Title: Iron and Magic
Author: Ilona Andrews
Genre: Urban Fantasy/ Romance/ Adventure
Publication date: 2018
Hugh d’Ambray, Preceptor of the Iron Dogs, Warlord of the Builder of Towers, served only one man. Now his immortal, nearly omnipotent master has cast him aside. Hugh is a shadow of the warrior he was, but when he learns that the Iron Dogs, soldiers who would follow him anywhere, are being hunted down and murdered, he must make a choice: to fade away or to be the leader he was born to be. Hugh knows he must carve a new place for himself and his people, but they have no money, no shelter, and no food, and the necromancers are coming. Fast.
Elara Harper is a creature who should not exist. Her enemies call her Abomination; her people call her White Lady. Tasked with their protection, she’s trapped between the magical heavyweights about to collide and plunge the state of Kentucky into a war that humans have no power to stop. Desperate to shield her people and their simple way of life, she would accept help from the devil himself—and Hugh d’Ambray might qualify.
Hugh needs a base, Elara needs soldiers. Both are infamous for betraying their allies, so how can they create a believable alliance to meet the challenge of their enemies?
As the prophet says: “It is better to marry than to burn.”
Hugh and Elara may do both.
Iron and Magic, a spin-off series by Ilona Andrews from the world of Kate Daniels, was a major surprise for me. The first book of a trilogy with just as much magic, mythical creatures and interesting characters – and yet I almost decided not to read it. What is the reason? High D’ambray.
I know many girls go head over heels for bad boys, I have fallen pray to this too, but me and Hugh – we just didn’t click in any of the books from the Kate Daniels series. He was hot, strong and sarcastic which are my three favorite things about male characters. Yet, he felt short, probably because I was comparing him to Curran all the time and because he failed in everything he tried. For me he was pathetic and annoyingly persistent, like a cockroach. So I was sure I was going to get bored or annoyed or something worse with this book. But the white-haired chick promised me more.
The story starts somewhere after Magic Binds (Kate Daniels #9) and Magic Triumphs (Kate Daniels #10). Roland has tossed Hugh aside, severed their connection and let him deal with the void inside. I am not a very religious person but I have vivid imagination – I can imagine what this void can feel like; to have your belief crushed, your god forsake you, your life to turn into a meaningless existence. It’s devastating, and it felt like it as I saw the world through his eyes.
Hugh’s pity party is crashed by his devoted Iron Dogs, the army he has personally created, trained and led as Roland’s Warlord. It turned out they were more loyal to their leader than the Builder of Towers. Hunted like animals, with no resources or protection they need their leader to get them out of the mud.
And he does. He sobers up, he trains them into shape and he finds them a place where they could live and defend themselves. The price? Marriage to a woman with strong opinions, stronger magic and palpable disdain for anything Hugh D’Ambray.
I have to admit, Ilona Andrews have done a marvelous job with Hugh’s character. He doesn’t turn overnight into a hero or even into a tolerable human being. They take their time to show him building himself from nothing, giving us glimpses of his mind at work. And then they shows us how the people around him, the ones he cares about, change him and shape him into something new. I honestly started this book determined to dislike him to the very end. Unfortunately, I failed.
Elara, on the other side, is a mystery wrapped into enigma. I love it. From the white hair to the bitchy attitude towards Hugh to her determination and witchy powers. I love that the authors feed us clues and notes about her origin, her powers but don’t tell us what she is. The wait is delicious.
The two of them are just balancing each other out, pushing each other and making it all better. I love it when everything falls into place and there are no unreasonable plot-twists or unnatural transitions.
I won’t give away the plot but I’ll just say that the battles in Kate Daniels series so far somehow pale in comparison to the one in Iron and Magic. It almost felt like watching Lord of the Rings again.
This book gets a well-deserve 5/5 rating and I can’t wait to get my hands on the other two.
What about you? What rating would you give? What are your thoughts and takes on Iron and Magic?