Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Emerald Blaze (Hidden Legacy #5), by Ilona Andrews

Harper Collins/Avon, August 2020

Catalina Baylor and her sisters are  Prime magic users, possessing impressive powers. One of their grandmothers, Victoria Tremaine, would love to control those powers, and is less inconvenienced than one might think by the fact that she's locked up in a prison for magical offenders.

But that's not Catalina's most pressing problem right now. The Warden of Texas, responsible for the enforcement of laws governing the use of magic, hired Catalina as his Deputy six months ago. He's now giving her a very big job. Five Primes, of different Houses and of varied talents, have formed a company to clean out and redevelop the Pit, a sort of magical brownfields site in Houston. This would be very profitable, if they can pull it off.

One of the Primes involved, Felix Morton, has been murdered. His father, Lander Morton, is not actively involved in the project, but is the major source of funding. He wants his son's killer not just found, but killed. He's hired an assassin to do the killing, and an investigative firm to find the killer. Linus Duncan, the Warden of Texas, has ordered Catalina to take over the case. And she's to do it without revealing to Lander Morton or the other Primes involved in the project that she's the Deputy Warden.
Oh, the assassin Morton has hired is Alessandro Sagredo, the handsome Italian who broke Catalina's heart not many months back.

But Alessandro has his own reasons for wanting to be in Houston and working with Catalina. Someone is out to get Catalina, and will attack other members of her family to get her distracted and vulnerable. He had his reasons for leaving her behind, but he has no intention of letting her be killed.

Soon Catalina is juggling a major investigation, an attempt to kill her and possibly destroy her family, her distrust of Alessandro, and her grandmother's manipulation of her and threats against the granddaughter she feels betrayed her, Catalina's very pregnant sister, Nevada.

This is number five in a series, but while there were a few points where it took me a moment to catch up, overall I was able to follow it and enjoy the story. Catalina, her family (well, not Victoria Tremaine), and the family friends are likable and interesting. It's fun finding out what Alessandro is really up to, and several of the Primes involved in reclaiming the Pit are better people than I initially expected them to be.

Who murdered Felix Morton, and why, turns out to be the tip of a dangerous iceberg.

Worth noting here that the magic system has real rules and limitations that make it definitely not just a form of cheating.

Recommended.

I received a free electronic galley of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, and am reviewing it voluntarily.

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