I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
Nevada Baylor is faced with the most challenging case of her detective career—a suicide mission to bring in a suspect in a volatile case. Nevada isn’t sure she has the chops. Her quarry is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, who can set anyone and anything on fire. Then she’s kidnapped by Connor “Mad” Rogan—a darkly tempting billionaire with equally devastating powers. Torn between wanting to run or surrender to their overwhelming attraction, Nevada must join forces with Rogan to stay alive. Rogan’s after the same target, so he needs Nevada. But she’s getting under his skin, making him care about someone other than himself for a change. And, as Rogan has learned, love can be as perilous as death, especially in the magic world.
I enjoyed this first book of a new series by the Ilona Andrews writing team and I’ll definitely be waiting impatiently for the second volume to be published this year.
That said, I can objectively see where a lot of this is simply a re-write of the Kate Daniels series. Nevada is the Kate clone—a tough, independent young woman with hidden talents waiting to be revealed and protective instincts that guide her behaviour. Connor “Mad” Rogan is the Curran substitute—the overpowering and arrogant alpha male. He’s pretty cliché, actually, being all the things that we women are supposed to desire, sexy, rich, and powerful. Switch out the Pack from the Kate Daniels series and put in Nevada’s family, including a heavy-duty-mechanic grandmother, a magical sharpshooter mother, and variously talented siblings.
The thing is, I like these people. I like Nevada. I love her grandma. I appreciate Nevada’s moral outlook on the world, i.e. everyone is someone’s child, parent, sibling, or loved one and deserves to be protected. I will wait to see how Rogan will be converted into someone less self-involved, less cold & calculating. The Andrews have set him up as rather psychopathic—a condition which has no cure in the real world, especially as psychopaths see absolutely nothing wrong with their state. (Actually, he’s maybe closer to Hugh D’Ambray than to Curran, which may make for some interesting plot points).
Obviously, this is a winning formula for the Andrews. I can’t blame them for re-constituting it, giving it a somewhat different spin, and getting some more mileage from it. And they have given us a differently magical world in this series—so far, no vampires or were-animals. The Primes are magic users with semi-god-like powers, reminiscent of Kate’s father and/or Hugh D’Ambray, but they are far more human in their outlooks.
Now, I must settle in to wait until the end of May for the next installment.