Cover Image: Emerald Blaze

Emerald Blaze

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

"Emerald Blaze" by Ilona Andrews
I enjoyed reuniting with Catalina and Alessandro in this fifth installment of the Hidden Legacy series.  I love all the characters especially the quirky Baylor family.  This book was action-packed while the romance blossomed between Catalina and Alessandro.  We learn more about Catalina's arrangement with her evil grandmother and Alessandro's situation as well.  Can't wait for the next one!
Was this review helpful?
Catalina and Alessandro are back and can I just say this dynamic duo is beauty in action! I love their loaded banter and innuendos, but seeing these two in action?! Grace, brains, and power packed into deceiving packages...why yes, I’ll grab a tub of popcorn, sit back and enjoy the show! And the simmering embers of their chemistry finally take shape making me super giddy to finally have some resolution on their relationship status! 

The Andrews have phenomenal skill with world and character building and it shines in this latest entry. There’s still secrets to unveil, however there’s also plenty to keep the brain engaged...House warfare, magic spells, twisty villains, action packed, thought-provoking battle scenes-just imagine this on tv!-sightings of Nevada and Connor (what can I say? I love those two so much), and the Baylor clan/extended family in full force....oh man, I can’t wait to see what happens next!!!!!

I received an advance reader copy from Netgalley and Avon books. This is my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Ilona Andrews has done it again.  A fabulous read!!  Catalina continues as a deputy to the Warden of Texas in "Emerald Blaze".  Catalina is determined to stop the people attacking her Baylor House and to stop the illegal enhancing drug that could tear her world apart.  In the midst of this Alessandro, the man who broke her heart, comes to the rescue and is determined to help her whether Catalina wants his help or not.  But does Alessandro have other reasons to go after the people attacking House Baylor?  Read "Emerald Blaze" to find out.  An excellent read.  Highly recommended.  I would recommend reading "Sapphire Flames" before reading "Emerald Blaze" to appreciate the growth and story developed of the characters.  I received a copy of "Emerald Blaze" from Net Galley.
Was this review helpful?
While I am no doubt a fan of Ilona Andrews who never wrote a book I didn't love, Emerald Blaze is a standout in the Hidden Legacy series. In addition to the chemistry between Catalina and Alessandro, the novel takes the worldbuilding to a new level with surprising new twists, as well as the intrigue of the politics of the houses. Emerald Blaze is an amazing read and a credit to the Hidden Legacy series.
Was this review helpful?
I swear this series just gets better and better.  Catalina and Alessandro have fantastic chemistry and lots of snarking back and forth. 

Emerald Blaze starts about six months after Sapphire Flames and Catalina has a lot on her plate. Her very pregnant older sister is rapidly approaching her due date, her grandmother is being her scary interfering self and a new deputy warden case has been dropped in her lap, reuniting her with some previous associates. Alessandro has been hired to be her bodyguard. Catalina is thrilled. 

This book hits the ground running. I adored every second of it. Some questions about what is going on with Nevada are answered. Alessandro and Catalina spend a lot of time together running and fighting for their lives. Evil Grandma has some nefarious plan up her sleeve and she is scary.  Leon and Arabella are awesome. Grandma Frida is the best. I just adore this group of people.  

I do love the evolution of Catalina. She is on her way to being the best head of house. She cares for her family and wants them to be happy. She is going toe toe with Evil Grandma and is doing her best not to lose herself to manipulations. This is such a calculated game and Catalina has to play it and win. 

I LOVED this book!!!!!!
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoy this author and am loving this series. When possible I will look forward to finding the others set in this world. Lots of action, magic and a little mystery.

Thank you to the author, publisher and NetGalley for my eARC in exchange for an honest review. - Please continue with this series/world!
Was this review helpful?
Can I just tell you how much I love this series?  SO much fun!  Strong female characters who do their research (and paperwork!), but can still swing a blade...what more could you ask for?  This is a must read for anyone who is an Ilona Andrews fan.  But to get the most of it, I would say definitely start at the beginning of the series.  I thought I would miss having Nevada as the center of the plot, but Catalina is such a well developed character...ready to kick your ass with her wings or her brain.  Your choice.  

Alessandro...enough said.

And the world building is magnificent!  The action in this book kept me on the edge of my seat.  Bravo!  Can't wait for the next one!
Was this review helpful?
The second book in Catalina's story in the Hidden Legacy series carries on with what you expect from Ilona Andrews. Surprises, family interactions, secrets, and magic all came together to hold me on the edge of my seat.

