White Hot is book two in the Hidden Legacy series by Ilona Andrews. Book one, Burn for Me, was a very successful and action packed story. Can the second book in a three book series live up to this, or will it hit the “middle book” slump so many suffer from? I am here to tell you it is a HUGE success. If book one ramped up to ten, book two starts all the way at eleven (yes that is a Spinaltap reference, if you don’t get it go ask your mum) I found it to be a page turner, and while the story line closes, not leaving us dangling cliffside, we are left wanting the next book in hand and immediately if not sooner. Luckily it is due out this fall, but it is going to be a long summer while we wait.
We start just about exactly where the first book left off. This story is able to stand on its own, but also provides MRFG’s (Mad Rogan Fan Girls, of which I am one) with no gaps, forcing us to wonder if we missed something. Ilona Andrews (that would be Ilona and Andrew Gordon, a dynamic writing duo) does a spectacular job of helping a new reader feel welcome; weaving information you need to know into the chapters, while not making an MRFG skim because “geesh I know that already”. This is a hidden talent that all authors should aspire to, hidden only because it is so smooth you don’t notice.
The story was fast paced, I actually had to take a day off work because I started it the night before, foolishly thinking I would be able to put it down. Just when you would think you know what would happen, SURPRISE, they tack and you find the boat has turned and you are sailing into a different wind. I loved how they acknowledged the furthering of the relationships between characters, without predictable outcomes (and that is all I am going to give you on that). Unexpected conditions drive wedges into all matters of Nevada’s (our heroine) life. The authors wisely acknowledge all of the supporting cast, which gets larger as a series grows, without focusing too much on them. We are happy to see everyone return, but do not feel overwhelmed, as if it is some huge family reunion and your grandmother is dragging you from table to table introducing a third cousin, who’s name you have already forgotten, which is terrible because you know later there would totally be a quiz.
If you forced me to find one thing about the book that I didn’t like it would be the publisher forced cover. Ilona jokingly takes on the cover curse in a facebook post, and I am excited to say for book three they made the model put on a shirt (more likely photo shopped one on him, but I won’t complain). My personal favorite version of the White Hot cover a fan photoshopped a Hello Kitty shirt on MR.
The writing is intelligent and the story is full of feeling. I hate that the publisher tries to pigeonhole it into some hot romance mold. Oh don’t get me wrong , it is hot. Very hot. Ilona writes a hellofa love story, but it is about more than his abs. I enjoy that the stories are well written and dynamic, with fully flushed out characters, both main and supporting cast, and incredible world building. I think the publisher does the reader a grave disservice by taking the cover to such low brow place, but that is just me and is an argument for a different blog post.
I give this book, the whole series, two thumbs up, 5 out of five stars and an “oh you are totally gonna read that again” endorsement. So much that I have a SIGNED copy of Burn For Me AND a SIGNED ARC of White Hot to give away ON MAY 12th! Keep an eye out for the contest to be posted later this week! Pre-order your own copy here!
Nevada Baylor has a unique and secret skill—she knows when people are lying—and she’s used that magic (along with plain, hard work) to keep her colorful and close-knit family’s detective agency afloat. But her new case pits her against the shadowy forces that almost destroyed the city of Houston once before, bringing Nevada back into contact with Connor “Mad” Rogan.
Rogan is a billionaire Prime—the highest rank of magic user—and as unreadable as ever, despite Nevada’s “talent.” But there’s no hiding the sparks between them. Now that the stakes are even higher, both professionally and personally, and their foes are unimaginably powerful, Rogan and Nevada will find that nothing burns like ice …