Cover Image: Emerald Blaze

Emerald Blaze

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

This was a great addition to the series which needs to be read in order. The author has done a great job of creating characters that grow. The plot was intriguing and I cannot wait to see what happens next.
Was this review helpful?
Ilona Andrews never disappoints! This book was a fantastic read of nonstop fun! It had everything you could want- mystery, romance, fantasy, and incredible characters. I would highly recommend!
Was this review helpful?
(from Goodreads) I got an early review copy from the publisher via NetGalley. No joke, I shrieked when I got the email that I got an early copy. And then I had to wait two days to read it because I knew I had to be able to carve out a few hours to read this in one sitting. I wouldn't be able to stop myself.

And I'm so glad that I did. This is one of my favorite series, and I am now rereading the entire series. Catalina has grown SO much through these books and I am so proud of her--and everyone! We see lots of the Baylor clan, and there the interactions are great. I also really loved the interactions between Catalina and Leon, Catalina and Arabella, Catalina and Nevada, and Catalina and Rogan.

And of COURSE Catalina and Alessandro. He's also grown up in this book, and there interactions are just...delicious. I'll have more thoughts at some point, but I wanted to get my first thoughts out there.

I loved the plot, and I loved the characters. I want the next book right now, but since I can't get that, I'll just reread to keep myself entertained.
Was this review helpful?
Excellent addition to the Hidden Legacy series.  Fast-riding journey that truly grows the world and characters of Hidden Legacy for die-hard Ilona Andrews fans.  Newbie readers who love a good action-adventure romance will also enjoy, but would certainly benefit from reader prior 4 books in the series, as there are many references to previous events, world building, and much prior timeline character development.

Loved that this book deepened Catalina Baylor's character, and smoothed out the more jarring (but charmingly foreign characteristic chauvinism) character flaws of Alessandro Sagredo.  The character developments really allowed a wonderful new dynamism between the two, and allowed for a quicker and exciting pace to storyplot.  Catalina's character is turning into one of my favorites, and is so different in the Hidden Legacy series from most of Ilona Andrews heroines, that I felt at times in SAPPHIRE FLAMES that the pause and hesitations of her nascency in maturity/adulthood brought an uneven pace, much more so than the shortness of novella DIAMOND FIRE allowed.  Catalina seemingly in a more transitional phase, where previously more comfortable as a 'normal', but was developing in starts and stops in 'Prime' world.  It brought me out of the story sometimes, and felt a little bit frustrating as teenage characters (and real-life teenagers, might I add...) can be for adult readers - but overall, was persuasively written by the authors.  For EMERALD BLAZE, these deliberate start/stop character flaws were remedied very convincingly with succinct references to deeper experiences that both Catalina and Alessandro go through (and wouldn't us readers love to see novellas of some of these horrors - because bad decisions make such good stories).

As a reader, I also LOVED the love-to-hate character of Victoria Tremaine and the hints of good and evil that the previous books had drawn so carefully.  Catalina's perspective of being the closest granddaughter to the eye of evil was simply wonderful.  What I love about Ilona Andrews books is that evil characters are often framed with a knowing nod that evil has a certain magnetic logic, and this was a prime example.  You can really see how deep a Tremaine effect can be had in a shortened timeframe, and the amazing ending really brings back the Hidden Legacy thrust to a head... making you excited about what's next (eyebrow wiggle).

A couple of minor places where I was taken out of the reading experience by what could be slight inconsistencies in with previous books (worth pointing out as this is still ARC and prior to publication):
- Loc 965 Linus Duncan's house: described in Sapphire Flames as a "Texas/Southwestern" mansion/castle vs. described as a "Versaille"/European castle.  Perhaps two different homes in the Houston area? 
- Loc 1355 "I could never allow a repeat of what happened eighteen months ago": Reference of Nevada having been manipulated by Victoria Tremaine wrt her role as Head of House Baylor?
- Loc 1416 "We had to stay somewhere": Makes sense for plot driver... but in SF, Catalina had alluded to buying some of the other buildings in the area (Loc 2363)?

