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Monday, April 27, 2015

Early Review: Cold Burn Magic by Jennifer Estep

Title: Cold Burn Magic
Author: Jennifer Estep
Series: Black Blade, book 1
Genre: YA
Publisher: Kensington Books (April 28th)
Source: Review copy from publisher
Format: E-book
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. . .
Cold Burn of Magic is the first book in the new Black Blade series by Jennifer Estep.

I love Jennifer Estep books; her Elemental Assassin series is one of my favorite UF series. I also enjoyed very much her YA series, Mythos Academy. I was very excited when I heard she was writing a new YA series and I jumped to the opportunity of reading it as soon as the ARC became available; but -yes, this is going to be one of those reviews- even though I tried not to compare Cold Burn of Magic with Estep’s other series, it was impossible for me not to do it when the similarities (especially) with Gin Blanco (Elemental Assassin series) started to pile up.

Gin Blanco
Lila Merriweather
Mother killed by main villain
Mab Monroe
Victor Draconi
Has/had a mentor
Survives thanks to illegal activities
Uses blades with high proficiency
Blade is made of special material
Has two powers one of them is secret
Stone & Ice
Sight & Transference
Finds comfort in food
The city is ruled by families with strong magic
Belongs to an important family
Her middle name is bad attitude

I could continue with the similarities, but I think those are enough to give you an idea. I’m not saying Cold Burn of Magic was bad, because it wasn’t it, far from it, it just that the similarities bothered me a lot. Maybe if this had been my first book by Estep I would have enjoyed it more.

I liked Lila and I think she has potential to become a great heroine. I just hope in next book she will be more “her” and less Gin Blanco. One thing I really liked about her is that she’s not ruled by her hormones like many teenage heroines seem to be. I also love that even though she hasn’t had an easy life she doesn’t succumb to despair or suffers from long angsty periods.

Another thing I liked about Cold Burn of Magic was that romance is not front and center. There is just a supple notion of a possible love interest. The best part is that there is not even a possibility of a love triangle; at least it doesn’t seem to be one.

I really liked Devon Sinclair. I like that he is the quiet type, but very observant and smart. He knows what is going around him and he knows his position is not an easy one. I liked that he has a heart and doesn’t abuse his place of power. I think he has a very promising future if he continues the way he is.

There is a complex array of secondary characters, some good, some bad, some impossible to decipher, but they all made of Cold Burn of Magic and even more entertaining read.

The world is interesting; there is magic, magical creatures, monsters and many things in between. Families with powerful magic govern the town. Normal humans live along magical ones, some humans believe in magic, some don’t want to believe and are blind to what is going on in the own backyards.

The plot moves at good pace and even though I knew from the very beginning who was the villain and guessed how his demise was going to play out, I can honestly say I enjoyed reading it.

Despite the problems I had with Cold Burn of Magic, I couldn’t put it down, I was completely engrossed in the story from beginning to end wanting to know what was coming next.

I’m looking forward to Lila’s next chapter, for that reason I’ll be reading Dark Heart of Magic on October 27th when it comes out.

I recommend Cold Burn Magic to YA fans and bacon lovers.

My Verdict: 3 ½ Paws

Other books in the series
Cold Burn Magic (April 28th)
Dark Heart of Magic (October 27th)

Other reviews Goodreads


  1. I am ok with similarities so I think I will like this one :)

  2. Those are a few too many similarities for me

  3. OK, I should be OK then, b/c I have only listened to 2 books in Gin Blanco's LOL I know, I know...I kept saying I'm going to pick it up but all the new books kept getting on its way.

  4. I've only tried the first book in her Bianco series and I don't remember it as it's been years so I don't think it will bother me but I'm curious I confess... well I'm a little late but I'm curious.


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