Catalina has come into her own as the head of the Baylor family. She has plans to take care of the wicked grandmother, and she takes care of the Primes who have set up the world to be destroyed. Nevada is back in town, and Alessandro Sagredo  returns to watch over Catalina. Romance is in the air for Bern as well as Catalina, and Nevada is at the end of her pregnancy. We get a glimpse further into the family's interactions with each other, and a little bit of history we missed between Nevada's story line and Catalina's. It all meshes beautifully together into a tale that gripped me. We have new characters, we have old characters, we have characters who are growing up. This is not so much about world building, as the world was built well in previous books. It's more in depth on the people who inhabit the world. There are a few tongue-in-cheek comments that refer back to previous books, which made me smile.

This is altogether a satisfying book in this wonderful new world of magic and mayhem caused by magic.
Was this review helpful?
3.5 stars overall 

I have struggled to truly enjoy Catalina's story; unlike Nevada, who I immediately found engaging, Catalina grates on me. Also I have trouble with her romance with Alessandro (she stalked him on Instagram, he goes to her test for Prime and they fall in love? Their relationship has never clicked with me). That being said, I enjoyed this book. I have been following and reading Ilona Andrews for close to a decade and I always enjoy their stories even if I don't like all the characters. In Emerald Blaze, Catalina is ordered by Linus to take over a murder case. The victim is found in the Pit and the main suspects are a group powerful Primes. As she begins her investigation, Catalina discovers the Pit holds more dangerous secrets than anyone thought and the stakes are higher than ever. Can Catalina thwart disaster? And what about Alessandro? Her personal and professional lives are on a crash course and Catalina must decide what she truly wants.
Was this review helpful?
There is nothing I like more than a strong heroine and these authors load up their books with them. While this is part of a series, you should be able to read it as a stand alone. Another satisfying read.
Was this review helpful?
Whatcha Reading (link below):

Whatcha Reading:

I DEVOURED Ilona Andrews’s Emerald Blaze (out August 25) recently and felt ridiculously emotional the entire time. That book is a roller coaster and I want to reread soon. Hidden Legacy fans are going to love it (and if you’re not one, what are you waiting for?). It’s my favorite series at the moment and I’m very close to throwing books at random passerby.


CW: [graphic violence and gore; murder; discussion of rape and human trafficking: (hide spoiler)]

I have no idea how to talk about this book without spoiling Nevada’s trilogy and Sapphire Flames, the first book in Catalina’s arc. You have been warned for spoilers of previous Hidden Legacy installments (and if you haven’t read those, you shouldn’t be reading this review anyway. These books don’t work as stand-alones. Go back and start Burn for Me).

Y’all... As Catalina would say, I can’t even. What to say? What to start with? I tried really hard to write an an organized long form review, but unfortunately the incoherent squeeing in my head still hasn’t died down (and never will), so we have to settle for bullet points with lots of emotion.

And now, some scattered and spoiler-free thoughts on Emerald Blaze.

1) Did I love this book? Let’s look at the first impressions I wrote right after finishing it:


I think that speaks for itself! 

2) Re: the Nevada/Baylor familial conflict introduced in the last book. We get the full details of why the split happened and why Nevada stepped down as the head of the house. I’m super impressed by the logistics because I had not predicted this explanation, but it made a LOT of sense to me. But don’t worry, the Baylors are still on excellent terms and love each very much. Just because Nevada isn’t technically part of House Baylor doesn’t mean she isn’t part of the family. 

3) It is embarrassing how attractive I find Alessandro. Like...legit shame-induced, head-hanging embarrassment. He’d say some Italian endearment and I was like “WHY IS THIS HOT, why am I shaking with awe?” At one point, I half burst into tears because he wanted to protect Catalina. As I said, embarrassing! This quarantine is bringing out facets of me that have been previously unexplored. 😭

I’m not the type of person who squee over a hero, so WHO AM I AND WHAT HAVE I BECOME??!!

