eating earlier while I was watching the accountant's house. Finally, my fingers closed over two pieces of soft, supple metal, and I yanked out a pair of dull silver mesh gloves, which I pulled onto my hands.
The guards easily made the leap. Well, really, for them, it was more like a hop, given their long legs. I turned to face them. The guards grinned and slowed down when they realized I'd run out of rooftops.
One of the guards stepped forward. His green eyes glittered like a tree troll's in the semidarkness, and his black hair was cropped so close to his head that it looked like he was wearing a shadow for a skull cap.
"Give us the necklace, and we'll let you live," he growled. "Otherwise ..."
He swung his sword in a vicious arc, right at my shoulder level.
"Off with my head?" I murmured. "How cliché."
My hand dropped to my waist and the sword that was belted there. I considered sliding the weapon free of its black leather scabbard, raising it into an attack position, and charging forward, but I decided not to. No way was I going to the extra trouble of fighting three guards, not for the pittance that Mo was paying me.
"Come on" he rumbled. "I don't like carving up little girls, but I've done it before."
I didn't think he was being overly insulting with the little girl crack, since he looked to be at least fifty.
So I sighed and slumped my shoulders, as though I were beaten. Then I reached into my coat pocket, drew out the black velvet box, and held it up where the leader could see it. His eyes weren't as good as mine—few people's eyes were—but he recognized the box.
He nodded, stepped forward, and held out his hand.
I grinned and tucked the box back into my pocket. "On second thought, I think I'll hang on to it. Later, fellas."
I hopped onto the ledge of the roof, took hold of the drainpipe, and stepped off into the night air.
The wet metal slid through my fingers like greased lightning. It would have laid the flesh of my palms open to the bone if I hadn't been wearing my gloves. The wind whipped through my black hair, pulling pieces of it free from my ponytail, and I let out a small, happy laugh at the sheer, thrilling rush of plummeting toward the earth. At the last moment, I gripped the drainpipe much tighter, until the screech-screech-screech of metal rang in my ears. But the motion slowed my descent and even caused a bit of smoke to waft up from my gloves.
Five seconds later, my sneakers touched the sidewalk.
I let go of the drainpipe, stepped back, and looked up.
The guards were hanging over the side of the roof, staring at me with gaping mouths. One of them lurched toward the drainpipe, as if to follow me, but in his rush, he ended up ripping the top part of the metal completely away from the brownstone. The rest of the drainpipe broke free from the wall and clattered to the ground, causing a few rusty sparks to shoot through the air. Looked like he was a magick after all, one with a Talent for strength. Chagrined, that guard turned to face the leader and held out the length of pipe.
The leader slapped him upside the head with the hilt of his sword. The second guard dropped out of sight, probably knocked unconscious by the hard blow. Apparently, the leader had also had a strength Talent. The third guard eyed the sidewalk, like he was thinking about leaping over the ledge, but the roof was more than sixty feet above the pavement. There was no way he could survive that high a fall, not unless he had some sort of healing Talent. Even then, it would be a big risk to take and not worth the pain of the broken bones. The guard knew it, too, and backed away from the ledge, which was exactly what I'd been counting on.
When he realized they weren't going to catch me, the leader screamed out his rage and brandished his sword in the air, but that was all he could do.
I gave him a mock salute, then slid my hands into my coat pockets and strolled down the sidewalk, whistling a soft, cheery tune.
Nothing that I hadn't done before.
Despite the late hour, the cobblestone streets of Cloudburst Falls were not deserted.
Far from it.
Lights blazed in the shops, hotels, and restaurants, the golden glows banishing the worst of the shadows in the surrounding alleys, if not the things that lived in them. Mortals and magicks of all shapes, sizes, ages, and ethnicities flowed up and down the sidewalks and into the storefronts, all of which were decorated with castles, swords, and other magic-themed art. In one diner, customers ate at a counter, while winged pixies barely six inches tall flitted through the air, steaming plates of meat loaf and mashed potatoes balanced on their tiny heads.
