The novel picks up two months after the event of Burn for Me, and starts when Cornelius Harrison, a witness in the previous novel, comes to Nevada’s office to hire her to investigate his wife’s murder. Despite her better judgement, Nevada takes on the case because she understands Cornelius’s motivations and desire to get an explanation of what happened to his wife as he and his young daughter face life without her. Normally, the House that employs people would investigate their murder, but House Forsberg is disavowing itself and claiming that the murder of four of its employees in one location was not work related. Obviously, there is a larger cover up at work here.
It doesn’t take long to realize that once again Rogan and Nevada are investigating the same case and that this is connected to the conspiracy discovered in Burn for Me. Rogan has been absent from Nevada’s life for the last two months so there is some tension between the two as they start working together, but as they work together, they have to trust and rely on each other until Nevada finally drops her guard.
While the previous novel mentioned that Nevada’s mother, a former sniper, has magically enhanced aim, and her grandmother is gifted with machinery, this novel starts getting into the other siblings/cousins as well. It is obvious that Nevada doesn’t just have minor magic but instead is part of a strongly gifted family who have some rather unique and varied abilities. Nevada has used the last two months to train her national capabilities, and has to face the fact that her magical capabilities and the story she and her family have been telling themselves are not in line with reality.
In addition to the fact that the novel expands on Nevada’s family history, I also quite enjoyed the amount of thought that the authors put into the magic abilities of the characters. Specifically, Cornelius is an animal mage, and can communicate/bond with animals. While that sounds like an incredible ability to have, the novel also dwells into how that could affect someone mentally, mentioning that some animal mages bond with animals so young that they never develop the ability to speak and have a hard time with human interactions. I appreciated that they took the time to think of the affects these types of skills would have rather than just having a parade of adorable animals (which are totally also in the novel) show up as assistants and pets. Also, since the cover for this is horrible I am using a picture of a Himalayan cat (Cornelius’s daughter Matilda carries one around with her most of the novel).
The novel also introduces more types of magic (ice, mind control etc), and goes into some of the less savory aspects of House politics. While I of course enjoyed the relationship between Rogan and Nevada, the parts of the novel that really made it stand out were all the extra details, the world building and the other characters.