Book Reviews // Diamond Fire & Sapphire Flames

20 November 2020

I had originally intended to write some reviews for shows I’ve been loving lately but as I was writing my reviews I realised reviewing TV shows is way harder than reviewing a book. Even a film would be easier because there aren’t as many plot lines to spoil, but a TV show there is so much you don’t want to give away but also need to giveaway to explain why you loved it so much, it’s crazy! But there you go, so here I am writing a review last minute the night before. Isn’t it nice to know some things never change?


I adore Ilona Andrews’ writing. This writing duo is fantastic, I am always totally invested in their books and their characters and usually fly through them. The Hidden Legacy series is actually one of my favourites, so it will be surprising to hear I fell so far behind in the releases for the series. They decided to release another trilogy in the same world focusing on Catalina Baylor, the sister of Nevada from the original trilogy. I always get worried when a series shifts to focus on new characters because what about if I don’t like them? I reread the original trilogy when I was stuck on what to read next and decided it was finally time to begin the newer releases in this series so here are a couple of reviews.


Diamond Fire (Hidden Legacy #3.5) – Ilona Andrews

Published: 6th November 2018

Source: Purchased

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Novella

My Rating:

Nevada Frida Baylor and Connor Ander Rogan cordially invite you to join their wedding celebration. Summoning, weather manipulation, and other magical activities strictly forbidden.

Catalina Baylor is looking forward to wearing her maid of honor dress and watching her older sister walk down the aisle. Then the wedding planner gets escorted off the premises, the bride’s priceless tiara disappears, and Rogan's extensive family overruns his mother’s home. Someone is cheating, someone is lying, and someone is plotting murder.

To make this wedding happen, Catalina will have to do the thing she fears most: use her magic. But she’s a Baylor and there’s nothing she wouldn't do for her sister's happiness. Nevada will have her fairy tale wedding, even if Catalina has to tear the mansion apart brick by brick to get it done.

Diamond Fire was a novella released before the next new addition to the Hidden Legacy series. It was released as an introduction to Catalina, probably as a chance to get used to a new character, but also to fill the gaps between Wildfire and Sapphire Flames. This novella was a quick and easy read which took me 5 days to finish which really demonstrates where I am with my reading at the moment. I may have been slow reading but I definitely enjoyed myself.


As I said, this novella is set after the end of Wildfire. Some of the major plotlines had been resolved in that book and now we get to see the preparations for Nevada and Rogan’s wedding. Catalina and her sister, Arabella, have taken over wedding planning duties and as Nevada is a slightly neurotic bride who really can’t handle the lies wedding planners normally tell the bride as they’re putting out fires. I think this was the perfect occasion to get to know Catalina, you get to see her being organised and capable but also see her growing into an adult. She had always been the quieter sister, understandable given her abilities. She was hesitant to grow close to anyone outside of her family and it was nice to see her thoughts and understand where the reluctance came from.


I went into this book uncertain if Catalina was strong enough a character to hold my attention and invest in her story and it was safe to say she showed me I was wrong to have doubts. She is such a strong character who may not be as obviously strong and forceful as Nevada but she wasn’t to be overshadowed by her sister either, she has a different kind of strength and I loved it. It was also great seeing her work solving her own case, showing he had grown up working for Baylor Investigations the same way Nevada had and had the same skills, even if she wasn’t a human lie detector like her sister.


The mystery in the book was fun, we saw the usual family antics and we got to know the characters. Ilona Andrews has always been good about writing a strong novella, as seen with the novellas in their Kate Daniels series, and so I had no doubts the story would be strong here too. I really enjoyed getting to know Catalina and it had me excited to see where her story would go in the next lot of releases in the Hidden Legacy series.


Sapphire Flames (Hidden Legacy #4) – Ilona Andrews

Published: 27th August 2019

Source: Purchased

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Romance

My Rating:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrew comes an enthralling new trilogy set in the Hidden Legacy world, where magic means power, and family bloodlines are the new currency of society…

In a world where magic is the key to power and wealth, Catalina Baylor is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, and the Head of her House. Catalina has always been afraid to use her unique powers, but when her friend’s mother and sister are murdered, Catalina risks her reputation and safety to unravel the mystery.

But behind the scenes powerful forces are at work, and one of them is Alessandro Sagredo, the Italian Prime who was once Catalina’s teenage crush. Dangerous and unpredictable, Alessandro’s true motives are unclear, but he’s drawn to Catalina like a moth to a flame.

To help her friend, Catalina must test the limits of her extraordinary powers, but doing so may cost her both her House–and her heart.

I want to say upfront, I liked Sapphire Flames but I didn’t love it. This book jumps three years into the future, Catalina has become Head of House Baylor and is preparing for the end of the three year grace period all new houses have. It was interesting to see how she became the Head of the House and what had happened in the three years we had missed. Catalina was just as strong as an investigator as her sister and she was the right leader for the Baylor family. Nevada was too rash, but Catalina is quiet, she sits in the background more and thinks about her actions because she wants to avoid notice and because of that she does have more forethought than others. This is also helped because she has been trained by Rogan’s mother in how to act. At the end of the novella she invites Catalina to spend time with her and teach her how to fit in with the other houses and she uses this training well throughout this book.


As I said about the novella, Catalina really can carry her own story. She is such an interesting character because her abilities are so unique and you can see she has learnt a lot about them since last time we saw her. She is still learning herself, but she wasn’t like Nevada at the start of Burn for Me ignoring what she could do with her powers, she had learnt everything she could about magic and now has slowly figured out how to use it to the best of her ability. I loved she was strong and was willing to put the happiness and needs of her family above her own, even when it broke her heart. It was sad to see some things later on in the book, but as you see many of the Baylor’s are impulsive and don’t think about their actions and I loved her Catalina was level-headed and occasionally a bit too practical.


This book fell down in one simple way, the romance. Normally I get swept away by the romances Ilona Andrews writes but this time I just couldn’t quite believe it to be invested. The romantic interest here was Alessandro, we got a small glimpse of him when the Baylor’s petitioned to form a house but learn next to nothing about him. Well, you certainly learn something about him here, but nowhere near enough. It felt like I was being told there was chemistry and a brilliant romance between Alessandro and Catalina, but I didn’t believe it because I just couldn’t see it. There was a small spark of something for sure, but it felt like it was written that there was a whole heap of history between the two when they met like twice. Why did Catalina care so much and why was Alessandro out there all invested in Catalina. They don’t know each other! I know the same could be said for Nevada and Rogan when they first meet but I feel like their romance took longer to develop than this one did. I just didn’t ever believe it and that definitely meant I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I hoped.


That being said, the actual mystery and story developments were brilliant. I was invested and eager to know more and annoyed when the book ended because I still had more questions I wanted to be answered. It was. A solid addition to the series in that sense. I really enjoyed it and can’t wait for more of the plot and seeing more of the characters I already know and love. Ilona Andrews’ secondary characters are always really strong and interesting (which might be why I’m so annoyed Alessandro felt so flat). I enjoyed seeing the Baylor families usual antics and it was great to return to this familiar world. I am excited to read Emerald Flames.


Have you read this series? What did you think about the change of focus to Catalina? And what are your thoughts on the Alessandro/Catalina romance, does it get better or am I just being too fussy?

Post Signature
© A Fool's Ingenuity. Design by FCD.