The customers all looked like normal humans, but it was still easy to tell the magicks from the mortals. The magicks were focused on their cheeseburgers, shakes, and fries, while the mortals let their food get cold, too busy gaping at the pixies zipping all around them to nosh on their tuna melts, grilled cheeses, and club sandwiches. Rubes, most magicks derisively called the mortals, and with good reason.
I stopped at a crosswalk, watching the traffic. Cars with out-of-state license plates and tour buses, mostly, with a few magicks on bicycles pedaling by, using their Talents for strength or speed to easily or quickly churn their legs and pull the cutesy carriages full of canoodling couples along behind them. A sign planted in a flowerbed in the median featured a carving of a white castle. Words in a fancy script on the sign claimed that Cloudburst Falls was "the most magical place in America" a tourist town where "fairy tales are real"
I snorted. Yeah, fairy tales were real here all right—including the monsters that went along with them. Monsters that were fe-fi-fo-fum hungry for all the blood and bones they could sink their teeth and claws into, mortal, magick, or otherwise.
While I waited for the light to change, I raised my gaze to Cloudburst Mountain, the rugged peak that loomed over the city. White clouds cloaked the top of the mountain, the thick fog made out of mist that continually drifted up from the dozens of waterfalls tumbling down the sides. The mist wrapped around the peak like whipped cream on top of a sundae, but the mountain, the falls, and the sweeping views from the top were what the tourists came here to see.
Along with the monsters.
Several different tour companies hauled folks into the surrounding forests and up the mountain so they could observe monsters in their natural habitats, sort of like the Southern version of an African safari. Those who were a little less outdoorsy and adventurous could stay in town, where they could safely ooh and ahh over monsters in parks, petting zoos, and the like, as well as enjoy Cloudburst Falls' overall kitschy, renaissance-faire theme.
Below the cloud line, mansions made out of white, gray, and black stone sprawled across the mountain ridges, the silver lights inside twinkling like stars. During the day, I would have been able to see the flags decorated with symbols that topped the towers in the lavish compounds, but the distant flags were only indistinct blobs in the night sky. The colors and crests represented the Families, or mobs, that made up the power structure here, at least among many of the magicks.
But there were two Families that stood above all the others—the Sinclairs and the Draconis. Their mansions were the biggest, the most impressive, and the highest ones up on the mountain, with the Sinclairs on the west side and the Draconis on the eastern slope. All the other Families were below them, literally.
And me too. Although I had as little respect for the Sinclairs and the Draconis, and their constant feuding, as I did for everything else. You couldn't do the sorts of jobs that I did and follow the rules, much less care about who you pissed off by breaking them.
But I preferred to keep a low profile, for all sorts of reasons, and that meant not stealing from the Families. At least, not from any of their more prominent members. Although their hired hands, like the accountant I'd robbed tonight, were fair game.
Steering clear of the Families was the only real rule I followed. Besides, there were plenty of rich people here in the city to rob, not to mention all the tourists who didn't even realize their wallets, cameras, and phones were missing until they got back to their hotels.
Mo went up the mountain sometimes, though, peddling his many ill-gotten goods to whatever Family would let him sidle in through their doors. My fingers curled around the box in my pocket. I wondered who he would sell the ruby necklace to. Probably some rich Family schmuck looking for a present for someone—or a bribe.
The light changed, and I crossed the street, putting all thoughts of the Sinclairs, Draconis, and other Families out of my mind.
The farther west I walked, the lighter the street and foot traffic got, and the less shiny, polished, and magical everything appeared to be. The bustling businesses disappeared, replaced by dilapidated row houses. Calling this the bad part of town would have been a kindness, since matchsticks glued together would have been more substantial than most of the buildings. Almost every home I passed featured broken concrete steps, sagging wooden porches, and roofs with gaping holes, like something had come along and taken bites out of the dull, weathered tin.
Maybe something had.