Overall, a new addition artfully sketching Houston's world of Primes, its magical rules, it delightfully logical and "odd-one-out" sister Catalina Baylor.  Alessandro Sagredo not given quite as much opportunity to charm and awe - but as he so attractively abused his heroic presence (in classic Austen-ian Darcy form), much of the book recovers his charmingly appalling machoism, which previously excused as continental allure, definitely blocked much plot and character development.  Ultimate exposure of his background and the some of exciting hints of his magic, leaves more and more fun questions around how he can help the Baylor family survive their next critical years with Catalina at the helm.

Some absolutely delightful tidbits that I simply adored: a reluctant Asian drama actor reveal.  Interaction so mimicked squees of real-life fans with foreign actors (used to remaining anonymous outside of their local film regions), and hinted at a lovely deeper understanding by the authors of Asian culture (we who are so lovingly self-repressed).  Would love to see more of this character popping up.  Also, I love that the authors hint at their love of wuxia subculture, and teasingly mock at Arabella (and her as a stand-in for other well-meaning fans) who asks the character if his acting and race means that he has a wushu skillset (that readers should note he does not actually deny, but simply underscores gently to Arabella's embarrassment the bias that is common for any foreigner in American culture).  Meaningful inclusion for BIPOC experiences here that makes me respect these authors so much more than I already do.

Hope this helps on your journey as a reader (and if you're a dyed in the wool Ilona Andrews fan, contributes to the squees of delight that you too will soon undergo).  Good night and good luck!!
Was this review helpful?
Catalina Baylor, head of House Baylor, has gone from a introverted young girl hiding her magic, to a woman who is wielding it to save her family and the world. 

This second entry into House Baylor's. (and subsequently Catalina's books), is a sprint from the beginning to the end.  

House Baylor Investigative Agency headed by 21 year old Catalina opens with the recovery of a "helper" monkey, a service animal stolen from a young girl.  Accompanied by her cousin Leon and Cornelius their resident animal mage, Catalina confronts personnel from an opposing agency, (MII), who have been hired to retrieve the animal for a research facility. Underestimated because of her age, Catalina wields her facts like a sword. Able to retrieve the monkey, they are attacked by magical crocodile-like monsters who emerged from the nearby river. 

Catalina, investigator, Head of House Baylor, and secretly the deputy to the Warden of the Sate of Texas, is commanded to take over an investigation of a grisly murder of a local Prime's son.  Lander Morton a developer with lots of money and few relatives has hired Montgomery International Investigations to figure out who killed his beloved son Felix.  Catalina under the guise as a representative of MII, has to investigate Felix's developer partners, all Primes, all dangerous, all suspects. They are currently trying to drain and reclaim The Pit, a magical dump site and swamp.  

Hired by Morton to kill the person responsible for his son's death, Alessandro Sagredo is Morton's proxy and has decided that he will be her protector. He broke her heart months ago, choosing to continue with his assassin lifestyle instead of pursuing a relationship with her.  Catalina is determined not to fall for his charms, again. 

The husband and wife team of Ilona and Gordon Andrews have the incredible gift of creating memorable characters, so real that you become invested in their welfare.  Imaginative, engaging, and incredibly talented their books are a must buy for any urban fantasy reader. Magic with a scientific feel permeates this story. Incorporating witty dialogue, heartfelt emotions, and vivid fight scenes the Andrews are at their finest. 

A world of reoccurring characters who continually evolve create a never stagnant and evocative journey for the reader. The Baylor family picks at each other and holds each other close. Once in with the Baylors, they will protect and be loyal to you forever. 

Catalina, Nevada, and Alessandro all have incredible secrets revealed in this book. Readers, (like me), will have a hard time waiting for the next novel in this "Hidden Legacy" series. 

