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I Belong

Review: Cold Burn of Magic by Jennifer Estep

Cold Burn of MagicTitle: Cold Burn of Magic

Author: Jennifer Estep

Genre: YA Fantasy

Series: Black Blade (Book #1)

Publication Date: April 28, 2015

Format: Paperback, 368 Pages

ISBN-10: 1617738247 (Kensington)

ISBN-13: 978-1617738241 (Kensington)

Reviewed by: Zed


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. . .

Quick & Dirty: A strong, snarky and streetwise protagonist trapped by magic and power ploys but unfortunately CBOM was not appealing enough to continue my investment in this series.

Opening Sentence: Bad things always come in threes.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Upon beginning this book, my first thought was ‘oh man, this is going to be a chore to finish.’ I don’t know why but I really did not enjoy the first chapter, perhaps there was too much description, but I felt my attention wander so I put my kindle down and continued where I left off the next day. Luckily, it sparked some interest and I’m glad to note that after reading it, Cold Burn of Magic wasn’t that bad of a read.

Lila Merriweather is one of those strong-willed protagonists with the snarky humour that made the story all the more interesting, especially when she’s adamant on not letting anyone get close to her and then falls in love. I liked Lila’s ability to fend for herself and her self-confidence, but what made her stand out was her bluntness and clear distrust of everyone around her, except Mo.

I nodded, trying to swallow the emotion that choked me from the inside out. 
Mo drew back. “Be good, Lila. Or be really good at being bad. I’ll leave it up to you which one it is.”

Her magic, on the other hand, irritated me. I felt as if the book did not do justice to it. Given that the cold burn of magic is the title of the book, you’d think it was something incredible and powerful that Lila can wield instantaneously. However, that’s not the case. Lila referred to it as her true talent but she could hardly ever call upon her special ‘cold’ magic, which made me think it was kind of useless. The book would have been better off being named after her ‘soulsight,’ (ability to read a person’s emotions by looking into their eyes) because at least that actually worked when needed!

The use of two powerful families at each other’s throats and the friendships between the younger Sinclairs and Draconis reminded me of the Montagues and Capulets. The search for Devon’s father’s killer added an element of mystery to the story and although all fingers pointed to the Draconis, it was clear from the start that wasn’t the case. I liked the suspense but it wasn’t enough, there wasn’t enough thrill or fear to make me really want to know who the mystery man was.

Cold Burn of Magic wasn’t altogether a bad read because it had a little bit of everything: magic, power-struggles and romance but unfortunately there wasn’t enough of each element to bring the book together. Devon-Lila’s romance was too airy to be romantic, the ‘cold’ magic wasn’t as useful and dangerous as it is imagined to be, and the power feuds between the families seem to be more between Lila and Blake Draconi than anyone else. This is not a series I would continue to invest my time in.

Notable scene:

I only knew Claudia Sinclair by reputation. The other Families had nicknamed her the Ice Queen, and with good reason. My soulsight let me see that she meant every harsh, brutal word. If it had been only me, I would have already been planning to take her money and skip town. But I would never abandon Mo, and she somehow knew that was her trump card, the thing that would get me to do her bidding above all else.

“I understand,” I said, having no choice but to give into her demands. “I will protect your son the best I can.”

No matter how much I hate you both, I snarled silently in my head.

Black Blade Series:

1. Cold Burn of Magic

2. Dark Heart of Magic (October 27, 2015)


FTC Advisory: Kensington Teen provided me with a copy of Cold Burn of Magic. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.


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