I stayed up longer than usual to finish reading SAPPHIRE FLAMES by Ilona Andrews. I hardly ever do that anymore, so it takes a really good book that I can’t put down to keep me up into the wee hours.
When I want a book with wild imagination, lots of action, and even more battles, my go to is Ilona Andrews. The same can be said for tons of other readers. She’s a New York Times best-selling author, because she delivers. When I want shivers but no horror, she delivers that, too. Time after time, in every book, her protagonists (female and her romantic interest) look like there’s no way they can survive their newest threat. The odds always seem impossible. And of course, they somehow manage to scrape through alive. They face mages who can shred minds, reach into another sphere to pull out monsters, or amass armies. It’s wonderful fun.
In the first set of three books featuring Catalina’s family–starting with BURN FOR ME–the books revolve around Nevada and Rogan. Nevada’s the oldest sister in the family, who’s struggling to keep the family’s detective agency solvent after her father dies and to keep food on the table. When she takes on her latest case, she runs smack into “Mad” Rogan. She and Rogan got three books before their HEA, and they were great together.
SAPPHIRE FLAMES is the first book in the second part of the series, featuring Nevada’s sister Catalina and her romantic interest, Alessandro. There are references to the first books in the series, but I think there’s enough information that you could read this set without reading the first. And this set has a different feel. I can’t remember reading a more dashing hero than Alessandro. He’s gorgeous. He’s sexy. He’s Italian and a count. And he’s deadly. Plus, he really, really wants Catalina.
The especially fun part about Alessandro is that his magic negates anyone else’s magic he’s close enough to. AND if there’s any kind of weapon close enough, he can have a copy of it in his hand to use. When he battles, he can go through weapons one after another until he finds the right one to finish his opponent. My favorite example of this is when he and Catalina are battling a mage who can change into a huge killing beast, and he shoots her over and over again at a building site and finally ends up with a chain saw in his hand while Catalina hacks at her head with a sword. Nice family fun.
Catalina’s magic struck me as more subtle, but it’s every bit as deadly. She can wrap her magic around anyone and make them love her to the point that they’ll do anything she asks to make her happy. She’s VERY careful of her magic and has to hold it in so that it doesn’t affect innocent people. She uses her magic in really surprising ways, and I enjoyed watching her get out of deadly situations by being so clever.
And when you put Catalina and Alessandro together…sparks fly. Chemistry explodes. I knew they wouldn’t get together at the end of the book (since it’s book one in what I assume will be three), but oh, I wanted them together! I should mention quickly that Catalina’s family and friends are all wonderful in their own ways, as well. And as you can tell by this long, gushing review, I absolutely loved this book.