In my defense, I can’t help it! The man is a mysterious assassin with unclear motives. He’s also smart enough to be in love with Catalina (which, hello, grants him a million points because Catalina is my favorite character in the entire series). Also, IA keeps describing him with wolfish attributes and I. Love. Wolves. Let’s just say that Alessandro is the perfect meld of my favorite hero characteristics. 😭


The interesting thing about Catalina is how different she is from the previous book. Here is what I wrote about her in my review for Sapphire Flames

“I'm really impressed with how different the three Baylor girls are. Before reading this book, I was nervous that Catalina would be just like Nevada (whom I love, but I don't want to read about the same type of heroine over and over again). My worries were for nothing. Catalina's voice is completely different than Nevada's voice. Catalina is introverted, pragmatic, and keeps her emotions tightly hidden because she's so vulnerable and scared to trust her heart with anyone. But she's so damn strong inside and willing to do anything for her family. She wants to be loved so badly (and she pines so badly for her teenage crush Alessandro), but she keeps all of those forbidden feelings locked inside because she's so scared of her own power. As a siren, everyone falls in love with her if she isn't careful to shield her magic. 

But as different as the Baylor sisters are (and I haven't even gotten into Arabella, my favorite!), they have that core Baylor goodness inside them. They will always help people who come to them for aid, no matter how dire the circumstances. Nevada was never able to resist a client-in-need, and neither can Catalina. It's my favorite thing about the family. 

I don't want to go into spoilers, but I was willing to die for Catalina by the end. My murderous, sweet, introverted, brave, and vulnerable Catalina. She easily goes into my list of favorite heroines ever (it's a very long list, I refuse to whittle it down as I love them all). And by the epilogue, I wanted to give her a big, big hug and a large tub of ice cream. She deserves all the happiness in the world and I love her so much.”

So all this is still true... but also different. Catalina isn’t the shy, anxious girl anymore. She’s still vulnerable inside. But her heartbreak with Alessandro and being Head of the House (plus that new spoilery job with Linus) have hardened her. She’s been meeting up with Victoria Tremaine and learning how to be a badass, manipulative Head (update: Victoria is still terrifying as hell!). 

I don’t want to say that she’s a different person, because she’s not. But circumstances in the last six months have forced her to present a scarier, more confident exterior to others. She can’t show her insecurities to the world because it would eat her up. Despite all the changes, she’s still Catalina inside and watching her expose her vulnerabilities to Alessandro (and vice versa) made me shed loud, uncontrollable tears.

GAHHH! I just love her so much! Catalina is for sure my favorite Baylor and I want her to get an HEA so badly! But also I don’t, because that would mean her books are over. 😭

5) My theories re: Caesar and the biological paternal grandparent of the Baylor sisters. I had fairly good explanations for both before reading this book and Emerald Blaze neither confirmed nor denied them. Argh! On one hand, I feel confident. On the other hand, I have no idea when the narrative intends to explicitly reveal these secrets and it’s driving me up the wall. Could be the next book, could be five books from now!

Also, I have theories for Leon’s biological father, Arabella’s future hero, and Augustine’s potential love interest. I have a lot of theories, okay!? This is what happens when you reread the series and your brain expends endless energy in speculation.

6) Okay, y’all, I’m only point #6 and have barely touched all the things I loved about Emerald Blaze despite inching toward the GR maximum character count. And honestly, I don’t want to tell you all the things I loved because you should discover them for yourself

Will you love Emerald Blaze? It depends.

I’ve never read Hidden Legacy. Can I start here and enjoy it?: Nope. I do not recommend this series as a stand-alone. Go back and start with Nevada’s arc in Burn for Me. 

I really loved Nevada’s arc but disliked/hated Catalina’s first book. Will I enjoy Emerald Blaze?: Honestly, probably not. I can see people who enjoyed Sapphire Flames enjoy Emerald Blaze even more (or vice versa). But both books would be at the minimum “I enjoyed it” levels in order for that to be true. If you flat-out hated Sapphire Flames, I’m not sure why you’d enjoy Catalina’s arc going forward. You can definitely try the book, but go in with lowered expectations.


Ahem. My mission to avoid review incoherency is failing miserably, so I think it’s time to stop now. 😂 

Disclaimer: I received a free e-ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
I liked it. I feel like there should have been less things, important things that happened in "off time" between books 3 and 4 and between 4 and 5. A lot of relationship changes happened and I feel like we missed them. I mean sure they were explained but it was an info dump and we were not connected to the drama of them. Alessandro changed a lot. He is still dreamy and hunky but his wit and humor was gone. and there was a lot less of the Baylor family interactions. All this said. It was still a great and satisfying read. The magic is horribly wonderful. And what a cliffhanger. I need book 6.
Was this review helpful?
Ilona Andrews has to date not written anything that I hated. That said, Emerald Blaze was not my favorite. It is book two of Catalina's part of the House Baylor saga. Since becoming Prime two years ago, Catalina has gained both respect and control, which led to her becoming a Deputy for the magical region. This duty calls her to investigate the horrific death of another Prime's heir. What she discovers is worse than anyone is willing to believe--until it's almost too late.

