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....
©2015 Jennifer Estep (P)2015 Audible, Inc.
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"Fun New Young Adult Series with Tons of Action"
I’ve been a big fan of Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assassin series for adults for many years now. I religiously purchase that series audiobook on release day every year. I’ve yet to try another series by her. I’m not a big fan of young adult novels. I used to read them all the time, but I got really burnt out on the similar tropes that seem to pop up on all the paranormal YA novels. I even blacklisted them from my reading for a while. I’m starting to pick them back up, mostly from authors that I already love. I’m really glad that I did here. This series isn’t like any other YA series I’ve ever read.
This is a fantastic world that Ms. Estep has built around magical and powerful families. There are a ton of similarities between this series and the adult Elemental Assassin series. But, not so much that I felt like I was reading a younger version of the same story. There are straight up humans that don’t have magic and there are people with magic who kinda run things. They all have different types of magic, some even have more than one magic power. As with the Elemental Assassin series, the magic families have all the power and they exploit that power.
There are also really great characters in this story. Lila Merriweather is our main character. She has had a rough life. Her mother died when she was young. Her father is MIA. She was in foster care for a while, then decided that she was better off taking care of herself on the streets. She wasn’t completely alone though, she has Mo. Mo is an adult that helped her with documents and signing things for school. He also gives her jobs to help her. He also her only real friend and a mentor for her. He is also the one who convinces her that she should take the bodyguarding job with one of the powerful families.
Devon Sinclair is the only son of the Sinclair family. There have also been many attempts to kill him lately. When his current bodyguard is killed in Mo’s shop, Mo and Devon’s mother work out a deal to get Lila to become his new bodyguard. I liked Devon. He could be like so many other “trust fund babies”, of which you do see some in this book, but he isn’t. He is a real down to earth guy.
I also have a penchant for loving secondary characters, and that is no different here. I just fell in love with Oscar. He is a redneck pixie that lives in a dollhouse sized dilapidated trailer in Lila’s new room in the Sinclair home. The Sinclair’s felt she needed a pixie, so Oscar helps out around her suite. He also has a tiny pet tortoise named Tiny. If you’ve ever read Kim Harrison’s The Hollows series, Oscar makes me think of a hillbilly Jenks. Always drinking honey beer in the trailer, where Jenks would get drunk on just plain ole honey and lived in a rolltop desk (even if only in the winter). I can’t wait to see where Oscar goes in this series.
This story was full of monsters, action, and great characters. The worldbuilding was amazing. Both Lila and Devon proved to be wonderful young adult characters without all the angst that seems to creep into so many YA novels. We do see them interact with some of the other kids and do things like go on dates, which sounds mundane, but turns out not.
This is my first book with Brittany Pressley. She did a great job with the narration of this series. It takes place in a mythical town of Cloudburst Falls, West Virginia. So there are Southern accents for most of the characters. There is even the accent for the aforementioned Oscar, the drunk, hillbilly pixie. I thought she did a great job with all the different voices. I could always tell who was talking. She really brought out the tone of the story and did great with the snark. I plan to finish this series on audio.
"A lot of similarities to Elemental Assassin"
This was a really fun read. I can't say that there weren't several times where I felt like it was a redux of Gin Blanco. Toward the beginning, I was really distracted by the similarities. However, the narrative kicked in and I found myself enjoying, DESPITE the likeness.
My Estep has created another magic based world, but this time characters have a "talent" rather than an elemental ability. Once again, we see a town where mob-like families rule the roost and prey on those with fewer resources. Oh, and this time the setting is West Virginia, instead of Kentucky. So, the world is not very different from the world in which Gin lives.
As for the main character of this series, Lila is in many ways like a younger Gin, being just a teenager. She's a plucky orphan whose mother was killed by the top Mob Boss of the town. She is full of bluster and attitude and raw talent. Her profession, however, is that of a thief, rather than assassin, but she is also a trained fighter.
If you look at some details too closely, like why teenagers are acting as bodyguards and high level family representatives, things don't always add up. But, if you are a fan of Gin, you know that you will have to take some logical leaps (because let's face it, the best assassins don't routinely risk themselves by getting up close and personal with their targets). However, just like most of the Elemental Assassins, if you let go, the narrative can be pretty darn enjoyable.
"I found a new fav narrator!"
This the 2nd audio I've listened to that was voiced by Brittany Pressley (1st being Brown-Eyed Girl by Lisa Kleypas) and had I not know that name of the narrator I would not have guess it was the same person. Brittany did a great job with changing her voice for each book to fit the characters and plots perfectly!
I revisited Cold Burn of Magic on audio. I really enjoyed listening to Brittany Pressley narrate the story. Her voice and delivery for Lelia was spot on! Exactly how I heard her in my head when I was reading it a few months ago. If you haven’t read CBoM I can now highly recommend it on audio as well.