In addition to mortals and magicks, monsters made up the third, albeit smallest, part of the population, and they weren't uncommon in this part of town. All of the rundown homes, deserted businesses, and abandoned warehouses made great places for something to curl up and lie in wait for lost tourists to wander by.
I was the only person on the street, and I drew my sword, my blue eyes flicking left and right, peering into the shadows that had crept up to the edge of the sidewalk, thanks to the busted-out streetlights. The pools and patches of blackness didn't bother me, though, not with my Talent for sight. I could see everything around me as clear as day, no matter how dark it actually was.
Like everything else, magic mostly fell into three categories—strength, speed, and senses, which included sight, smell, sound, taste, and touch. The majority of Talents were some variation on those three areas, whether it was the ability to lift a car with one hand, move faster than a snake striking, or hear a coin hit the ground from a hundred feet away. And, as if all that wasn't enough, some folks could even conjure up their magic and hold balls of fire, lightning bolts, or poisonous clouds in the palms of their hands so that everyone could see and feel their power—and potentially be hurt by it.
Excerpted from Cold Burn of Magic by JENNIFER ESTEP. Copyright © 2015 Jennifer Estep. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This was pretty good though it did remind me of her Gin Blanco series. A lot of other people said its a mix between the Gin Blanco series and her Mythos one.I have only read some of the Gin Blanco series so I can only go off of that one. Lila is a very kick ass character, not very well liked but I think that was part of her charm. My first problem that I saw with this book is that this place where Lila is, is supposed to be the most magical place in America. I just saw Jurassic World this last weekend and I'm sorry but it just seems like that is what it would turn out like except in this place none of the monsters are placed behind any barricades. So that is one plot hole that my brain will not let me pass over I am still waiting for like the majority of America to rebel against this place. Maybe since the families are kind of like the Mafia everyone is paid off to not say anything if someone goes missing. Which then I can understand that, but still why would the monster not be behind some sort of walls if the families were indeed trying to protect the population. I myself would like to know more about the secrets Devon's mother is keeping, and Lila must want to know the why herself. I also enjoyed this book because Lila has a little friend that is full of sass who's name is Oscar. Their friendship kind of reminds me of Rachel and Jenks from Kim Harrison's series that just ended and I might be falling in love with the series just because I miss that sort of relationship that Rachel and Jenks had. I hope Oscar might help out Lila more than he has so far. I can see them being a winning team. I am still unsure of how I feel about Felix only because of the Deah problem he has. That could pose a threat or an awesome ally depending on which way Deah sways in the end. Since the two families are at war with each other I don't sense a good ending for those two, but of course I could be wrong and Romeo and Juliet won't make an appearance in this series. The only other character I am also unsure of is Mo I think he knows more than he is letting on and I'm not sure if that is a good or bad thing yet. He is tricky and I think even though Lila trusts him she needs to keep her eyes on him.
I’m a huge Jennifer Estep fan. I loved the Mythos Academy series. So, when I saw she had a new series coming out I was ecstatic. My thoughts… I really did enjoy this book. I really liked the world and the characters. I’m very excited to see what happens next in the series. The Characters… I really liked the characters. There really wasn’t any that I didn’t like. I don’t really have any complaints about any of them. The Plot… First off, I’m going to say that I knew it was that guy. I pretty much thought it was “That person” from the beginning. I personally think that this book is very predictable throughout the whole book. Having said that, I still enjoyed, but this book wasn’t my favorite nor did hate it. Just enjoyed it. Overall thoughts… This is an enjoyable read with very little romance. I would have liked for there to be more, but hopefully the romance will pick up in the next book. The characters were good. I really enjoyed them. But there was nothing that really made them stand out either. So I really hope the next book in the series will do just that. Happy reading 3.5 stars out of 5
Read this- you won't regret it.
Love this entire series, have read everything she's written!
Looking forward to more.
