Review: Sapphire Flames by Ilona Andrews

Posted March 20, 2021 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 6 Comments

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Review: Sapphire Flames by Ilona Andrews
Sapphire Flames

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two-flames


Series: Hidden Legacy #4
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Published by Avon
Released on August 27, 2019
Pages: 359
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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The Delight:

Another capable, gifted, and tough Baylor sister is faced with insurmountable odds and a devilishly exciting hero at her side to fight off things that do more than go bump in the night.  I was excited to see the series reset for an all new series arc after the breath-stealing first three books and curious to see how Catalina shaped up in the spotlight.  The fact that I devoured this book in two sittings probably hints broadly at how this went.

 

Review:
Sapphire Flames is the fourth in the Hidden Legacy series and the first of the Catalina books.  Though it starts with a new lead and a new series arc, I don’t recommend jumping in here, but rather going to the beginning to catch the world building and development of the characters.

Catalina Baylor is called out by Augustine to help rescue a suicidal teen who has just lost his mother and one sister in a house fire.  The remaining sister is a friend who once saved her and her family’s lives so when she realizes there are aspects of the case that aren’t adding up, she doesn’t hesitate to  take on the investigation even though Augustine warns her off.

During the course of her investigation when she gets in a tight spot, the last person she could ever imagine, her not-s0 secret crush and popular, wealthy playboy Alessandro Sagredo, swoops in like a trained operative and gets her out of the jam.  Obviously the man has secrets and she isn’t so sure she should be swooning over his Instagram pics now that she suspects he’s a killer for hire.  But, he is a powerful ally and those are few on the ground as she and her family as well as the two clients find themselves up against powerful adversaries who don’t want them to discover the truth behind the murder and the disturbing appearances of magically warped humans now monsters.

In the end, Catalina must make some pretty tough choices, let loose her powerful magic, and make promises that will change everything including the chance at true love.

Sapphire Flames is both first book and ongoing series installment.  I thought it did well as both.  This made for slower and more ponderous pacing as it reset and got the reader up to speed, but the usual suspense, action, character development, and emerging romance were there.

The first thing that struck me was the change in lead characters.  I loved Nevada and wasn’t sure how I’d feel about Catalina.  Nevada doesn’t appear in the story so I didn’t have to see them in the same scene and I think it was good that I waited a bit before diving into this next season of the series so there was some distance for me and I could welcome Catalina without Nevada’s presence being so strong in my mind.  I ended up having no trouble making the transition between heroines who are different in personality and this comes across well.  Catalina is more pragmatic and she got the benefit of training for her role under the mentorship of Rogan’s mother.  There are similar challenges for the sisters to face so that felt familiar, but how they responded to the challenges was were the difference lies.

And, then there is Alessandro Sagredo.  Much different from Mad Rogan and not just in their magic types.  Rogan came right at his enemies and Nevada while Alessandro is a suave man of mystery even by the end of the book.  He is not the playboy- or not only the playboy who makes women including Catalina swoon.  He was a credible partner for Catalina even though he has a tendency to not credit her with the ability to face acute danger.  Of course, she is aware herself that her past might have given him that impression legitimately since she was willing to let Nevada and her younger sister do the heavy lifting while she hid, scared of her magic.  I do give him kudos for not letting Catalina push him away with her usual fears and excuses that she can’t get close to anyone or she’d entrance them.  It will be interesting to see where things go in the next few books because things ended with both of them encountering complications that will keep them apart.

As to the investigation and action plot, this is somewhat straightforward and a bit mystery as the Baylors and Alessandro work to figure out who killed a mother and daughter and why then digging into matters to see the connections to a shady business firm.  Oh, and where the magically warped are coming from.  Some of this was resolved in gritty, pulse-pounding action, but part will carry over as the series conflict.

All in all, this was an exciting book and I was relieved that the change in heroine and series arc went well.  Those who love an amazing urban fantasy world, colorful characters, a fun magically family, a slow-burn romance, and plenty suspense and action should definitely pick this series up.

 

Challenges Met:

Can You Read a Series in a Month #1

COYER Seasons #10

Mt. TBR #40

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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Anne - Books of My Heart

I loved this so much! It’s my favorite author and everything they write works for me.

Sophia Rose
3 months ago

They really do write the best stuff. 🙂

Rachel
3 months ago

I ended up loving Catalina a lot more than I thought I would. She had a distinctly different personality. It helped that there’s a change in audio narrators, and to one I really liked. Rene Raudman will always be Nevada to me, or Kate Daniels.

Sophia Rose
3 months ago
Reply to  Rachel

Yes, I was so relieved to lover her as much as Nevada just differently. Oh, no Rene? I liked her for their Innkeeper Chronicles and Edge series, but haven’t listened to her as Kate or Hidden Legacy. Glad the new narrator is just as good.

Jen
Jen
3 months ago

I remember being worried I would have trouble transitioning to a new MC, but the authors do such a great job, I was sucked in from the start!

Sophia Rose
3 months ago
Reply to  Jen

It went so much better than I expected, but I should have known better. They are fab writers. Yes, sucked in is how I felt, too, Jen.