I’m a huge Ilona Andrews fan and the Hidden Legacy series is probably my favorite. The writing and story pacing are just spot on. Sapphire Flames takes the series to another level and it was already fabulous before.
Fair warning—the blurb for Sapphire Flames spoils some events from the first books in the series so I strongly recommend reading the 3 full length books and one novella (Burn for Me, White Hot, Wildfire, and Diamond Fire) before reading Sapphire Flames. I’ll reference things from the blurb but try to avoid other potential spoilers. Nevada and Rogan aren’t part of Sapphire Flames but their books set up where Sapphire Flames picks up.
In Sapphire Flames, Catalina, the middle Baylor sister, takes a case that brings her unexpectedly back in contact with Alessandro Sagredo (shows up at the end of the first trilogy). The case also gets the family neck deep in politics and deadly house warfare among Houston’s magical houses. Just as House Baylor is no longer protected by the 3 year grace period as a new house.
The magic system in this world is just so cool. I think Sapphire Flames opens up this world even more through Catalina’s viewpoint. She’s been studying magic for years now and so hearing the explanations from her perspective, with that knowledge, was awesome. And she has a different frame of reference because she doesn’t have to work to call on her magic like most others—she has to hold hers in otherwise it’s always on. So fascinating. We also learn the magic abilities of new characters plus more about the magic of characters introduced in the first part of the series.
I like that this isn’t Catalina’s “origin” story. You learn throughout the book how she became Head of House Baylor and what she’s done to hone her skills with her magic and just plain learning how to defend herself even without her magic. She’s spent a lot of time studying how to maneuver in this world so the family doesn’t get destroyed. And she’s not Nevada. Catalina’s finding her own way to fit into this world they’ve been thrust into. But the book isn’t just what she’s been doing for the past three years or dissecting and lamenting the effects of her Prime-level magic. She makes mistakes in Sapphire Flames she grows from and she has to make deals that tear her (and my!) heart out. And some other things happen that I think will have consequences later.
Alessandro shows up and he’s got his own secret agenda and much of that is still a secret at the end of the book. Catalina really tries to put him in a known “box” like “playboy” but the more she learns about him, the more he doesn’t fit which is another great element of this story. We learn more about Alessandro’s multi-faceted magical abilities in this book and again, I think it’s just so cool! One of my laugh-out-loud moments with this book is when Alessandro is using his magic during a fight scene.
Catalina and Alessandro’s romance doesn’t progress much in the story but oh, the potential! There’s so much longing and “must do the right thing” and “I want him/her but I can’t have her/him”! And one hot make out scene 🙂
The secondary characters in the story are great. I love the Baylor family. They go through a lot in this book and more changes are coming. I hope Runa Etterson, the client of the big case, continues to show up in Catalina’s books. I am interested to see if (or how) Nevada and Rogan are incorporated into future books. I understand why they weren’t included in Sapphire Flames but based on stuff that comes out in this book, I’m assuming they’ll be in future books more (plus I think there’s still some work to be done to fix relationships among the Baylor family). I also want more Cornelius and Matilda if they can be worked in too!
This is an awesome story. The case was solved but still other things to work through in subsequent books. Catalina is a great character and I can’t wait to read more about her and her magic and political prowess. I’m also excited to see how much Alessandro shakes up Catalina’s world and how they overcome what’s keeping them from being together. A great start to this new arc of the Baylor family story!
In a world where magic is the key to power and wealth, Catalina Baylor is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, and the Head of her House. Catalina has always been afraid to use her unique powers, but when her friend’s mother and sister are murdered, Catalina risks her reputation and safety to unravel the mystery.
But behind the scenes powerful forces are at work, and one of them is Alessandro Sagredo, the Italian Prime who was once Catalina’s teenage crush. Dangerous and unpredictable, Alessandro’s true motives are unclear, but he’s drawn to Catalina like a moth to a flame.
To help her friend, Catalina must test the limits of her extraordinary powers, but doing so may cost her both her House–and her heart.