So, here’s the story. One of my drop dead, all time favorite urban fantasy authors, Ilona Andrews, wrote self-published book. They (Ilona Andrews is a pseudonym for a husband/wife writing duo) killed it. Blood Heir takes place almost a decade after the Kate Daniels series and follows Julie, aka Aurelia Ryder, as she follows her own path and fights against destiny just like her mother did.
Blood Heir was one of Ilona Andrews’ first self-published books, and to no reader’s surprise, it did incredibly well. I am so thrilled to review this since I have gotten to review one of Kate Daniels series Magic Binds, and more recently the newest Hidden Legacy novel, Emerald Blaze. So check out Blood Heir because Ilona Andrews is the best.
From the Publisher:
From Ilona Andrews, an all-new novel set in the Kate Daniels World and featuring Julie Lennart-Olsen, Kate and Curran’s ward.
Atlanta was always a dangerous city. Now, as waves of magic and technology compete for supremacy, it’s a place caught in a slow apocalypse, where monsters spawn among the crumbling skyscrapers and supernatural factions struggle for power and survival.
Eight years ago, Julie Lennart left Atlanta to find out who she was. Now she’s back with a new face, a new magic, and a new name—Aurelia Ryder—drawn by the urgent need to protect the family she left behind. An ancient power is stalking her adopted mother, Kate Daniels, an enemy unlike any other, and a string of horrifying murders is its opening gambit.
If Aurelia’s true identity is discovered, those closest to her will die. So her plan is simple: get in, solve the murders, prevent the prophecy from being fulfilled, and get out without being recognized. She expected danger, but she never anticipated that the only man she’d ever loved could threaten everything.
One small misstep could lead to disaster. But for Aurelia, facing disaster is easy; it’s relationships that are hard.
What I Loved:
- The Kate Daniels World (through Aurelia’s eyes): Andrews write the best world. Aurelia has come back to Atlanta, her home, after eight years of being away and after we haven’t seen it for a while either. We get to encounter all of our favorite characters from Aurelia’s eyes – Nick and the other Knights, Derek, Ascanio, and even Conlan. We get to see the falling buildings and dead bodies, new magical creatures, and a whole lot of shapeshifting goodness. Andrews blended the old Kate Daniels with the new Aurelia POV really well, so as a devoted reader, you get both nostalgia and a new heroine to root for.
- (Related) the Family Dynamic. I love love love how Aurelia is super close with crazy grandpa Roland, grandma Erra, and uncle Namtur, all main villains in the Kate Daniels books. We really get to see the motivations and depth to these characters that was previously missing through the lens of Kate’s point of view. I love how Aurelia and Conlan have hang outs in Roland’s prison world, and that she is more integrated with the family than ever. It makes me want to read the Kate Daniels series all over again for all of the clues that would lead us here.
- Derek. This is a cop out, but I feel no shame. Mr. Broody Werewolf has become Mr. Sexy Badass Broody Werewolf, and I love it. Derek left Atlanta when Julie/Aurelia did, and he fulfilled his full potential elsewhere. I can’t wait to see Derek meet up with Jim and maybe even Kate and Curran in the later books (now that we know there will be a sequel!) I think that Derek provided the perfect foil to Aurelia, because while Aurelia was a bit mopey for someone who is supposed to be more mature and grown than her previous teenage self (more on that below), Derek brings out the best in her.
Honestly, I am incapable of writing how many things I loved about Blood Heir, and particularly not objectively.
What Didn’t Work *As* Well:
- Aurelia/Julie’s attitude. Okay this may not be a popular opinion. But I felt that Aurelia was a little whiny at times. Kate had the same martyr complex, so it is recognizable and very understandable. But Aurelia’s whole macho front got a little annoying, and it was fun to see Derek poke a hole in the façade. In general, Aurelia’s best moments were when she was with people who remembered her or who she ended up having to tell that she is Julie. I hope that book two brings out all of the qualities that we loved in Julie, because Aurelia seems to have absorbed a little too much Roland along the way.
- The Lackluster Mystery. This wasn’t a deal breaker since I was so ecstatic about being back in Kate Daniels’ Atlanta, but the death of the priest felt a little “plot device-y.” I enjoyed the tie-in with the “big baddie” god coming to get them, and I loved the sphinx reveal, but the callous murders and lack of big reveal made the plot ancillary to the characters and to the overarching grand plan. And yet, Andrews still gets us hooked and invested in finding the killer. Curse you, writer gods.
As I mentioned above, I am basically incapable of writing an objective review to Blood Heir. This spin off series to the Kate Daniels world was a long time coming, and I loved every minute of it. As Andrews explained in the Acknowledgment section, this book was written because their first responder fans asked Andrews to write some escapist literature set in the Kate Daniels world so they could forget the traumatic reality of COVID, and Andrews delivered in spades. And that is why Andrews fans love everything they produce – they love us right back. So go order your copy of Blood Heir today if you are a Kate Daniels fan, or love urban fantasy and escapist books, and know that every purchase is going directly to them since they are now self-published. This was an easy five stars from me. For a better understanding of the Kate Daniels world and ancillary series, check out the Ilona Andrews website, which is chock full of helpful information and free excerpts, short fiction, and blog posts.