Saturday, June 13, 2015

Review: Cold Burn of Magic by Jennifer Estep

Title: Cold Burn of Magic (Black Blade #1)
Author: Jennifer Estep
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Fantasy
Source: Kensington Books via NetGalley

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. . .
Review by Nara

It's interesting: while a lot of the plot in Jennifer Estep's YA books seem a bit generic in terms of paranormal fantasies, something about Estep's writing means that it kind of doesn't matter. Her plots are always so fast paced and packed with exciting event after exciting event. And underlying all that action are the mysteries- which are, to be frank, a bit predictable, but again, so well executed that it doesn't matter too much.

I have to say, the romance probably could've been better developed. There was a bit of the whole "our eyes met from across the room and we connected" sort of thing, which I guess was mayyyybe okay, because that feeling was linked in to one of Lila's magical abilities, but it did leave me not being particularly invested in the relationship between Lila and Devon. Plus there was this whole tragic backstory to do with her mother which linked with Devon's past, which I wasn't too fond of, again because it's a bit cliched.

I think where this book shines are the characters. Main character Lila is a freaking badass. She's had quite a difficult life (as do a lot of YA protagonists actually. When will we find a main character who has a really nice family, and great friends and just has a nice life in general? I guess never haha. Would make for a boring story. Anyway, I should get back to the review) but she's been able to make the most of what she has- including her magic. The magic is quite creative- and gives the book its title (how? Read for yourself haha). I'm definitely interested in seeing how Lila's powers will be further developed in sequels.

So basically, if you're looking for a great action packed paranormal series, I'd definitely recommend this one.

Really liked it
Overall: 8/10
Plot: 4/5
Romance: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
World Building: 3/5
Characters: 4/5
Cover: 3.5/5