Tuesday 25 December 2018

#CBR10 Book 105: "Diamond Fire" by Ilona Andrews

Page count: 160 pages
Rating: 4.5 stars

Spoiler warning! This novella takes place after the events of Wildfire and this review may spoil things for any reader who has not finished the original Hidden Legacy trilogy. Proceed at your own risk.

Nevada Baylor is marrying Connor Rogan, and that means a huge society wedding with countless guests, including many of Rogan's family members from all over the world. After the bride runs off numerous wedding planners, her sisters Catalina and Arabella decide to take over the wedding planning duties. It turns out that dealing with her older sister's increasingly erratic demands is child's play compared to some of the other challenges Catalina suddenly faces. Rogan's mother lets her know that a priceless family tiara, which Nevada is supposed to wear to the ceremony, has been stolen, most likely by one of the relatives from out of town. In addition, it seems someone is trying to poison the wedding cake.

Catalina has always been reluctant to use her magic, because it's never brought her anything but trouble and grief. To track down the culprit behind the tiara robbery, not to mention revealing the identity of the person willing to kill one or several of the wedding party, she will have to bury her misgivings and start using her gifts.

This novella starts with Nevada's POV and shows the readers how Nevada, the main character and heroine of the first three Hidden Legacy books finally meets the mother of her fiancee, who turns out to be just as formidable as you might imagine Connor "The Scourge of Mexico" Rogan's mother to be. It then cuts to two months later, where we see the rest of the story through the eyes of Catalina, her younger sister, Nevada's maid of honour and wedding planner. As there will be a new trilogy, starring Catalina, and set some years in the future of this story, the readers get a taste of what's to come and what Catalina can actually do with her rather mysterious powers. This is a bridging story and it works very well indeed.

The Rogans have a ton of relatives come over from Europe and while some are lovely, there are others who are utterly horrible. Catalina faces the difficult task having to figure of which of the groom's relatives are duplicitous and may have committed theft to sabotage the ceremony, as well as having to identify who is crazy and angry enough to try to poison the wedding cake. She's only eighteen and due to her powers, has kept herself a lot more isolated than her two sisters. Nevertheless, she loves her sister more than anything and with the help of her family members in Baylor Investigations, not to mention Rogan's many security operatives, she is determined to make sure Nevada has the wedding of her dreams.

Nevada is a much better investigator than her sister, as well as older and more experienced, but the main point of this story is clearly to show Catalina having to push herself out of her comfort zone and coming to terms with what she's capable of, so she can become a worthy heroine in the next trilogy. It doesn't mean that it's not very entertaining following her (as well as all of the colourful family members of the Baylor clan who we've already come to know) in this story and pretty much the only reason I'm not rating the novella five stars is that it felt too short, and I wanted more.

Sapphire Flames, the first book in Catalina's full trilogy, is out on August 27th (my 40th birthday!) and I can't wait to see what my favourite paranormal fantasy writers have in store for her.

Judging a book by its cover: I have talked about the myriad awful book covers that Ilona Andrews has had in the past, compared to many, this isn't actually too bad. Not a huge fan of the pink and purple pastel, and the torso on the cover model seems weirdly elongated and out of proportion somehow, but considering this is a novella in the same series which includes White Hot (also known as possibly the worst cover art of any book I own), this cover is just fine.

Crossposted on Cannonball Read.

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