Jennifer Estep has written the first book in her new series perfectly. I was quickly swept away on a magical journey in a fantastical town with creative and complex characters. I loved the voice of the main character, Lyla, and how she evolved as things progressed. She was well developed and had me sympathizing with her. The author built all the characters in a way that allows the reader to see them created and their advancing personalities. You feel as if you are taking the journey with Lila and her friends. The plot was intriguing and I was compelled to keep reading. As soon as this book ended, I was quickly grabbing the sequel to see what was going to happen next. This book gets five glittery stars for a successful beginning to a new series!
Black Blade Book One. "There Be Monsters Here..." In the town of Cloudburst Falls, West Virginia there are magical humans, monsters and mob-like families that keep the townspeople safe from said monsters. After witnessing the murder of her mother, Lila has sworn to stay out of the Families' politics; however, she is pulled back into their world when she saves the life of Devon Sinclair in her friend's store. Now, she's working as his bodyguard until they can figure out who is trying to kill him. If you're looking for a new magical American town with a political tilt, this is most definitely for you!
Jennifer Estep does it again in this series. I love Lila, who is one tough cookie! The world withFamilies ruling a magical heirarchy was believable and interesting. I can't wait to read the second of this seeries to see what happens next.
I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This was my second book by Jennifer Estep. I really enjoyed her adult Elemental Assassin series, and wasn't sure if I would like her foray into YA books. But I did. I am very glad I got to read this book, I loved learning about the world and all of the magic and creatures in it. I will definitely be looking out for the next in the series. Can't wait to see where it takes Lila!
Lila Merriweather lives in a world were there are monsters, fairies, and humans with Talents. She is a 17yr old orphan with two rare Talents that lies, and steals for a living. She works for a man that runs a pawn shop named Moe and the initial view of their relationship reminds you of the Artful Dodger and Fagin. The town that she works for is controlled by several Families, two in particular, that rule like the Mob but have a feud worse than the Hatfields and McCoys. Lila avoids both families at all costs, but one day she can't help save a boy, Devon, that happens to be the son of one of the rival Families. Because of her actions, she's forced into being his bodyguard as someone seems to really want him dead. At the beginning of this book, when we meet Lila, she's very much alone, angry, and above all, a survivalist. She's very street smart and yet holds some beliefs that are reminiscent of her long-gone innocence. Over the course of the book, the biggest change she makes is her ability to let go of some over her anger from the past. She's also able to admit her feelings about some people and accept the idea of having a few friends. I'm fairly new to this author. This being only the second book of hers I've read, but I really loved it. I can't wait to read the next chapter in Lila's life.
Lila is a lot like most of Estep's heroines: smart, a bit hardcore, and fast on her feet. Living in a town where magic is commonplace and divvied up between various Families, Lila makes her living as a thief-for-hire. That is until she helps feel an assault and is catapulted into the middle of a serious feud. Nothing is as it seems and it's up to Lila to figure it out before she's the next victim.