Emerald Blaze brings back Alessandro of course, and unfortunately their chemistry isn't nearly as much fun as in Sapphire Flames. The urgency of the situation is also falls a little flat. Overall, I sped right through Emerald Blaze as I always do with an Andrews novel, but I didn't feel quite as satisfied as I normally do.
Was this review helpful?
Catalina Baylor has Slytherin type traits and I love that about her. It is enjoyable to see a different personality that is introverted and calculating in a positive way. She tries to follow the rule-book as much as possible but is ready for all possibilities and to shift into any role that is needed. Also seeing the family trying their best to run this new house is compelling and sweet. Every family member has their own role and I love that they all have their different strengths.

We also see more of the Baylor family and House Rogan and it is fun to catch a glimpse into their lives and their family dynamic. In Emerald Blaze we also get to see more of the magic world building and different kinds of magic and houses. It’s really fascinating and I hope we get to see more of that. The banter is witty and fun and the end boss fight is art worthy. I hope fans draw that at some point.

Highly recommend.
Was this review helpful?
Emerald Blaze satisfies and leaves me wanting more of the Baylors, more of the Primes. Andrews is phenomenal.
Was this review helpful?
4.5 Stars

Ok, wow.

It’s common for authors to have a book (or series) that isn’t quite as well-written or engaging as their others, but I am pleased to report that I have yet to experience this with Ilona Andrews. 

Things I Loved:

- We get to see more of Nevada and Connor! I definitely missed them in Sapphire Flames. 
- Catalina’s growth as a character. She kicks ass, and I’m not just talking about physically. She’s grown a lot in the six months following Sapphire Flames. Remember when she was so unsure of herself as the head of House Baylor? Well, you’ll be surprised (or not) to see how she’s grown more confident. 
- I also really enjoyed Alessandro. He’s definitely one of my favorite heroes.

As always, the plot is well-organized and original. It’s hard to find that these days. Every fantasy novel by a new author seems to have the same plot with different characters. Ilona Andrews keeps it fresh and full of intrigue. This is one of the main reasons I keep coming back for more!

All in all, I’d just like to say that Ilona Andrews has further cemented their spot as my absolute favorite author. So glad I got the chance to read and review this book!
Was this review helpful?
Things are going fine for Catalina Baylor, head of House Baylor and secret deputy.  Sure she had her heart callously broken by a sexy Italian heartthrob, that doesn't mean she can take a break. But it looks like the past won't stay in the past, and Alessandro is back to help with her most recent problem; a dead heir found in The Pit and a vengeful father pointing the finger at his business partners. Catalina and Alessandro have to work together again to solve the murder and survive Houston's toxic magic waste dump, which is developing life of its own...
I absolutely love the Baylor family dynamics, which made this a satisfying installment for me! Nevada has a larger presence in this book (and I'm not just talking about being pregnant). She and Catalina work through a plot point that I was really struggling with understanding in the last book. I was so relieved to find that what I thought was a mischaracterization was in fact sneaky and intricate plotting (I never should have doubted Ilona and Andrew)! This novel had a more engaging tone compared to the first, and I feel much more invested in Catalina's story. She and Alessandro are becoming more dimensional characters, and I can't wait to see if Alessandro can survive the Baylor clan and their overprotective tendencies.

Sword fights, magic, and romance combine to make Emerald Blaze an excellent continuation of Catalina's story.  There's sexual tension, a gruesome murder mystery to solve, and phenomenal world-building. The authors also do a great job at explaining past events without bogging down the story line, so I don't think it would be a problem for someone new to the series to begin with this book. I will warn you that once you dive in, you'll definitely want to read the rest of the Hidden Legacy series. It's such an imaginative and fresh take on urban fantasy, and the romance didn't overpower the plot, which can be a major sticking point for me. If you like action/adventure, urban fantasy, and/or paranormal romance, then Emerald Blaze might be just what you're looking for!
Was this review helpful?
I received this book as an advanced readers copy from Netgalley. 

