Monday, May 29, 2017

ARC Review: White Hot by Ilona Andrews

Don't judge this book by its cover!
There are a bunch of Ilona Andrews fans around here, Wenches who have loved the Kate Daniels series for years, and even one or two who enjoy their Cleansweep series. I fully admit that I am not one of those Wenches; I don't enjoy Kate Daniels, it's just not my cup of tea, and I've never read a Cleansweep book. So way back in 2014 when an ARC of the brand-new Burn for Me showed up on my doorstep, I put it in an envelope and mailed it to Wench Amanda, and promptly forgot about it. Amanda reviewed it here

A few months later Wench Olga had read Burn for Me and blackmailed talked me into giving it a try, in return for her reading something I had fallen in love with. I don't even remember what at this point, so Olga wins this round. Anyway, I reluctantly read Burn for Me, although I kept my mind open, and said mind was blown completely away. Completely and utterly floored by the most perfect PNR/UF book I have ever read. The only problem was, while the Andrewses were contracted for at least three books, the publisher didn't have a plan for books two and three, and life happened, so we've been waiting for book two since 2014. In book years that's a really long time! 

But the time has finally come, White Hot is finished, is hitting bookshelves tomorrow, and the third book, Wildfire, will be in our hot little hands in about two months. But the best part is, that I have already read White Hot and it was worth every single second of the nearly three-year wait. Come with me through the jump and I'll tell you all about how Hidden Legacy continues to be the gold-standard for UF/PNR series. I'll try and keep the spoilers to a minimum. 


This is one of those situations where I've read this amazing book, there's no one to talk with about it yet, and now I have to try and corral my thoughts into a review that gives nothing away, all while the utter awesomeness of the book is roiling through my mind. But, you guys. This book was perfection. Absolute perfection in written form. 

Lets start with Nevada. Neva is such a great character. Her loyalty, strength, humor, and honor make her exactly the kind of heroine we all want to read about. I adore her relationship with her family, but I also adore each member of the family. Where Nevada started to suspect some things about herself in the first book, she has clearly
been getting to know her talents in the months that have passed, she quickly accepted those talents, and she's working to harness them. I LOVE that she isn't shying away from what could be a very uncomfortable growing pain, she isn't pretending she is still what she always was, or hiding from herself. She faced herself head-on and learned to handle it, grew into her powers like the boss she is. That badass is quickly moving up my list of best heroines ever.


Then there's the Baylor family. In White Hot we learn a lot more about the individual magic of the members of the family. I won't give anything away, but I will say that is one exceptionally talented family. But it's not just badassery that makes the Baylors exceptional. They are also incredibly supportive, the definition of ride or die. In the first book we saw how Nevada protects and supports her family, and in White Hot we got to see how they work together to take care of one another. And it's awesome. Of course, I also love the Baylors smartassery. These brilliant people are hilarious and their teasing just shows how much they love each other!

As befitting the second book in a series, the Hidden Legacy world starts expanding, we get a clearer picture of how magic and the magical world work, and we get a better idea of the gifts and personalities of some of the people we met in the first book. Bug in a normal setting is even better than Bug in a sunken office building. Augustine is actually funny, even if he's too calculating for his own good. And Cornelius's powers are delightful. Plus, his daughter, Mathilda is a bright spot. The supporting characters are wonderful, filling out the richly-written world. 

And who could forget Connor "Mad" Rogan? That man has rapidly joined the ranks of my favorite alphas ever. He's the perfect combination of frighteningly powerful, brilliant, sexy, arrogant, and devoted that makes me putty in an author's hands. He declared his intentions in the final scene of Burn for Me and follows through in White Hot. The flirty banter is
#tactile
delightful, the protectiveness swoonworthy, and the sexual tension is eye-melting. It's very obvious very early that Rogan and Nevada are the end game, and I LOVE THAT! I love when a relationship is real and honest from the beginning, no games, no manufactured drama. Just two people working through their obstacles together. With snark and chemistry. Who could ask for more. We also get a deeper understanding of what makes Mad Rogan tick, from his parents' marriage to his childhood to experiences in the army. We, and Nevada, learn what makes him who he is, and we love him even more for it. 


The pace of this book was bananas. There was hardly a moment to breathe from beginning to end, making it utterly unputdownable. The way that the Andrewses solved one problem, while revealing a larger problem was a stroke of genius. This book felt very much like an onion, with hidden layers under every prior reveal. There were tons of answers, yet there is still so much to learn. I can't wait to read on and discover the rest of the unanswered questions. Thankfully, I don't have to wait at all, and the rest of you only have two months!

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