There Be Monsters Here. . .
It's not as great as you'd think, living in a tourist town that's known as "the most magical place in America." Same boring high school, just twice as many monsters under the bridges and rival Families killing each other for power.
I try to keep out of it. I've got my mom's bloodiron sword and my slightly illegal home in the basement of the municipal library. And a couple of Talents I try to keep quiet, including very light fingers and a way with a lock pick.
But then some nasty characters bring their Family feud into my friend's pawn shop, and I have to make a call--get involved, or watch a cute guy die because I didn't. I guess I made the wrong choice, because now I'm stuck putting everything on the line for Devon Sinclair. My mom was murdered because of the Families, and it looks like I'm going to end up just like her. . .
Estep (the Mythos Academy series) opens the Black Blade series with an indulgently fun romp full of "lochness" monsters, tree trolls, and housekeeping pixies. Seventeen-year-old Lila Merriweather is a "modern-day Robin Hood," stealing from the wealthy individuals who make their living on the tourist "rubes" eager to see monsters, "magicks," and more in Cloudburst Falls, W. Va. Lila is content to live in the shadows, far from the warring dynasty families who run the town and the memory of her mother's murder. Yet a chance encounter leaves her with no choice but to protect the heir of a prestigious family, the handsome and mysterious Devon Sinclair. Using her hidden talents and street smarts to stay ahead of Devon's attackers, Lila uncovers unpredictable betrayals and a sense of home she never thought possible. Though background details are repetitive, and the romantic scenes between Devon and Lila can be a bit clich d, fierce Lila, talkative father figure Mo, and honeybeer-swilling pixie Oscar are well worth getting to know. Steeped in gripping action scenes, Estep's novel is a welcome twist on familiar fantasy themes. Ages 14 up.
Customer ReviewsSee All
a less romance-heavy story with some charming characters and great world building – this is the stor
It’s been a while since I went into a paranormal story that wasn’t promoted as romance, and with my first introduction to Jennifer Estep’s work, I was curious to see where things would go.
Now, other readers more familiar with her work may find that the romance was missing: I didn’t. I truly enjoyed Lila and her story, juggling her life in high school with her talents and work as a bodyguard, while keeping her need to avenge her mother’s murder in control. She’s got a singularly strong voice, is aware of her strengths and weaknesses, and isn’t afraid to make amends or her missteps. She is young, but so very likable and clear in her focus with some solidly developed quirks that just made me smile.
World building in this story was prevalent, it’s the first in the series and to be expected, but the detail and clarity with which Estep delivered history, interactions, feuds, mythos and powers flowed neatly without feeling like an info-dump, and each element seemed to clearly present or tie to a particular person or personality trait, making it all feel seamless and natural.
Secondary characters are fully-fleshed out and have all their own good and bad traits, much is still on the ‘honeymoon’ phase for readers, so little nuggets of more are dropped as hints, some of which do manage to forewarn upcoming events. For me, the only less than cleverly presented element was the mystery of ‘who did it”. I’m not a reader who spends the whole time ferreting out the “culprit’ in a mystery: while I balance all of the clues (real and not) I just want the author to tell their story as they see fit, reveal information and present a solution that makes sense. Here, the clues were more blatant, the red flags started waving and dancing early and often: but here’s the important thing: It did not matter. The story was strong enough in characters, action, magic and charm to not let the early solution for me ruin the reveal and conclusion. I’m thrilled I finally sat down and read this story, and think if you want a less romance-heavy story with some charming characters and great world building – this is the story for you.
I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
I just finished Cold Burn of Magic. I really liked it. I normally don't like YA books. But, I could picture the new world completely. The characters were relatable because you feel like you would make the same decisions. I am going to suggest this book for my daughter to read. I can't wait to read the next book.
I truly enjoyed this book! I love all of her books. I wasn't sure if this one was going to be as good but it was wonderful new addition to her books. With a great plot and wonderful characters. Can't wait for the next one! Keep up the good work jennifer estep !😃