Book Review: Blood Heir by Ilona Andrews

Posted January 27, 2021 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

Book Review: Blood Heir by Ilona Andrews

I received this book for free from my own shelves in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Blood Heir by Ilona Andrews
Series: Aurelia Ryder #1
Genres: Arcanepunk Fantasy
Published by Nancy Yost Literary Agency on January 12, 2021
Pages: 359
Format: eBook
Source: my own shelves

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Also in this series: Blood Heir

Also by this author: Burn For Me, Magic Shifts, Burn for Me, Magic Binds, White Hot, Wildfire, Iron and Magic, Magic Triumphs, Magic Bites , Magic Burns, Magic Strikes , Magic Bleeds, Magic Slays , Gunmetal Magic, "Gerard Demille and Helen Meet", "Diamond Fire", Magic Rises , Magic Breaks, Magic Shifts , Magic Binds , Magic Triumphs, "Sweep with Me", Clean Sweep, Sweep in Peace, "Questing Beast", "A Mere Formality", "The King of Fire", Blood Heir

First in the Aurelia Ryder arcanepunk fantasy (eleventh in the Kate Daniels World) and revolving around little Julie, who’s not so little anymore.

My Take

Hmphf, I’m not sure what to think. I know it’s an Ilona Andrews. I know it’s a continuation of Kate Daniels World, but it doesn’t read like it. Okay, sure, it’s a spin off from Kate Daniels in that this is about a grown-up Julie, so maybe it should be different. I just don’t want it to be.

Seems like a lot of work to camouflage a house…too bad it wasn’t necessary. Still it was a fascinating bit of reasoning, and all coming from first person protagonist point-of-view from Julie’s perspective.

I did enjoy Blood Heir, but it’s lacking the warmth of Kate Daniels. Part of it could be the zigzagging Andrews does in trying to pull all these characters in, but it’s also the lack of interest by so many as to why it’s so easy for Julie to take over the investigation. It also feels too easy for Julie with all those powers of hers.

Roman cracks me up. He serves an evil god but loves helping people. Reminds me of how much he enjoyed events in Magic Binds, 9.

Derek has changed quite a bit. And it’s too frustrating that Andrews reveals so very little!! Julie has gone through some major changes as well! That whole eye thing that Julie goes through is just creepy. I can see where it’s useful, but…ick…

Nick’s whole attitude is weird as well. He’s still anti-nonhumans, but he’s got PLENTY of his own issues. His lover. His dinners with Kate and Curran. His hidebound attitudes about New Shinar, equating it with the old. Okay, well, I guess it’s sort of fair after what Erra put everyone through…that Roland(!) put everyone through!

Julie does make some excellent points about how New Shinar is different. What Erra learned from her past. What Julie’s hopes are for the United States. There is plenty of fodder for future stories in Aurelia Ryder! That’s not to mention the antics Ascanio will get up to in his future dreams.

Luther does NOT like Stella! And I can understand why. What a nitwit!

There’s a lot of focus on belief and how human thoughts can affect the result of belief plus emotion, creating a deity. How every little bit about a person can build them into someone to be worshipped. Ooh, and that bit where Andrews points out the wide open fields of America for growing a new religion…scary! Then there’s that hodag! What the heck!?

Don’cha just love protective parents, lol…I cracked up as Julie remembered some of those “protective” moments of Andrea and Raphael. Of course, as Sophia goes on about some of her and her friends’ adventures…oy!

I know that Blood Heir moves on from the Kate Daniels series, but it’s still weird that we don’t see Kate and just that tiny piece of Curran. It could be to help make the break from the Kate Daniels series…AND it could be that Julie has to avoid them! Six of one…

Oh, lordy, that Namtur is gonna be fun! “This is a city of fools, incompetents, and madmen. I haven’t felt this young in centuries.” His comment about Atlanta being the city where Erra chose to die is haunting and makes me want to re-read Magic Bleeds, 4.

Okay, that love meme is annoying. Especially at the end. You know the one, where each believes the other left and never loved the other…and yet Andrews leaves even this vague. They have such excuses for their actions and they’re both lame.

Action-wise, no problems. There is so much action as we learn what Julie can do. And it is too easy for her. I know she suffered pain, but I wasn’t feelin’ it. Okay, I should probably say “thank god” for that, but you know what I mean.