I am so grateful to have received this ARC from NetGalley.
Was this review helpful?
Emerald Blaze follows Catalina as she continues to establish her House and work as the Deputy Warden. She's getting over Alessandro and the pain of his leaving at the end of Sapphire Flame. She's doing what she needs to do to be a successful Prime while also keeping her family in the dark about her position as the Deputy Warden.

While the beginning can drag a little, there are plenty of moments of action throughout the story. Alessandro comes back, much to Catalina's dismay. Together they try to figure out who killed a Prime heir, all while doing their best to keep from acting on their obvious chemistry. It wasn't until the second half that the story started to pick up. I did enjoy the action and as always, I loved the Baylor family. Ilona Andrews have done an amazing job of establishing the Baylor family and it shows how great and fleshed out these characters are as the series goes on. 

I didn't really like the resolution between Catalina and Alessandro. I would have liked more communication on that end. I am glad to see Catalina grow as a character through the series. I hope the next one gives us more of her growth.

Overall, I really enjoyed this one. The Hidden Legacy series is one of my all time favorites and I can't wait to see where it goes in upcoming books.
Was this review helpful?
Ilona Andrews is addictive.  I can't just read one book.  After reading  Emerald Blaze, I went back and reread all the previous books in the series, then reread the Innkeeper series. Ilona's imagery and characters draw the reader into worlds they want to stay in and keep reality out.
Was this review helpful?
Downloaded the book (thanks, NetGalley!)
Stayed up all night to read.
Lost sleep.  Didn't care.  
This book was everything I wanted!

I've been a huge fan of Ilona Andrews (wife-and-husband writers extraordinaire) for years; about ten years ago I went through an intense sci-fi/fantasy/romance reading stage and they HOOKED ME. I am CAUGHT FOR LIFE.  So every time I drop everything to rip through their latest books, I ask myself: HOW DO THEY DO IT???  How do they keep coming up with stories that are hilarious, science-y, steamy, sexy, action-packed, and so damn fun?  

Emerald Blaze is Book #5 of the Hidden Legacy series, Book 2 of Catalina's trilogy, and picks up six months after the end of Sapphire Flames (Book #4). (Just a note that I wouldn't start here if you want to get the full effect of what they do - start with Book #1 and say goodbye to several hours of your life).  

When Emerald Blaze starts, we learn Catalina has been growing up and trying to fix her broken heart after being abandoned (or so she thinks) by Alessandro, the Antistasi Prime who is completely perfect for her in every way.  In addition to that, she's trying to juggle being the Head of House Baylor, having a top-secret kickass job (no spoilers), sparring with her evil and dangerous psychotic grandmother, fending off obsessed stalkers, and is about to become an auntie.  She doesn't have time to wallow in her emotions!  She's too busy being professional and unaffected... until she's plopped in the middle of a murder investigation, bloodthirsty Primes and is FORCED to work with none other than beautiful Alessandro.  

I will NOT spoil this book but I'll mention a few things that are 100% awesome:

1) Cornelius, and the first scenes with the monkey? Perfect way to start.
2) LEON.  
3) Secrets about Alessandro and his family come out.  yeesh
4) Secrets about Nevada and the Tremaine/Baylor family come out.  wow
5) Rogan - still amazing.
6) The ending, which gives me much hope that things will work out for them (maybe?) 
7) They're so strong together and all the villains of the world should be scared.
8) The epilogue made my eyes open very wide!!! omg.  Is this bad or good? Scary or sweet? YOU TELL ME.

If you're new to Hidden Legacy or want any negatives from this book, here are a few:

1) There are quite a few "explaining paragraphs" in this book, more so than in others; the background of magic and magic users, warped derivatives that come out of the use of Osirus serum, and historical facts need to be known in order to understand some of the motivations, so... be forewarned. 
2) Sometimes the writing style is really open to interpretation:  They're based in Houston, TX, so do all the characters have southern accents? Do they speak with no accent at all? When it's "formal/high" Prime-speak there's very little use of contractions -  I just go with it.  It's the voice of Ilona Andrews and it's in all their books.

Rating: All the stars.  I lost sleep.  Read the first 4.5 books.  I'm ready for Book #6!!!

