by Ilona Andrews
The Blurb: No day is ordinary in a world where Technology and Magic compete for supremacy…But no matter which force is winning, in the apocalypse, a sword will always work.
Hugh d’Ambray, Preceptor of the Iron Dogs, Warlord of the Builder of Towers, served only one man. Now his immortal, nearly omnipotent master has cast him aside. Hugh is a shadow of the warrior he was, but when he learns that the Iron Dogs, soldiers who would follow him anywhere, are being hunted down and murdered, he must make a choice: to fade away or to be the leader he was born to be. Hugh knows he must carve a new place for himself and his people, but they have no money, no shelter, and no food, and the necromancers are coming. Fast.
Elara Harper is a creature who should not exist. Her enemies call her Abomination; her people call her White Lady. Tasked with their protection, she's trapped between the magical heavyweights about to collide and plunge the state of Kentucky into a war that humans have no power to stop. Desperate to shield her people and their simple way of life, she would accept help from the devil himself—and Hugh d’Ambray might qualify.
Hugh needs a base, Elara needs soldiers. Both are infamous for betraying their allies, so how can they create a believable alliance to meet the challenge of their enemies?
As the prophet says: “It is better to marry than to burn.”
Hugh and Elara may do both.
It's not everyday an author can take a "bad guy" from a beloved series and turn him into a character you will cheer for. But Ilona Andrews has that kind of power and even though Hugh d'Ambray has never been a favorite of mine, he has slowly but surely crawled his way into my heart.
This story takes place in the wold of Kate Daniels. A world so many of us paranormal and fantasy junkies are familiar with. This world is full of magic, but only in spurts and no one ever knows for how long. Technology fails constantly as magic tries to take hold, so a strange way of life has developed where even those with certain powers need to master a sword if they want to survive. And with people of different powers (some with none at all) fear and prejudice exist.
So when an infamous warlord, Hugh, is cast out by his master and a shunned warlock, Elara, needs protection, there's only one good answer to solve their dilemma...marriage.
From the beginning Hugh and Elara can't stand each other and are forced by circumstances out of their control to join in this union. So, this hate to love tale is not only smoldering and tense, but realistic. Our two anti-heroes are so similar and there is one thing they both have in common...allegiance. This is the seed that allows there mutual respect to grow. They would do anything for their people, even marry each other, and that virtue is the solid foundation for a partnership no one saw coming and everyone should be fearful of.
Nothing is cookie-cutter with this author and I never know what I'm getting myself into when I start one of their books. Well, except sleep deprivation. I was hooked from the first few sentences and was sad to see it end.
I wholeheartedly enjoyed this book. The plot is well developed, the characters are three dimensional, the world building is comprehensive and the action is intense. I love how twists are never obvious and how the mysteries are perfectly placed. And above all, I love the humanity of the characters. Ilona Andrews can not only develop a character but can give him or her a soul, even tattered and tarnished. Their characters will have you fully invested and thinking about them long after you've closed the book. Luckily, this is only book 1 in the series and our adventure is far from over.
Although this can be read without reading the Kate Daniel's series, having that background will allow you to jump right in. Plus, why wouldn't you read Kate Daniels? The series is amazing and worth every minute.
So, well done. I can't wait for book 2.
What did you think?