Cold Burn of Magic by Jennifer Estep was a great paranormal mystery! It is the first Black Blade series. Lila Merriweather has been on her own since her mother died four years ago. She tried the foster care system, but got tired of all the moving around and bad homes. Lila now lives in the basement of her local library (of course, no one in the library knows she lives there). Lila goes to normal high school during the day and does jobs for Mo Kaminsky at night and on weekends (as I am sure you can guess, Lila steals for a living. She is very good at it). Mo runs a pawnshop called the Razzle Dazzle (he is also a fence). Mo and Lila live in Cloudburst Falls, West Virginia which has a sign saying it is the most magical place in America. Tourists flock to the town to see the people with magick (this is how it is spelled in the book) and the monsters that live in the town. People who live there have different Talents. Lila has the power of soul sight. She has great eyesight (can see in the dark) and when she looks into someone’s eyes she can see and feel their emotions. Lila also has the power of transference (which is considered a major Talent). She can take magic from someone who uses it against her. The magic she receives makes her strong and powerful for a limited amount of time. When the magic goes through her it feels so cold it is burning (hence the title of the book). Cloudburst Falls is runs by Families (like mob families). Each family owns a different section of town to run and control. Lila does her best to avoid the Families (you can tell if someone belongs to a Family by the bracelet they wear). Lila is at the Razzle Dazzle dropping off a ruby necklace she relieved from its owner the previous night and is waiting for her payment. While she waits two guys and a girl walk into the store. The girl is the body guard to Devon Sinclair. The Sinclair’s are the second highest family in town. Devon is heir to the Sinclair family which is led by his mother, Claudia. While the group is looking around the store, Lila notices a group of men outside the store and sure enough they barge in with their swords (guns are not allowed in the town). Lila does not really want to get involved, but when Devon looks her in the eye she can feel his emotions. That motivates Lila to help. She ends up saving Devon’s life, but she is not able to save his body guard. A few days later she gets a “request” to come to the Sinclair house. Claudia Sinclair wants to hire Lila to be Devon’s new bodyguard. Lila does not want to accept, but she is really not given a choice. Some is out to get Devon and he needs protection. Who is after Devon and why do they want him? Lila will keep protecting Devon while trying to find out who is behind the attacks. I give the Cold Burn of Magic 4.25 out of 5 stars. I enjoyed this book immensely. I liked the different take on magic used in the books as well as the different monsters. One of my favorite characters is the pixie named Oscar. Pixie’s do household chores in exchange for a place to live, clothes, and food. Oscar is assigned to Lila. Oscar is very rude at first to Lila because he is upset over the death of the previous bodyguard (Ashley). Oscar slowly warms up to Lila and he is quite the character (he lives in a little trailer, loves country music, and has a turtle for a pet). I look forward to reading the next book in the series. I received a complimentary copy of Cold Burn of Magic from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The review and opinions expressed are strictly my own.
Read from April 11 to 12, 2015 Book Info Paperback, 368 pages Expected publication: April 28th 2015 by K-Teen original title Cold Burn of Magic ISBN 1617738247 (ISBN13: 9781617738241) edition language English series Black Blade #1 other editions (2) Source:Netgalley EARC Book Buy Links Amazon B&N BOOK SYNOPSIS There Be Monsters Here. . . It's not as great as you'd think, living in a tourist town that's known as "the most magical place in America." Same boring high school, just twice as many monsters under the bridges and rival Families killing each other for power. I try to keep out of it. I've got my mom's bloodiron sword and my slightly illegal home in the basement of the municipal library. And a couple of Talents I try to keep quiet, including very light fingers and a way with a lock pick. But then some nasty characters bring their Family feud into my friend's pawn shop, and I have to make a call--get involved, or watch a cute guy die because I didn't. I guess I made the wrong choice, because now I'm stuck putting everything on the line for Devon Sinclair. My mom was murdered because of the Families, and it looks like I'm going to end up just like her. . My Thoughts Like most readers we all have authors who we feel certain will provide us with a good product, no matter what the genre, no matter what the plot there will be interesting, entertaining and an all around good experience when you crack the pages open on something they have written. As I grow older the list of authors may have changed a bit, as have added so many that were previously new to me or new to the world of being published, but have to say that in 2010 when found Jennifer Estep