Disclaimer: I received a free e-ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Emerald Blaze is the 5th book in the Hidden Legacy series by husband and wife writing duo, Ilona Andrews. If you like Jim Butcher but want more romance, this is an excellent series to dive into. Catalina Baylor is forced to work with her ex, Alessandro Segredo, on a new supernatural mystery. Andrews’ ability to write complexity into their characters is one of their best talents, and it’s showcased well here. Catalina is hopeful but practical, lethal and moralistic, with both realistic desire for Alessandro and mature reasons for not wanting to be together. Overall, this is a great romantic fantasy for grownups, with a fair amount of sex, cursing (both profane and otherwordly), and violence.
Was this review helpful?
5 stars!

The newest chapter of Catalina’s story is a great contribution to the Hidden Legacy series. Both Catalina and Allessandro come into their own in Emerald Blaze. The romance is hot, the side characters make me very excited about whose story is coming next, and there’s enough fresh material to keep the series evolving. A lot of that change comes with Catalina’s role as deputy warden of Texas, and I can’t wait to see how that continues in her final book.

I appreciated that this story was less of a whodunnit and more character-focused. There is (of course!) still an evil plot to be foiled, but the adventure and problem-solving are a focus instead of the mystery. The Baylor family develops more in Emerald Blaze, too, so you really get a sense of everyone as an individual. 

If you’re a Ilona Andrews or Hidden Legacy fan, you won’t be disappointed with the newest addition. If you haven’t started the series yet, it’s time to! Highly recommended for romance and urban fantasy readers.

I received an ARC for this review, and all opinions expressed are my own.
Was this review helpful?
“ Holster your weapons and step away from the monkey.”

How can you not love a book that starts with that line and follows it pretty quickly with “Pack it in and head back to the mystery machine, kids.”

The book is a witty, fast paced thrill ride that never disappoints. In terms of threats, this book takes the cake so far in the series by threatening extinction of all human life. I don’t know how they’re going to top that in the next book and I can’t wait to find out. Although, as usual, Grandma Frida dismisses the threat to mankind in favor of Catalina’s love life.

Emerald Blaze is the next installment of Catalina’s story. In the last book she helped her friend and saw her major crush turn into love. Ultimately she was disappointed in love and, really, who hasn’t experienced that? In this next installment, the Count and Catalina are thrown together yet again to fight the good fight.

What I loved about this book? Oh, so many! The nod to the rich world building, you feel like you’re in that world with them and it all makes sense. I love the way they keep track of their storyline and it’s so tight that you can see the weave! The story moves effortlessly as it progresses through the book until you’re at the end and go “Wait, there must be more day to that day!”. The wry humor that makes you laugh so loud others look at you askance. 

I love the progression of the characters, all of them, in this book. Everyone grows and changes. It’s not always fun or happy growth, which mirrors real life. I won’t say this book is a comfort read,  it’s intense and you need to be prepared for that. But it is a beautiful thing and if you don’t read it, you will be missing out on the best storytelling, world building and love story I have ever read. And I read A LOT.

This book is best with a nitro cold brew to match its energy levels.
Was this review helpful?
Another home run for the writing duo Ilona Andrews!!! Emerald Blaze is the fifth book in the Hidden Legacy series. All five books revolve around the Baylor family but the last two books primarily shift to a younger member of the family and the new head of house Baylor. Catalina is an incredibly strong MC who is truly evolving and taking on the mantle of the head of a new house and all that running a house entails. Catalina is still very young and has moments of self doubt but she never lets it show to her enemies. She handles every situation with the strength and grace of a seasoned leader who is in complete control even when she doesn't feel like she is. And Alessandro holy guacamole more please!!!

I loved Catalina's growth in this novel she has truly emerged as a formidable House's Prime. She is fierce determined and her powers she is incredible. Plus there is a point in the book where we get a look at a small change that she believes doesn't do anything and is simply a manifestation of the grief she experienced when Alessandro left (in the last book) but I am just dying to see if there is more going on with that to be explored in future books... Fingers crossed.

