Cold Burn of Magic (Black Blade #1)

cover61742-mediumAuthor: Jennifer Estep

Publisher: Kensington Books, Kensington -Teen

Rating: 4.5 stars

Buy Links: Amazon

Type: Novel in Series

Received from Publisher


Blurb:  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: I love Jennifer Estep’s adult series, and this teen line is no less wonderful in its world-building and urban fantasy characterization. The gritty, ultra-realistic scenes, the deft dialogue that veers between funny and frightening, and the lack of safe harbor even for the monsters–all these and more add to the same overall stark cityscape that is classic to Ms. Estep. But there’s always an element of hope, of connection, of family and friends that will sacrifice all to keep you safe…and Lila Merriweather has finally found some members to add to hers.

Cloudburst Falls is one scary place. Well known for its monsters and magic, tourists come from all over the world to see them and the rest of the “most magical place in America.” Seventeen-year old Lila is one of the hometown people trying to get by and stay alive among all the gruesome and deadly characters that call the streets home. Orphaned early when her mother was killed right in front of her by one of the notorious Draconis family assassins, Lila’d struggled in the foster care system. She’d escaped at thirteen and headed straight to Mo, her mom’s friend  and the proprietor of “Razzle Dazzle,” the most eclectic pawnshop in town. Thieving might be wrong, but she was good at it and it had paid the bills. Mo’s shop thrived from her work–and his secret clients did as well.

Fate played its hand one afternoon at the Razzle Dazzle. With a skillful show of violence, Lila became an unwitting player in a dangerous game of cat and mouse between the Sinclair family and an unnamed foe. Making her a Family protector just like her mother. Lila didn’t want to be a Protector–she’d watched her mother die that way. But once she’d saved the life of Cloudburst Fall’s leading family scion Devon Sinclair,  she was immediately tapped to become his bodyguard. To protect him. Right where she didn’t want to be.

But sometimes being at the wrong place at the right time can lead you to your destiny. 

It’s a dizzying move, going from the streets to the hilltop mansion of one of the most important families in town. Her own suite of rooms and her own clothes; hot and cold running food, and constant company. Plus the delightful addition of her own personal pixie, Oscar and his pet turtle Tiny. Who refuses to even speak to her–because the position of Devon’s bodyguard is somewhat lacking in longevity. There have been three in the last year, so Oscar doesn’t want to get too attached only to have to clean Lila’s stuff out of the closet in a couple of weeks.

Protecting Devon, finding out who was targeting him, and why was now her job. Even if she didn’t want it to be–his mother Claudia had made that crystal clear. But, there were more than lives at stake. If anyone uncovered the secrets of her past, she would either become hunted by the families because of who she was, or killed because of the Talent she kept hidden inside…

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