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April 20, 2015

A Shot of YA: Cold Burn of Magic by Jennifer Estep

Series: Black Blade 1
Format: eGalley
Release Date: April 24, 2015
Publisher: Kensington Teen
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: YA Fantasy
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.


I am starting to think that Jennifer Estep is truly a magical being. Only she can pull me out of a reading rut and leave me impressed, excited, and motivated to read some more. COLD BURN OF MAGIC is the latest masterpiece by this fantastic wordsmith, it's YA urban fantasy that has magic elements in it, mafia-like families, a conflicted heroine, an understated hero, and a lot of bad guys afoot. 

First impression is, Lila Merriweather could easily be Gin Blanco's (Elemental Assassin) daughter or the Ashland Assassin herself in another life. Maybe it's just me, but I found a few similarities between Black Blade and EA. No complaints here, I have yet to read JEstep's other books and if this is her formula, then I don't mind drinking her Kool-Aid again and again.

The world building is very UF, a small tourist town populated by monsters and people with magick. Instead of elemental powers, Black Blade's characters have Talents. Like they can compel you, absorb your powers, mimic it, sight, etc. Cloudburst Falls is ruled by Families, the Sinclairs and Darconi, they're like the mafia, very organized, influential, and powerful. Apart from the Talented, there's also a peppering of magical creatures which the Families "control" and protect the humans, aka "rubes", from.

The characters are similar to EA's personalities, I can point out a few of them that is reminiscent of the inhabitants of Ashland. The bad guys, like the Draconi, are very cold, conniving, ruthless, greedy, very easy to spot and hate. The supposed good guys are more gray in that they're similar to the good guys in that they will not hesitate to take you down. The only difference is they still have some morality left in them. Take Lila herself, she's an orphan who took over the "family business", meaning she's a thief for hire who've killed a few people in some of her mission in self defense. You won't see nor feel remorse from Lila in this respect, it's easy to like her actually, the difference is she has conscience and still leans towards doing what's right, or in some cases, the lesser of evils.

COLD BURN OF MAGIC might not have a strong romantic element but it has some teen infatuations brewing for it. As expected, Lila is sort of paired up with Devon Sinclair. The seemingly fragile, but very important member of the Sinclair Family whom Lila is hired to guard. Don't be fooled though, Devon's got some surprises up his sleeves and the dude isn't as breakable as you thought he is when you first meet him. There's also some forbidden love going on here with the other characters, I'll leave that for you to discover. I don't intend to tease, I mentioned it to highlight that Black Blade isn't centripetal to Lila, she might drive the story but the other characters have their own story to tell and are just as interesting. 

Speaking of the supporting cast. COLD BURN OF MAGIC is abundant in interesting characters. My favorite has to be Oliver, Lila's pixie who has an attitude problem but very adorable. The dude also has a drinking problem, he's addicted to honeybeer and would chug them sweet beverage down when he's upset. 

There's a wealth of things I can tell you about COLD BURN OF MAGIC. But that won't be fun. I'll leave it to you to experience this novel for yourself instead. In the next couple of weeks, you'll see several rave reviews for Black Blade 1, trust them, we're not exaggerating. JEstep's latest novel is fantabulous don't make the mistake of missing it!







Talk Supe


50 comments:

  1. Ooh, this sounds like a fascinating start to a series, Braine. I've not read Estep at all but she's on my must read list. Maybe I'll start here?

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  2. That's what I would do. No pressure to keep up or adding tons of books to your TBR. This will give you a taste for her work though

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  3. The word "magic" in the title caught my eye! I thought it was about witches, but it definitely sounds like something I'll enjoy. Great review, Braine!

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  4. Man, I LOVE this blog!!! Every time, Braine, every single time... This is another completely new author/book to me, but boy, do I suspect I'm going to love her/it! Everything sounds awesome - the concept, the heroine, the supporting character, the writing itself. Thank you! Can't wait to read it!!!

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    1. Awww shucks! Now you're just flattering me :P

      Kidding aside, you SHOULD try Jennifer Estep. She's one of the best fantasy authors out there.

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  5. I have a lot of catching up to do with her other series still but this one sounds fantastic!

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    1. This is very much like Elemental Assassin in terms of feel. She even mentioned Ashland and the settings of her other series, Bigtime. You'll love this Candace!

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  6. I didn't realize she has a new series coming out. I'm on the 3rd book of the Elemental series and still trying to warm up to it. I like this the sound of this one though.