after reading Spider’s Bite that there will be a long list of work that she has written that I have read and enjoyed. So far have read Elemental Assassins series (of which there are 13 books so far as well as short stories about Gin) and all 6 books in the Mythos Academy series and am just getting more fond of her style of writing as the books come out. The pace was steady, the characters well portrayed, the world came alive more and more the longer you read into the story. What was especially one of my favorite parts is that Lila is one of those people who considers herself to be very grounded almost to the point of being self-centered, she however finds herself unable to become involved with Devon and his Family at which point she also finds out that she is much more like her deceased mother than she ever thought she could be. Lila’s mom was a bodyguard for those with the means to hire her, she was the one who taught Lila how to take of care of herself in a fight and also how to steal to make ends meet when jobs were few and far between. Not the upbringing one would expect of a normal childhood, but than again living in Cloudburst Falls West Virginia and possessing several magical Talents Lila is not exactly a normal young woman. Like Gin Blanco before and Gwen Frost , Lila Weatherby is a survivor. Cloudburst Falls West Virginia is now a make believe destination that I will be returning to. Lila is quite an interesting combination of some of my favorite female characters and the conflict she has found herself embroiled in is both unique to this story as well as very familiar at the same time. After all it is about good battling injustice and evil. Wonder who wins in the end? Have to read the book to find out! Another shining example of a clever imagination with the ability to create characters, conflicts and villains we cannot help but want to learn more about. A great start to what I hope will be a long running series. [EArc from Netgalley in exchange for honest review]
4 Stars! I loved this book! I thought it was a lot of fun to read. I read simply because I want to be entertained and this book grabbed my attention right away and never let go. I am not sure why I tend to enjoy so many YA titles but it may have something to do with the fact that I spend more time with my 14 year old daughter and her friends than I do anyone else. I love discussing books with my daughter and her friends and I can't tell you how happy it makes me just knowing how much they love to read. I was thrilled that this book didn't fall into the love triangle trap that seems to be a required element in this genre. This book was almost completely romance free but a little bit found its way into the book. To be more precise, a little bit of mutual attraction was part of the story and I fully expect that it will be explored further in future installments in this series. I really wish that the story had been kept romance free. I was excited to jump into a new series. I liked the world building in this book and think that the world can be built upon as the series progresses. The magic along with the mob like family power hierarchy was interesting and unique. I have seen a lot of the elements that were used in this story but they were put together in a very interesting manner. I loved that monsters and superstitions were incorporated into the framework of the story. Lila is an awesome character. She is tough, smart, and knows how to take care of herself. While she has survived by stealing, her behavior proves that she is really a good person. She isn't innocent and she is willing to do what needs to be done in order to stay alive even if that means she takes a life. Lila isn't easily pushed around and isn't intimidated by the people in the Family who hold the power. When she finds herself serving as Devon's bodyguard, she does the job well even though it was not a job that she wanted. I liked the other characters in the story quite a bit. Devon was dreamy. Seriously, I might have a little bit of a crush on him. I really wish that he wasn't quite so perfect to be honest. He really was a genuinely nice guy in this story who doesn't take things for granted. Mo was interesting because I never knew who's best interest he was really looking out for. What can I say about Oscar except that I love him. I love a world that includes a redneck pixie that will do your chores. The pacing of this book was perfect. There was a lot of action at various points in the book. I am really impressed by the world building in this story. I never felt like information was being dumped on me which often happens in the first book in a new series. The world building simply happened as the story progressed. There were a lot of characters in this story now that I think about it but they were introduced in a manner that kept the story interesting while defining their role in the overall story. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who likes YA urban fantasy. I have read and enjoyed other books by Jennifer Estep. I cannot wait to get my hands on this next book in this new series. I received a copy of this book from Kensington - Teen via NetGalley for the purpose of providing an honest review.
