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).
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.
What a pleasure it was to finally stick my nose in this book and ignore the world while I enjoyed it! For some reason that I can’t quite pinpoint, I adore this series and I have read and re-read the first 3 books and the novella upteen times and I know without a doubt that I will read them again.
In fact, I picked this book up yesterday and proceeded to read it twice. And I had to go back and enjoy parts of it again this morning. So I guess I have already read it two and a half times. Just like with the first three books, I’m finding it difficult to move on to other reading, preferring to linger with this one. I waited so long for it and it’s already done.
I know that we have switched narrators (from Nevada to Catalina), but really the two women sound very, very similar on the page. Catalina has different talents to take into account, but readers will barely feel the transition, they are so much alike. However, since I like the voice that House Andrews is using for these sisters, I am certainly okay with that.
I really like Catalina’s obsession with bladed weapons and her ability to channel Grandmother Victoria Tremaine. At the end of the novella, Rogan’s mother had offered to tutor her and that instruction has definitely paid off. Other developments that I am enamoured of: Bern’s attentiveness to their client, Runa--could this be the start of something? And I am unholy excited about Penelope Baylor and Sgt. Heart. This development is excellent. Romance isn’t just for the young folks. Also awesome? Linus Duncan, Hephaestus Prime. Building weaponry out of knives and forks, what a skill. Plus, knowing what we know about him from the first 3 books, there is great tension about his intentions towards House Baylor. Squee!
The Andrews’ have set Catalina up with some problems to be solved over the course of the next couple of books. Now the hard part begins--waiting for the next Catalina book to be published. Already, I’m champing at the bit for the next installment and it won’t be out until sometime in 2020. I don’t suppose that we could be lucky enough that they would follow up with an Arabella series? One thing is for sure, I will be very sad when this writing team stops producing books in this particular fantasy world.