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    1. If you like EA, you'll enjoy this one as well. Lila is like a young Gin.

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  7. Hmm, the main and secondary characters sound well done, and something I could enjoy.

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    1. JEstep writes fantastic characters!

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  8. It looks like the start of a great series (keyword : "start", as I don't have to catch up on a ton of books !), so I'm adding it to my list :)

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    1. Yup, if you haven't tried Estep, this is agood place to start. no pressure to add tons of books in your TBR

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  9. If the formula is similar then it might not be for me

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  10. Sweet! A YA urban fantasy. I'll totally pick this up and drink the kool aid!

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  11. Sounds fun! I still haven't read anything by her but I have a few of her books on my Kindle.

    Karen @For What It's Worth

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  12. Have a few authors that can pull me out of a reading rut. I thought this author only did adult urban fantasy. Pretty cool she has a ya series too.

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    1. She has another YA series aside from this one as well as a superhero adult

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  13. I really liked this one as well. I found myself drawing comparisons to Mythos. Loved the world building. I am having problems with your blog showing up in my feed on Bloglovin . Is everything working right?

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    1. I will talk about my Bloglovin bonanza next week, don't have time now. My feed got messed up :(

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    2. Ok, I hear ya I went through a big hassle two years ago when everyone got the Bloglovin bug. It took three months to get it fixed.

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  14. There be monsters here! That caught my attention. Loved your review. You've sold me on this one:)

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  15. Okay. I'm sort of glad I'm not the only one having trouble finding you on my feed! I mean, it's not a good thing, but I thought maybe I was the only one.

    Anyway, I've enjoyed Estep's YA offerings, but have yet to check out her Adult Fiction. And 5 stars!!! Say no more. :)

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    1. Carmel said that this is as good as Mythos. I haven't read that one but since you love her YA series, then I'm sure this will be a hit too!

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  16. You sold me on this one. I like the sound of the backdrop and the heroine along with the actual plot.

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  17. Woot! I lovedddddd this one too. Can't wait for book two

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    1. How can you not?? It's going to ba a painful wait! I want it now!!!

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  18. Hells yeah!!! So happy it was good. Some don't like Estep's YA but it's hard for her to do any wrong in my eyes. Lila sounds awesome.

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  19. Holly sh*&! I had no idea this was coming!! Awesome Braine :) I'm adding to my list right now!!
    As of lately, I really don't care if the romance is strong or not the main part of the plot, I just want to be taken away to new worlds and this looks like it will do just that!
    This a great also because I'm way behind on Gin Blanco's books so this will give me a chance to get on it from the get go.

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    1. I'm with you. Romance isn't a requirement for me anymore. Give me something good! Surprise me! My threshold is high so I need something awesome!

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  20. I skipped your review because well I have to read it as well and I'm a little late I confess but it's great to see that you had a great time wiht it. I can't wait to get into it and see if it's the same for me!

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    1. I'll wait for your review, we can compare notes!

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  21. I am with you. There is not one thing that Estep has written that I have not, at the very least, enjoyed. REALLY looking forward to this. I skimmed b/c I haven't read it yet, but I trust you. And Estep ;) Glad you loved it!

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    1. Your trust is well placed my dear :)

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  22. Interesting. I do miss my urban fantasy...I have been reading contemporaries lately. Thank you so much for sharing. I need a new kickass read

    www.lite-rate-ture.com

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    1. You gotta switch it up once in a while :)

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  23. Great review. I requested this book on NetGalley and I'm just hoping I get approved. It sounds so good. Glad to hear that you loved it so much. It gives me high hopes that when I do finally get my hands on it, I will enjoy it.

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    1. I hope you do!! It's a must-read for urban fantasy lovers

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  24. I keep saying I need t try this author and have some of her adult novels on audio and paperback. I think I just need to dive it..your review is fantastic and I would be crazy not to try it

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    1. I don't care what book you read first, as long as you read ESTEP. Once you're in, there's no going back. You have to join the club!!

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  25. Yay! Glad that Estep pulled you out of a funk. Cold Burn of Magic sounds like a great read, even though it lacks romance. I think I would like to get it for myself!

    Naomi @ Nomi’s Paranormal Palace

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  26. I'm glad you loved this one. It inspired me to read it.

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  27. I haven't read any of Estep's books, though I've seen lots and lots of glowing reviews for her Elemental Assassin series. This book seems a good place to start with her works, and it's YA to boot- will have to add to the TBR!

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