I don’t read much urban or contemporary fantasy, but I’ve somehow gotten hooked on pretty much all of the books written by author duo Ilona Andrews. So, I was quite happy to receive an advance review copy of their latest book, Blood Heir, which will make its debut on January 12, 2021.
Blood Heir is the first in a spin-off series based on the authors’ popular Kate Daniels books, but featuring Kate’s daughter/ward Julie as the protagonist. It’s a wonderful romp, with occasional moments of seriousness. For followers of the Kate Daniels series, it is great to be back in Atlanta, several years later, and see glimpses of what has been going on in the meantime. The “new” Julie, now known as Aurelia Ryder, has honed not just her magic skills, but also her sense of snark, resulting in a plentiful supply of memorable one-liners – enough that I wasn’t able to read this around anyone else for fear of laughing out loud. It is also quite entertaining to see how some of the kids from the Kate Daniels era are growing up. And there are some gruesome new magical creatures and a truly nasty villain to shudder about.
At the same time, though, this engaging blend of sharp wit, insane fights, and lots of well-researched mythology is augmented by some societal musings, for lack of a better word. The post-shift world can be quite harsh at times, and offers occasional uncomfortable parallels to today’s (real) society. A few somber discussions scattered throughout the book, especially about how Julie’s approach to things is diverging from Kate’s, add some heft to Blood Heir, and keep it from being just another adventure story. I’ll be looking forward to seeing how some of these themes develop in later books.
Having read a partial serialization on IA’s website this past summer, I was pretty sure I was going to love Blood Heir, and I did. I don’t give five-star ratings easily, but this book gets one from me. Just about my only issue with Blood Heir is that it comes to what is at best an intermediate conclusion, and there are several hooks left open for an ongoing story arc. Readers, including me, are going to want more books in the series – and my fingers are crossed that we won’t have to wait too long.
Final note: although I think it’s not necessary to have read the Kate Daniels series to enjoy Blood Heir, readers who haven’t may want to skip to the end, and read one or both of the “Ryder Extras” appended there, which don’t contain spoilers, and may provide some useful background, especially the first one. And finally, my thanks to Independent Publishers Group/NYLA and NetGalley for the advance review copy!