There are those books that get a 5 star rating because they totally blow you out of the atmosphere from the get go and leave you mentally, and even at times physically exhausted. Then there are those books that are more like a slow burn and you know that you are enjoying the story but it isn't until the end that you realize just how engrossed in the story you were because you find yourself thinking about all the clues that were scattered throughout the story that you didn't catch on top of trying to solve the mysteries that were resolved and what the characters will get involved in next. Cold Burn of Magic definitely falls into the latter category for me. Magic, monsters, mafia style families and a story told through the eyes of a heroine who had to grow up far faster than she should have and is unapologetic when it comes to what she needs to do to survive? That is definitely my cup of tea, though I’ll be honest that I had my reservations due the story falling under the YA genre, but from the first page those reservations died a quick death. Lila, as well the other teens and young adults in the story, are not your typical teens. There are flashes of teenage angst but the world they have grown up in doesn’t allow much of that to happen. As far as Lila is concerned, I have to say that I like her and how she views her world. She is a survivor with a quick wit, and fingers, and while she is unrepentant as well as unapologetic about what she does in order to live, her moral compass is definitely on the good side of the line, even when she doesn’t want it to be. The rest of the cast of characters that we meet helps to give the story and world more depth and makes it that much more interesting. Oscar is probably my absolute favorite by far, I mean how can you not like a Redneck Pixie? Felix and Mo both got on my nerves and yet amused me in equal parts with their antics and then there is Devon. He’s such a good guy that it’s hard not to like him especially after all that he’s been through, though I am kind of hoping that he loses his cool at some point down the road. A lot goes on in this book: You learn about the world it’s set in, the Families, the monsters, Lila’s past, the secrets that the other characters are trying desperately to hide (Some of which I figured out, but most I fell just short of seeing the entire picture), but amazingly enough it wasn’t overwhelming. The way that everything was woven together was done very well and only served to make the world more interesting. Overall: I just really enjoyed everything about this book from the world to the characters and at the time of actually posting this review, which is a few days after finishing the book, I find myself still thinking about all the information that was given in the book and how certain things will play out. So, bring on book two because I want to see if I’ve guessed correctly. ~ I received an ARC from Kensington Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ~
Cold Burn of Magic is an exciting, new, young adult series from Jennifer Estep. Lila has lived secretly in the library basement for a few years now. Her mother was murdered by a powerful magical family that saw her as a threat. Little did they know they left behind an even greater threat...Lila, who has two very powerful magical abilities. When the Lila inadvertently saves Devon, an heir to another powerful magical family, she is forced into protection duty. The magically families are fighting for power, they come across as a magical mafia, and someone is out to get Devon. Ultimately, this is Lila's fight to survive this war. During this trek you meet the magical powers to be as well as a pet tortoise, a drunken pixie and some very unique and scary creatures. Intense action, unexpected plot twists and turns and some romantic tension highlight this highly imaginative read. The story was not quite what I expected but I was still thrilled by the outcome. I am very much looking forward to delving deeper into the Black Blade series. I received this ARC copy of Cold Burn from Kensington Books - Kensington -Teen in exchange for a honest review.
Cold Burn of Magic (Black Blade #1) by Jennifer Estep Seventeen-year-old thief, Lila Merriweather, lives in the magical tourist town of Cloudburst Falls. While at her friend pawn shop, she becomes involved in a feud between the town two most powerful families, the Draconis and the Sinclairs. I have to admit when I started this novel I was a little nervous. Once I have a book, I usually don’t look at other reviews, so I can form my own opinion. When I just started reading this book, I happened to stumble upon a post that said they put this book on their DNF list, and I was bummed. I’m glad I did not let that deter me from reading this story. I can see how the beginning might not interest some people, but I think it contains necessary information that is needed in the rest of the story. In my opinion, Cold Burn of Magic was an interesting narrative that felt unique; the more I read, the harder it became to put down. In this world, there are normal mortals and there are magicks with varying talents and power levels. Some talents are common and others are extremely rare, like the talent Lila Merriweather keeps a secret. The story is told from our heroine, Lila’s viewpoint. She has had a hard life living on her own after her mother’s death. Hiding to stay out of foster care, she becomes a thief in order to survive. She is a fighter, literally and figuratively. I really like Devon Sinclair. He is a good person. He is loyal and responsible. As second in command in the Sinclair family, he is a good leader. He feels guilt for those he feels suffer because of their allegiance to him. Lila and Devon have a lot in common. They both keep secrets. They both do what they feel is right. They are strong individuals who are committed to the ones they care about. Plus, their lives seem to be intertwined. I really enjoyed the plot. Jennifer Estep does a great job with foreshadowing and character development. She created an interesting world full of fantasy an intrigue. Cold Burn of Magic is an excellent foundation for the Black Blade series. I look forward to the next book, Dark Heart of Magic, expecting to be released on October 27, 2015. Complimentary copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.