White Hot is the second in the Hidden Legacy series. It was much delayed, and probably better for it. The cover is awful. Ignore the cover. The book is good. The first book, Burn for Me, was good too, but this one is better.
After the events of Burn For Me, Nevada Baylor has decided to learn more about magic and her own magical talents. She hasn’t had to worry about romance because Mad Connor Rogan took her at her word and has left her alone. A new case draws her deeper into the House politics of Houston and brings Rogan back into her life. It was a fast and engaging read.
In this urban fantasy world, some people have magic while most do not. Strengths and varieties of magic vary, with genetics playing a large role. The consequence of magic being hereditary is that a feudal element has been reintroduced in society. The Houses have their own governance structure and are only nominally under the jurisdiction of civil society and institutions. While one area of Houston appears post apocalyptic, this is not a society on the verge of collapse. The introduction of magic made the world different, but it did not end the social order.
I haven’t read all of Ilona Andrews series, only Kate Daniels and Hidden Legacy. A common thread between the two series is the benefits and pitfalls of a tribal/feudal society. Kate and Nevada each start their respective series largely outside of the power structures that govern their societies. Kate starts as a mercenary but over time she is connected to many of the factions that struggle for control, and is likely more powerful than any of them. Nevada starts out as a small time investigator with a modest but useful magical talent and a weak affiliation with a magical House. By the end of book 2 he links to Houses are growing, as is her magical power. I hope that someday, Ilona Andrews will write some stories set in these wonderful worlds she builds about people with no magic or abilities who have to get by without. Is it possible for someone with no magic to accumulate wealth and power in Nevada’s Houston?
My final thought is that as fantastical as the events in the book are, the ability to get anywhere in Houston without running into insane traffic is the most fantastic. There is a scene in which characters are racing down a highway ramp. I have never seen an empty highway ramp in Houston during day light hours.