Diamond Fire by Ilona Andrews is book 3.5 in the Hidden Legacy series and moves the focus of the narrative from Nevada Baylor to her younger sister, Catalina. On the verge of graduating from high school and having just come out to the magical families of Texas as a considerable talent known as a Prime, she’s experiencing a lot of major life changes right now. Naturally, that makes this the perfect time for that bitch known as Karma to throw some intriguing challenges her way.
Readers not familiar with the series should not start here. You will miss out on the bulk of the world building, character building and general knowledge of the series unless you begin with book one, Burn for Me.
Nevada had fired several wedding planners before Catalina and youngest sister Arabella determined they would handle the event themselves. It’s proven to be quite the challenge with a bride who alternates between apathy towards the whole thing and making strange last-minute demands like adding blue lilacs to a pink, white and sage color scheme. Fortunately, the groom Connor “Mad” Rogan is a billionaire and is footing most of the bill. That makes finding the right people to handle the bride’s quirky requests a lot easier. Unfortunately, he has a ton of relatives staying at his mother’s mansion, the primary wedding planning venue, and almost all of them have hidden agendas of their own.
One of those agendas involves stealing the Sealight Crown, a family heirloom intended to be part of Nevada’s wedding regalia. Typically, since Nevada is the head of a private detective agency (Baylor Investigations), she would handle such an issue herself, but this isn’t typical. Having her accuse/question/interrogate her future in laws could be very awkward, so Catalina reluctantly takes on the task. Naturally, there’s also an attempted poisoning, an Italian count determinedly pursuing her as the girl of his dreams and some teenage mean girls determined to take her down but then, that’s life as a new adult.
This is a fun, quick fantasy novella which takes a look at all the difficulties we face as we do the figurative cross over from teenager to adult. For Catalina, who comes from working-class folk, a lot of this has to do with career and family. She’s happy her sister is getting married, thrilled to get Nevada’s old room but has no idea how to navigate the new opulent lifestyle that comes both with the public acknowledgment of her abilities and the fact she is now related to billionaires. She’s facing people who look down on her for her strong work ethic and those who find her ‘less’ for not being able to match them in wealth. She’s also maneuvering her way through the ‘college or whatever’ decision; she worked hard to get stellar grades and an excellent SAT score only to discover that university life is something that no longer interests her. Finding that she has a real talent for the family business of sleuthing adds a new element to consider for her future. She is also struggling with her magic; how much should she use it, how much she can control it and how much she should let it control her. So, a lot of the tale is watching Catalina hit her stride in regards to learning what she’s good at and how much she can handle, and seeing her sort through her mixed emotions about the many options she needs to steer through in her future. The authors make this fun and interesting and give us just enough glimpses of beloved, familiar characters from the series that fans of Hidden Legacy will leave feeling thoroughly satisfied. There is no romance here but there are hints at future possibilities, giving readers something to look forward to.
Diamond Fire is a wonderful bridging tale, neatly passing the series baton from Nevada to Catalina. I love the Baylor family and am very excited to see their story continue. I think other fans of the books will love this novella as much as I did and will join me in eagerly awaiting the next addition, coming in 2019.