As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Blood & Magic Series (Boxed set, Volumes 1 – 3)
by Danielle Annett
my rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Available on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited
*I Received a Free Copy of this Collection from NetGalley in return for an honest Book review*
This Book review is for an entire boxed set, which includes the first 3 books in Danielle Annett’s Blood & Magic Series. In order to make this more approachable, I will offer a review of the entire collection first, then break it down into volumes.
Before you go on, here is a note from the Author’s website that explains why some of the terms were used: Here we go again!
In it she explains where the term ‘Lyc-V’ originally comes from and goes on to explain ‘Friend-of-the-Pack’ and a few other issues reviewers have apparently noted. I am including this note here because she makes some good points that should be considered.
That said, please read on for my uncorrected review (You’ll see why I noted those 2 points above). Oh, and please do not let those issues detract – they stand out, yes, but after reading all 5 books published in this series so far, they don’t mean much in the way the story flows, proceeds or overall enjoyment level.
Down and Dirty For the Entire Collection
Fans of Kate Daniels will enjoy this series, once you get past the annoying similarities between them (that fades by Book 3). An enjoyable read that flows fairly well.
What is it about?
Aria Naveed is a Mercenary living in Spokane, Washington six years after the Supernaturals came out of the closet in an event known as ‘The Awakening’. This collection follows her adventures as she struggles to come to terms with her own pyrokinetic talents (power of fire), maneuver through an exploding love life and build a business – all while navigating an increasingly volatile city sitting on the cusp of a new Supernatural war.
Thoughts on the Entire Collection
I am glad this book came in a collection form – if I had just picked up Book 1, I might not have continued on to Book 2 or even 3. It is not that the writing is poor or the plot uninviting – merely that I’ve read this story before, or rather, a famous one very much like it. The Kate Daniels Series by Ilona Andrews. Take the same basic format and quite a few of the same principles, mix them up, add a few pretty touches and tweak the framework just a bit… and you have Blood & Magic. It is not exactly the same, and fans of Kate Daniels will surely enjoy this collection, but the similarities are enough to give me pause.
Fortunately, by the time Book 3 rolls around, Aria is standing on her own, stepping away from the shadow of Kate Daniels to tell her own, very interesting, tale. An entertaining one at that.
First Person, occasional Multi person POV
- Flows Fairly well
- The few editing issues noted did not detract
- Pick up speed and steam by the end of Book 2
- Book 3 stands apart, defining the collection
- Aria: She’s strong yet knows her failings, even if she is too stubborn to admit them most of the time.
- WAY too similar to Ilona Andrews to be unnoticeable.
- Lyc-V…. this is the SAME TERM as used in the Kate Daniels series. Come on.
- The Alpha is a big cat…. *sigh*
- A few minor details get mixed up from book to book… how old is Declan again?
Verdict for Entire Collection
Though I wouldn’t put this collection at the top of your TBR pile or as a ‘Must Read’ – it is still worth a look, and since it is on Kindle Unlimited, it is definitely worth checking out.
Published: December 17th, 2018
Break down by Volume
Cursed By Fire (Book 1)
Down and Dirty
It’s decent, but not unique.
What is it about?
Six years ago, the world underwent what they now call The Awakening – a time when the monsters and shadows came out into the light. As the world awoke to the presence of the Supernatural among them, governments fell, cities crumbled and society rewrote itself.
Now, the world is slowly stabilizing, flush with factions and divisions – but people are surviving, including Aria Naveed, a human with extraordinary yet very inhuman powers. Working as a Mercenary, she struggles to pay the bills while navigating the ramifications of so many powers swarming around her – powers that suddenly come to call when her latest case lands her on the trail of a supernatural murder.
Well… like I said above, it’s decent, but not unique. Similar in feel and theme to Ilona Andrews’s Kate Daniels series, it read like an echo of that story, though blurred just enough to be different. There are plenty of similarities, and even some blatant rips – like the notion of the Lyc-V, the lycanthrope virus that makes a shifter a shifter. That said, there are differences that make it stand apart, if not completely alone.
First person POV
- Aria is a fun and determined character.
- James – he appears as a romantic interest at first.
- Flows fairly well.
