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Release-Day Review: Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews (Iron Covenant #1)

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Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews // VBCIron and Magic (Iron Covenant #1)
Ilona Andrews
Published: June 26, 2018 (NYLA)
Purchase: Amazon
Review source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Reviewed by: Amy

Rating (out of 5): 5 stars

Note: While this review will be spoiler free, it will reference to previous events from the Kate Daniels series. If you haven’t started that series yet, check out VBC’s review of book 1, Magic Bites.

After being cast out by Roland, the former Preceptor of the Iron Dogs Hugh d’Ambray is trying really hard to drown his sorrows in drink. At least enough to black out, forget what happened, wake up, remember, and do it all again.

Finally waking from this stupor long enough to be somewhat comprehending, Hugh realizes that the men and women he once commanded are still there ready to follow him, and he also realizes the fight is not over as it seems someone has been hunting down what remains of his warriors.

Elara Harper is known to her people as the White Lady, blessed (or cursed?) with strong magic that is both revered and feared, she takes the protection of her people seriously. When her community faces threats from multiple sources, an agreement with Hugh and his Iron Dogs seems to be the most mutually beneficial option for both groups. But there’s only one way the pact will be taken seriously by outsiders: marriage.

If any of you follow Ilona Andrews (like yours truly, and I recommend it because they are delightful), you’ll know that this story started out as an April Fool’s joke a couple of years ago. Well, the joke was on them because an outpouring of fan enthusiasm ensued and being the awesome author lords that they are, Ilona Andrews have basically gifted us with this wonderful spinoff in the Kate Daniels world.

Now, I’ll admit, I wasn’t sure how Hugh carrying his own story would pan out. I mean he’s complete anti-hero to the core, he’s ok being the “bad guy,” he’ll use charm to deceive you into getting what he wants, and he had plenty of asshole moments for sure. I loved that these aspects of his character were kept intact. Honestly, he’s not here to be liked, he’s here to do a job: protect. And changing that would be a disservice to this intriguing character.

What ends up happening, however, is Hugh winds up pulling Elara’s people into his orbit, maybe not consciously, but he comes to take their protection seriously. We get so much depth to his character as we see his loyalty and honor–and seeing where his own loyalty and honor got him. But make no mistake, he’s always looking for an angle.

And Elara proves to be the perfect foil to Hugh. Their marriage of convenience was a wonderful way to get these two leaders to have plenty of sparring time. Both of them are used to leading in their own, different, ways and I loved every time Elara would outwit Hugh, something he’s not used to for sure. Of course all the animosity leads to some wonderful tension between these two, sparks flew anytime they had page time together, and I’m very interested to watch this slow burn romance play out.

I loved that Elara is kind of this new mysterious entity in this already established world. Ilona Andrews does a really good job of keeping Elara’s background cloaked in mystery throughout the entire book, only giving us little crumbs to glean what we can. I think this is smart because Iron and Magic definitely feels connected to its parent series (complete with some great cameos) and the final upcoming book. After Kate’s series is finished I look forward to continuing with Hugh’s because one thing Iron & Magic definitely does is open up the world.

Since Hugh’s story, and where he is at the beginning, is so connect to where he came from in Kate’s story, I’d say this one is better read having previously read Kate Daniel’s (trust me, you won’t be sorry). Ilona Andrews is a master at rehashing past events so readers can remember how all the pieces fit together.

I’m supremely impressed with what Ilona Andrews has achieved in Iron and Magic with Hugh’s story, and I honestly can’t wait for him to break away from Kate’s series even further to see what direction he goes next.

Sexual content: Sex

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2 Responses to “Release-Day Review: Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews (Iron Covenant #1)”

  1. Shannon says:

    Oh!!! Awesome review!!! I have been very interested in this spine off…I was always intrigued by Hugh in the Kate Daniels books. I will be reading it now.

  2. Liz S says:

    I totally agree with you. This is an awesome story. Elara is the perfect foil for Hugh. Hugh is the guy you love to hate, but by the end of the book, you have a different insight into his character. Elara is no pushover but she has a softer side which is appealing in addition to her leadership skills. Can’t wait for the next book!

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