I tend to be a bit bad/sporadic about tracking authors and series that I read, so when someone mentioned Ilona Andrews the other day, it served as a reminder to check if a new Kate Daniels was out or at least available for pre-order yet. Instead, I was surprised to see that not only had they finally released the sequel to Burn for Me, but somehow two follow ups were available.
Since I had only a vague recollection of the first of the Hidden Legacy novels, and quickly reading through the final scene didn’t help jog my memory too much, I figured I might as well re-read this one, especially since I started my whole Ilona Andrews, urban fantasy, and historical romance reading binges after I had stopped reviewing for previous Cannonball Reads.
The Hidden Legacy novels take place in an alternate universe, where in the mid 19th century, scientists discovered a serum that could bring out innate magical abilities in its takers. Many people had already taken the serum before it was eventually pulled since the higher powers had realized how much magic could disrupt the world, but since the magic was hereditary, the damage had already been done, and the world is now divided up into magic users and non magic users. Furthermore, the magic users themselves are classified into levels, with Prime being the highest, where families of Prime magic users are divided into powerful Houses and beyond the law.
Nevada Baylor runs her family’s PI firm, and tries to stay from house politics as much as possible. She has a relatively passive power, and can tell when people are lying, but she and her quirky family keep her abilities close to the chest to prevent any powerful people or institutions from trying to force her into a life as a interrogator. Given previous family difficulties, a larger, more powerful investigation firm owns the Baylors’ company mortgage, which is how Nevada finds herself roped into a case way above her pay grade and her resources.
Adam Pierce, a bad boy of House Pierce, a family of fire magicians, has gotten himself into the type of trouble with the law that even his family’s money and influence can’t get him out of, and his family wants him returned safely to the family, not law enforcement. In her attempts to make contact with Adam and convince him to go to his family willingly, Nevada crosses paths with Mad Rogan, a powerful telekinetic, leader of House Rogan, and man with a reputation based on past military service and destructive power. Rogan doesn’t care about Pierce but he is trying to find his cousin’s son who was entangled in Pierce’s shenanigans. As the two decide to combine forces, Rogan and Nevada realize that there is more going on than the regular acting out of the black sheep son, and they soon find themselves on a short time line as they try to get to the bottom of it all.
I thought the novel did a great job of setting the stage and world building as the first of the series. It helps that they don’t make too many changes from the current world, just add in the fact that we have ruling families of magicians and magic users (the parallels to our world are even addressed in a later novel). Additionally, the authors know how to take their time, so they don’t try to explain everything about the family or the powerful houses in this first novel, introducing Nevada and her family (grandmother, mother, two teen sisters and two teen cousins) without spending too much time on all their stories. And of course, there is a lot of chemistry between Nevada and Rogan even as they keep arguing and butting heads. Or especially as they keep arguing and butting heads. If you have already read Ilona Andrews, you of course have to read this series; if you haven’t, this wouldn’t be a bad place to start – while the Kate Daniels series is the longest running of their series, its first novel was written when they were still finding their voice; by the time this was released, they had very much settled into who they were as a writing team and the types of characters that populated their stories.