- No obvious editing issues in this edition
- Too similar to the Kate Daniels series – some examples:
- Alpha is a large cat (Alpha of the other Alphas)
- FMC is a mercenary
- Gets involved with the pack via strong shifter friend who occasionally works with her on jobs.
- Lyc-V…. come on!
- Friend-of-The-Pack status…..
- The last chapter feels tacked on… like the author changed her mind about the direction if felt like it was going.
Despite my complaints, this was still an entertaining story that could pass some pleasant reading time.
Kissed by Fire (Book 2)
Down and Dirty
Still…. STILL similar to Kate Daniels, but starting to pull away.
What is it about?
Aria’s powers are growing stronger and the factions are vying for her loyalty. Her previous actions have gained her ‘Friend of the Pack’ status among the strongest Pack in the Pacific Northwest, and the unwanted attention of Declan, the Alpha of the entire region. If that isn’t bad enough, there are rouge vampires hunting her, new groups in play and a ghost from her past returned to taunt her, one that endangers all she holds dear.
It is starting to stand apart from Kate Daniels, but not enough to be unique – or even fresh. The dialogue is humorous at times, and the situations among the new factions are tension worthy.
James, who played such a strong role in the previous book, takes a back seat in this installment, finding himself relegated to the friend zone far too quickly. Declan, the Alpha of Alphas, is stepping forward and pushing his kitty paws into the plot, taking it over and forcing Aria to make choices she isn’t ready for.
I’m on the fence about the develops here. It is getting interesting, but it hasn’t diverged enough from similar books to really grab me yet.
- Aria – still a badass
- Other characters start to jump forward
- Flows fairly well
- Declan…. I am not sure about him.
- Her mother. UGH… HER MOTHER!
- Kate Daniels fan-fic.
Entertaining enough to read.
Burned by Fire (Book 3)
Down and Dirty
FINALLY starting to stand alone and apart from other books. Getting better, decent read.
What is it about?
An unwanted mate-bond, almost friends, old foes and new adventures abound for Aria in Book 3. She is dancing the Supernatural Political tango, and she doesn’t know the steps. Between the witches, the Vampire Coven, the Pack and the HAC… Aria doesn’t know where to turn, or how to navigate the mire her life has suddenly become.
Not only is the world around her falling apart, but her own heart is shuddering with indecision. Declan, the Alpha of the Northwest Pack, mate-bound her in order to save her life… binding them together magically, forever. It is a situation that is quickly becoming untenable, and when Declan’s poor choices from Book 1 come back to haunt him, he realized he may have lost the one thing he truly cares about… and the Pack’s most powerful weapon.
So this book is FINALLY becoming something solid and almost unique. Aria’s story is finding its footing and gaining ground, venturing into territory the marks it as a decent Urban Fantasy.
I fell more in love with Aria in this volume, finding common ground with her inner struggles and outer determination. Her relationships, while annoying at times, spark the kind of humor and verve that make me smile… even if I wanted to smack not just one, but three of the men that surround her. You know, even though this is a standard Urban Fantasy with only one love interest (ultimately) it could have been written as a Reverse Harem… I mean, the feelings are there and the guys are pretty hot! 😉
All that aside, Aria is facing supreme challenges in this volume. Not only does she need to find and rescue a witchling child, she must face the ever present and growing danger her mother, and the HAC, presents. It makes for a rollicking story that will lead into Book 4 nicely.
- Echoes of series past start to fade.
- Aria…. this girl just keeps getting better!
- Declan: He’s an ass… but he’s kinda adorable.
- Flows well
- No editing issues noted
- Not everything is as it seems
- Declan: He is both a ‘pro’ and a ‘con’ – you’ll get it when you read it.
- Felt short
- The mate-bond. I have so many questions!
- An Urban Fantasy Romance that lacks… well, Romance. Yeah, yeah… story build up and all that, but give us something!
If you’ve plowed through the first 2 books in this series, you will be rewarded with this one. THIS one is both interesting and entertaining – worth reading.
If you enjoyed this Book Review, please be sure to check out a few of my other ones!
- Summoned by Magic by E.M. Moore- A Book Review
- Consort of Rebels by Sadie Moss – A Book Review
- Gangs and Ghosts by Katie May – A Book Review
- What do my Star Ratings Mean?
What are you reading these days? Have any great book recommendations for me? Did you read this collection? What did you think? Drop a comment, I would love to talk to you!