This book is action packed from beginning to end and the plot just wow! This book is so well written it just blows me away! Of course I would expect nothing less from Ilona Andrews I have never read a book from them that I didn't absolutely love. This story-line has some incredible back history that really not only enriches the overall arc of the books it contributes to some fascinating character growth that really ties things together in a very satisfying way.

I know the shift in main characters has thrown some readers but honestly I found it to be a fantastic evolution to the story arc! And have no fear you still get to see all the old characters within this book they are just no longer the main focus of what is happening. However, not to give any spoilers I believe that will change as the story-line continues... READ IT I SAY!!! I won't ruin it so get the book if you want to know why I think that.

This book ends on a really entreating hook that will lead into the next installment and it has me biting my nails to see how it all plays out. 

This book is not a stand alone so if you have not read the entire series I suggest you do because a great deal happen throughout the series so you will have a much better understanding of the overall world-building, story-line and characters. Plus they are well worth the read you wont be disappointed.

I received this book from NetGalley for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
5 stars Goodread 
My everlasting thanks to Netgalley, HarperCollins Publishers,  and Ilona Andrews for allowing me the chance to read and review Emerald Blaze.

So Emerald Blaze is labeled as #5 in the Hidden Legacy series. 
(If this is your first encounter with this series, then you'll need to get Book #1 Burn for Me. And in following the series, I would definitely recommend Book #3.5 Diamond Fire and Book #4 Sapphire Flames, before Emerald Blaze. There are characters and situations from both of those books that will be beneficial in understanding Emerald Blaze completely.)

WELL, Emerald Blaze was FANTASTIC!!!!  
Catalina Baylor, our siren and Head of House Baylor, (secret Deputy of Warden of Texas) is still running the family business,  House Baylor Investigative Agency. And she's moved on and gotten over Alessandro, the Italian Antistasi and assassin-for-hire, of the House of Sagredo. Yeah, right.

Emerald Blaze opens with a quick recovery of a client's pet which quickly turns into the gang (Catalina, Cornelius and Leon) being attacked by "magic monsters, who were controlled by a biomechanical device powered by magic." Catalina's response to Linus. Linus Duncan is a "friend" to the family but secretly THE Warden of Texas. Catalina calls him because of the nature of the monsters they encountered. He's under attack as well and tells her to disengage and go straight to MII and take over the Morton Case. This is where our story begins.....

Lander Morton's son, Felix has been murdered. Felix and 4 other Primes of Houses, have partnered in a business venture to reclaim The Pit. The Pit is a section of Houston metro that was a flood zone become swamp and derelict buildings. In the Prologue we read that Lander has hired someone to kill whoever murdered his son. He had already hired MII to investigate "WHY" Felix was murdered. So once the why and who is found, then the assassin can do their job.
Yep....So it made for a great moment when Catalina,  who has taken over the Morton Case meets up with the four Primes and Mr Morton's proxy/(secret assassin). 

Ilona Andrews does a great job with the mystery and whodunit, while weaving together magic, science fiction and romance. Plus delivering some great action that doesn't dominate the story but keeps us moving in a direction where you know there's progress being made towards a result. 
And yes, if you're reading for the result of the mystery....that is what you'll get. But if I'm being honest,  (and I am)  I like a healthy serving of romance in my fictional reading. Catalina "gets" her some romance in this book!!! 

Some vague thoughts:
Things you'll understand once you read; don't want to spoil because I can't help myself at times:

Wonder if we're going to get more Stephen Jiang? 
I appreciated how the authors handled the Tatyana Pierce character. (Layers like an onion. Quoting Shrek. No one is one dimensional.)

Enjoyed the Abyss. Creepy but interesting. Wondering if Catalina is going to feel some residual effects in the next book from the last encounter?

"Grandma" Tremaine. This chick. Is she Evil evil? Or just Mean evil? Because that epilogue?!?!?!
(And there's a difference.  In my mind anyways.)
I really like that our "Prince" is actually a pauper.  *Plot Twist* done right. Who, when and where the news is delivered was interesting.  