Ilona Andrews is an author whose novels I voraciously read. This one was no different. I couldn't put this book down and finished it in one sitting. It was action-packed and the chemistry between the protagonist and her love interest was stellar. Reader be aware, this does have a love scene. Many of the author's previous novels, while they feature romantic stories, don't have explicit scenes.

This novel is set in a parallel universe where due to an epidemic flu and the subsequent solution, magic has been introduced into the world. I would recommend that any reader who hasn't read the first novels in this series starts with the other series first to give them a good grounding and so they won't be confused. The universe that the authors' have created is detailed and there are a lot of moving parts. Even though I had read the previous novels, it had been a while so I couldn't remember some details which would have served me well in understanding the particulars of this plot. I do wish the authors could have incorporated a bit more of the backstory into parts of the novel to help those of us whose memories aren't steel traps.

I also had one lingering question about a plot point from the very beginning of the story that was not well answered. The story starts with a bang, as the protagonist is attacked by monstrous creatures. The question at the end remains, how did the force directing those creatures know how to target her and her boss as it is explicitly mentioned multiple times throughout the novel that their roles as Warden and Deputy are a carefully guarded secret. This question remains largely unresolved, there is a reference to it that doesn't really seem believable, as it isn't clear how neither the antagonist nor anyone else involved in the PIt-plot would have been able to identify Catalina as a possible threat. Regardless, this novel was very satisfying.

I will be waiting for the next novel in this series. I will also be re-reading this novel and the previous novels in order to have a fuller understanding of the intricate plot being woven.
Was this review helpful?
I haven’t been reviewing as much as I used to. It’s just been a little much right now with everything going on. The past few months at work have been tough and this week has been no different. After a long trying night of working with COVID patients I woke up to see I was randomly selected for an ARC of Emerald Blaze on Netgalley. The dedication made me tear up. 

“To the essential workers and medical personnel on the front lines of COVID-19 pandemic. We are alive because of you. Thank you. “

Anyways to the actual review. 

Catalina has grown tougher and stronger after Alessandro left. She’s been visiting her Grandmother Tremaine (evil granny) in jail weekly, getting lessons on how to run a House. 

On top of being Head of House Baylor, she is a Deputy - which means when powerful Linus gives her an assignment, she can’t say no. 

She is called in to investigate the murder of Felix, who was working with four others to drain the Pit and make it valuable real estate again. Felix’s father Lander is set on revenge and has hired Alessandro to kill whoever is responsible. 

So Catalina is forced to work with him again.

“Why? He had the entire world at his disposal. He could have gone anywhere, but he came back here, to my city. It hurt to look at him. It hurt to remember him holding me, because when he wrapped his arms around me, he made me feel safe, and loved, and wanted. All that and he left, without apology, without explanation. He’d made it absolutely clear that I didn’t matter and now he was back, the son of a bitch, as if nothing had happened. “

I really loved this book. It’s the right blend of fantasy, mystery, and romance. Alessandro is much more open in this book. Catalina is becoming much more confident and competent in her powers. And as always, I love the humor between the Baylor family members. 

I love Arabella (youngest sister) and I hope she gets her own story because she’s hilarious. 

Also I really like Augustine Montgomery who is calculating and ruthless. I’m not sure if he’s actually a bad guy but he’s certainly dangerous and that’s my favorite type of fictional man. 

I appreciate the fact that Catalina and Alessandro figure out who did it fairly early on in the story and spend the rest of the case building evidence and seeing who else was in on it. Because nothing is more aggravating in a murder mystery than the killer being super obvious and the heroes not figuring it out. 

If you want an urban fantasy that is a lot of fun with a great romance, this series is wonderful. You can start with Nevada’s story in Burn for Me, or begin with Catalina’s in Sapphire Flames. I’d recommend starting with Burn for Me because the story is much more meaningful knowing everyone’s background. This series is a great intro into fantasy romance for people who don’t read romance.
Was this review helpful?
Buy this book.  I love Ilona Andrews and this is another surefire hit.  This is the further adventures of Catalina Baylor and this time Allessandro Sagredo  is her unwanted bodyguard.  Catalina has been working as a deputy to the Warden of Texas and the case she is investigating is turning deadly.  Lots of action, snarky humor and just fantastic writing.  Highly recommended.
Was this review helpful?