Where’s the most magical place in America? According to Jennifer Estep it’s Cloudburst Falls, West Virginia the town that Cold Burn of Magic takes place. We follow the life of seventeen-year-old Lila Merriweather. She’s an anti-heroine much like Gin Blanco (EA series). We shouldn’t like her or root for her, she’s a thief and no stranger to blood.
Blood didn’t usually bother me. I’d killed people before. Folks who’d attached me during my jobs for Mo. Others who’d come after me just because they’d wanted to, thinking that a lone girl would be an easy target. Monsters who’d slithered out of dark alleys, determined to make a meal out of me. Oh no, blood didn’t bother me . . .
But gosh darn it, she’s just so kick ass and snarky that I feel in love with her. She reminds me of a younger Gin Blanco so how could I not like her?!
THERE BE MONSTERS HERE. . .
Yeah there be monsters in Cold Burn of Magic, Estep introduces us to trolls, pixies, a lochness monster that lives under a bridge and you better pay it’s toll when crossing it’s bridge!
And let’s not forget the magicks, they have talents in the form of the senses for example, the heroine, Lila has a Sight talent. She can look into a person’s eyes and know what they are feeling deep in their souls, she calls it her soul sight.
Lila also swings a mean sword (Estep is great at bring us strong heroines with an affinity for knives and magic). And another parallel to Gin Blanco is that Lila is an orphan (really, Estep could write for Disney, all the parents are dead in her books LOL) prefers to work alone. But Lila finds herself becoming a member of a small group and I think over time they will become her family. One of the new people in her life is Oscar the grouchy, cowboy boot wearing, redneck pixie. He make me think of him as Jenks’ (from the Hollows series by Kim Harrison) country cousin without the dirty mouth.
I HIGHLY RECOMMEND
Cold Burn of Magic is an action package adventure, minus the usual YA angst, that adult readers can get behind, especially fans of Estep’s Elemental Assassin series. So if you like magic, monsters and evil mobster families you’ll enjoy Lia Merriweather and the great side characters that Jennifer Estep introduces in the first installment of her Black Blade series.
"Formulaic teen angst. Ok for teen girls?"
Sometimes you pick a book because it's on sale. You download it before a longish drive. And then you start listening and realize that you are really not the target audience. Sigh. The characters are 2 dimensional, the plot is contrived and predictable, and the narrator's voice is downright annoying. If you're buying for a young teen girl, you can do better with anything by Anne McCaffrey... but if you've already read all of her stuff, well, there are probably worse books. I listened to the end. There's a plot twist, but even that is weak and the enemy revealed is shallow, boring and easily defeated. The characters don't evolve and much like a sitcom you get the feeling that it's lining up for another episode of the same next week, or in this case, next book.
"a new series"
This is the beginning of a new series, aimed at the YA market but I'm a senior citizen and I loved it as much as her Elemental Assassin books. Bravo!!
"Took a risk and it relly paid off."
First off Brittany Pressley is my favorite female narrator. She has a mild southern drawl that is fantastic for all the books she performs in. She breates life into the books that takes a good story and makes it great. The story is a great Jr. High/high school read. The magic system is unique enough for urban fantasy to be interesting. The characters aren't very complex but they are far from card board cut outs. No descriptions of sex in this one making it a good read for Jr. High readers. It's a fun read.
"Spider, Elmental Assassin, with different names!"
This entire story is just Gin, the Spider, renamed and relocated. The plot, back story, tragic history is exactly the same. This book would have been better if it had an original plot with original characters!
Created new characters and an original plot.
She has a fairly annoying voice, in my opinion. However, it could be just what she used for this performance. I'd definitely sample the book before purchasing it.
It's not a matter of cutting characters. It's just that these are the same characters the Elemental Assassin series.
I feel that these characters and the plot show a lack of imagination. I love the Elemental Assassin series and am disappointed to see those characters refashioned in this lazy attempt at writing. I'll be very hesitant to purchase outside the original series in the future.
"Better Then Expected."
This is not a new take of the Elemental Assassin series, like I was afraid might happen. This book has a great story line and new cast of characters. I really enjoy the EA series, but was ready for something different, and Cold Burn of Magic delivered. Well worth my credit, the narration was also first rate. Thank you Jennifer Estep for a great start to a new series.
Audio and story Could use a little more refinement. IMHO🤓👌🏻
But for the price okay.
I wish it were easier to tell YA fiction before I purchased it. this is a very good YA book, but I am not a YA. if you are, then you will probably love this book. I did finish it, and think it is even fairly good for adults, if you can overlook the typical YA style and a few mistakes (Loche Ness is a place not a thing).
I felt the romance was a bit predictable and very in the Young Adult style of romances, and the mobs didn't seem to do any criminal things...
They're a good narrator, and I felt the captured the voice of the books really well
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