There is an interesting wrap-up at the end of the Battle of Atlanta that took place in Magic Triumphs, 10. Part of that conversation involves how much the Atlanta Chapter of the Order screwed up with Kate.

Now they’re determined to focus on Julie.

The Story

Having left eight years ago, it’s a changed Julie who returns to Atlanta. A girl, a woman, on a mission and hemmed in by the warnings from Sienna. If Julie wants her family to live.

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.

The Characters

Aurelia Ryder, Julie Lennart-Olsen, has changed. A lot. She is still a sensate, a human who sees magic, only she’s one with titles, including Dananu Edes-Shinar, as the heir to New Shinar. She has two companions: an eagle, Turgan, and Tulip, a flesh-eating horse that just might be a unicorn. Lady is another horse that Julie hires. Her weapon is a spear, Dakkan. Her biological parents are dead; her father had been a carpenter, her mother, Jessica Olsen, on her way. Now Julie will be a Knight-Defender.

Julie’s found family includes Kate Daniels, Curran Lennart (the former Beast Lord), and the very precocious nine-year-old Conlan. Grandfather, Roland, a.k.a. Nimrod, is locked away on another world in his palace. The Lennart-Currans mostly live in Wilmington because Conlan attends a private school there. They do come back to Atlanta for the summers. Uncle Hugh had once been bound to Grandfather.

New Shinar is…
…the new kingdom ruled by Eahrratim, a.k.a. Erra, the City Eater, the Plaguebringer, the Voice of the Old Kingdom, who is Grandfather’s sister, a goddess, Kate’s aunt, and the woman Julie calls grandmother who came back and wandered off with Julie those eight years ago. Gemeti is an artist. Nader Youseff acts as New Shinar’s buying agent of magic-related items. High Sakkan Namtur is ancient, the minister of internal security…and an assassin who’s unstoppable. He’s also Erra’s blood brother.

The Free People of the Code is…
…the Pack and is based in Atlanta. Its alpha, the Beast Lord, has been Jim Shrapshire for the past few years. Jim is looking to retire! He’s mated to Dali, a white tiger who’s a vegetarian, and they have two children: JJ and Diana. The Keep is its massive fortress. Various clans make up the Pack, including the Bouda, werehyenas, led by Andrea Medrano, who is their Alpha. She’s mated to Raphael, who has made the Boudas a financial powerhouse. Bea is Andrea and Raphael’s daughter and friends with Sophia. Ascanio Ferara is being groomed for the beta spot. He’s also part of the Pack’s loup rapid response unit. Some of his Boudas include Cherry and the dying Abigail Lewis with her own fascinating tale. Mahon still leads Clan Heavy. Desandra Kral is the Alpha of Clan Wolf. She has twin thirteen-year-old sons: Desimir, a lynx, and Miladin, a wolf. Clan Rat is in charge of security with Robert and Thomas Ionesco still the Alphas. Ricardo and Mahon are youngsters, part of a group of six kids along with Sophia who are much too adventurous. JJ? Well, he’s too little. Or he was. Doolittle is still their medmage.

Julie had been in love with Derek Gaunt, a werewolf, who left two years after Julie did. Cutting Edge had been Kate’s investigating agency.

The Ice Fury Pack in…
…Alaska is bigger than Atlanta and mostly wolves and bears with about a third of them not interacting with humans. The current Alpha is Mihail Kamenov, a Kodiak from Siberia. Darren Argent may only be the beta in the pack, but he is their true leader, “the wolf who rules in all but name”. Jerome, Zahar, Nia, and Krish are part of his team in Atlanta.

The Witches
Sienna, the Maiden, is one of the three and is an oracle who sees the future. Evdokia is one of the three as well, the Mother.

Roman is a black volhv, a Slavic pagan priest, who services Chernobog. Evdokia is his mother.

The Masters of the Dead are…
…necromancers who pilot vampires. They call themselves the People and were created by Roland. In Atlanta, they now call themselves the Eastern Institute of Necromancy (EIN). They run the Casino, which is still run by Ghastek Stefanoff. Rowena is the second most powerful Master of the Dead in Atlanta.