Yeah, after that last chapter and that Epilogue (!?!?) ...... How long till the next book?

Great Read!!!!
Was this review helpful?
Another fun read to sit down and read in one sitting because you wont want to put it down.  This book is part two of Catalina's story.  When strange creatures start coming from the pit and a gruesome murder also happens there, Catalina is called in.  But when she finds she must work with Allesandro, the man who broke her heart,  this will make solving the crime even more difficult.  The whole Baylor family will need to pull together to survive this adventure.
Was this review helpful?
Where to begin?! I absolutely LOVE Catalina! She is coming into her own as Head of House Baylor and is growing into her roll as a Prime.  I love how she's learned to manipulate her grandmother while still staying true to herself and her core values.  Once again, Ilona and Gordon knock it out of the park with the fine balance of action and down time. Can't wait to see what comes next after that ending! GAH!!
Was this review helpful?
Ilona Andrews have done it again! I absolutely loved this book and when I finished it I felt like begging for more. This book takes place well after the last book, so Catalina has had even more time to grow into her role as Head of House. Catalina and Alessandro are perfect for each other and all their interactions pulled emotion from me. 

Truly, I'm feeling it difficult to talk about this book without spoiling the previous books. 

Main takeaways: Catalina is an amazing character who has shown a lot of growth and Alessandra works well with her making their relationship epic. I am so excited to see where this story will go. This is a series that is binge-worthy. If you haven't read it, then you should really give it a try.
Was this review helpful?
I enjoyed this title in the Hidden Jewels series.  This is definitely one to read if you are interested in Catalina's story arc.  There was plenty of mystery and action, but what the story felt a little too quick from beginning to end.  As much as I enjoyed the book, it felt like there were gaps in the story at the entrance of new characters and new talents.  Instead of a dive deeper into the realm that the Andrews' team has created, the story felt like a pebble just skimming over the surface.  It's a good read for die-hard fans of the series and of Ilona Andrews, but as an introductory text... it would feel abbreviated and rushed.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to NetGalley for making an eARC copy of this book available to me.

This was another fine addition to the series about the Baylor family.  The author continues to expand on the ways that "magic" works in the world of these books.  Fun family dynamics, several interesting revelations about several of the characters, a mystery to be solved, and lots of suspense.  All that, plus a bit of romance.  At the end of this book we are left with several ongoing plotlines still to be fully resolved, but that just makes me look forward to the next book in this series.
Was this review helpful?
This is a book five with 4 books and a novella you should really read before this book. Burn for me is book one.  
This universe is a hot urban fantasy set in a world where powerful Houses run by uber powerful Primes control magic and money and thus the world.  It’s got steamy scenes but those are few and far between. This series is more about the machinations and power struggles between the houses than the bedroom scenes.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s also all about the relationships of the couples but the plot and the action come before the ...not plot... and the other action.
If you’re looking for a fun bit of escapism and a good fantasy romance but don’t want the entire book in the bedroom this could be the series for you!
Was this review helpful?
Catalina thought Alessandro was gone for good. Unfortunately, weird things are happening in the Pit and Alessandro shows up in conjunction with a new case she's working as the deputy to the Warden of Texas. Despite her protests, Linus forces Catalina to include Alessandro in the investigation. Someone has let loose terrifying creatures in the Pit, and it's up to Catalina to find out who did it. 

I'm a die-hard Ilona Andrews fan, and this book did not disappoint. The plot is great, and despite the twists and turns, the story line is easy to follow. I felt like there were a few background scenes missing, and the last chapter ended rather abruptly. If you love Ilona Andrews and you've read the previous 4 books in the Hidden Legacy series, you will not be disappointed. I loved the cameos from Nevada and Connor, and I'm dying to read more about the various Baylor family members (Bern and Runa, anyone??).The epilogue is a cliff-hanger and it leaves you wanting more.
Was this review helpful?