The People of the Sun are…
…not friends with New Shinar. A group that worships Huitzilopochtli, the god of war, sun, and sacrifice, they don’t discriminate against anyone unless they don’t pray to their god. Tizoc, a.k.a. Luke O’Sullivan, whose family still lives in Boston, is a techutli, a powerful, dangerous lord.

The Order of Merciful Aid are…
…a.k.a. the Order with a rebuilt headquarters. The Knight-Protector is Nikolas Feldman, the man Kate sees as her brother and a former Crusader. Nick actually has dinner with Kate and Curran these days! Conlan calls him “uncle”… Stella Davis is a Knight-Defender in bad odor. Peyton works in the stables. Jaiden Higgs was a Knight-Defender who suffered a psychotic break, which Pastor Haywood helped with.

The Order was created by Jared Stone, a former Army Ranger, to protect his neighborhood. With a narrow definition of humanity, the Knights have a lot of power in this alternate world. Damian Angevin is the Grand Master of the Order. A Crusader is the black ops of the Order. Timothy Hanson is a Knight-Secretary. Bruce Dolio is a Knight-Inquisitor. Hannah Salazar runs a small private army in New Mexico and holds one of the four Tower cards.

Atlanta PD
Officer Fleming is guarding the original murder scene. Assistant Director Luther Dillon, a wizard, is a snarky friend of Kate’s; he’s with The Center for Magical Containment and Disease Prevention, a.k.a. Biohazard. Luther’s character continues to crack me up.

The Mercenary Guild is…
…still partly owned by Curran and Kate. Barabas Gilliam, a weremongoose and lawyer, is the guildmaster. The Clerk is still there. Charles is an assessor. Most of the mercenaries are lone wolf types who handle jobs the cops can’t or won’t handle.

Barabas is married these days to Christopher Steed, a theophage who had devoured the Greek god of terror. Sophia is their teenage daughter and a weremongoose.

The North Georgia Methodists
Pastor Nathan Haywood is, was, a holy man. Bishop Hazel Chao asked the Order to investigate his murder. Gerald is one of the bishop’s people.

The Rat Tails are/were…
…a small gang. Dougie is their leader, but he’s too nice. Marten is Deira’s chosen name.

Red had been the helpful kid in Magic Bites, 1 and the nasty one in Magic Burns, 2.

The Honeycomb Gap is…
…a trailer park that morphed, is still morphing, into something horrible and dangerous. Jasper used to run it. Charger is Larry’s iron hound. Other people Jasper has worked with include Christi Constanza, Dallas Karen, Bambi Nolastname, Mark Rudolph, Felix Goswin, and more. Cephus knew about the hodag.

Tamyra Miller is a structural engineer. Saiman had been the grandson of a frost giant and had died in Magic Triumphs, 10. The best relic hunters include Waylot Billiot, Darryl Knox and his wife Dakota Mooney, and the unpleasant Mark Rudolph. Reggie and Hunter are a couple of Rudolph’s thugs. Professor Alycia Walton is an historian specializing in early Christianity. Eighteen years ago, Billiot and Rudolph teamed up with Nicolson, a mage.

Moloch the Child Eater had…
…been a deity in the Old Testament. He has been reborn as an avatar and threatens Atlanta and Kate. The ma’avir are his assassin priests. To rise higher in the hierarchy depends on how many children they’ve killed. The Bull of Tophet was prophesied as rampaging through Atlanta.

Lyc-V is the virus that allows shifters to change. Loupism results from a lack of control. It must end in death. Shapeshifters usually have two forms: animal and human. A really good shapeshifter has a third: the Warrior form. A First is a descendant of an animal deity bloodline. Shar is the irresistible urge to claim and protect land. Blood armor and weapons are more skills of the Shinar bloodline. Carol Wood is an ICU nurse. The hodag came alive from the tale of one Eugene Shepard, a land surveyor of the 1890s Rhinelander in Wisconsin.

The Cover and Title

The cover is grim with Atlanta burning in the background, receding to black at the top and focusing on Julie/Aurelia in her leather top and black cape swirling in the wind as does her long blonde hair. Her Order badge is around her neck and Dakkan held crosswise in front of her. At the very top in a pale yellow is an info blurb. Below that and above Julie’s head is the author’s name in white. The title is in yellow starting at Julie’s waist with the series info in a tiny white font just above it.

The title is all about Julie Olsen, the Blood Heir.

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