My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I love Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series, even when it annoys me at times. Burn for Me is a new series by the duo and it’s very, very similar to the Kate Daniels series. Very similar. As in you could almost replace Kate with Nevada and Curran with Rogan. However, I found Nevada to be more annoying than Kate and the story to be much more predictable and less entertaining. However to be fair I was on a roller coaster with this book – sometimes I liked it, sometimes I was annoyed, sometimes I really liked it, and sometimes I hated it entirely. Overall I think it’s just ok but I dislike how formulaic the series is when you consider the similarities to the existing KD series. Although a lot of fans may preferentially prefer such formatting and therefore adore the hell out of the series. YMMV.
In this alternate reality world magic has been bred into society with the most powerful magic users being the richest, predictably. Nevada Baylor is a young scrappy but tough chick running her family’s investigative agency. She’s dirt poor due to her dead father’s illness and she’s supporting a whole host of people from teenagers to grandmothers. She’s overly prideful and has magic of her own that becomes a major talent later on. I don’t consider this to be a spoiler, by the way, since the book practically screams this is going to happen several times along the way. Anyway she hooks up with tall, silent, gorgeous, uber powerful, and ridiculously wealthy Rogan to solve a case. They have massive chemistry but since she’s convinced he’ll never love her, she refuses to be seduced by him – for now.
It’s not that the premise is that bad, although I think my sarcasm has come through pretty easily, it’s just that it’s so predictable and well worn. There is no real new ground here. I get tired of reading the same thing, especially with women protagonists, who are sarcastic, tough, and capable but are given the usual hard luck background only to be the only woman the rich, unavailable bachelors could ever love. The women of course give the men a run for their money so there is a lot of foreplay before the big act. Again it’s not bad or anything and I’m sure tons of IA fans love this format and eat it up. I certainly love the Kate Daniels series, but I’m less enamored of this one because I feel as though I’ve read it already. Many times and I didn’t always like the delivery here.
One of the problems I had is that Nevada is pretty annoying in my opinion. She is supporting two younger sisters, 15 and 16, and two younger cousins, 17 and 18. I might be wrong on the ages but they’re older teenagers anyway. She constantly refers to them as children. They’re not children. Yes I understand the need to allow them to grow up on their own but their father is dead, their mother is disabled, and in the case of the cousins – absent father and addict mother – so they’re not innocents. They’re far more mature than their age so stop with the whole children talk. They’re not children. It made Nevada sound like she was 45 instead of 25. Speaking of which, the love interest is 40. Now I don’t have an issue with age differences, especially in fictional romances, but I thought 15 years was a bit much.
Additionally Nevada fails a lot, which I actually quite liked for most of the book. She’s imperfect, but towards the end of the story she is magically (literally and figuratively) solving all the worlds problems herself, and with Rogan of course. I got tired of these two being the sole heroes of an entire city of very rich, very powerful people. Especially when the villain, who I thought was funny and entertaining, kept having huge leaps in logic that would take Nevada and Rogan a long time to figure out themselves. I ultimately felt as if the plot was half finished and big gaps were just smoothed over with explosions and Nevada’s endless whining about Rogan’s good looks and her poor status instead of a well thought out progression of events.
But even with all that – I didn’t really hate the book. I hated the ending so very much but most of the time I didn’t mind listening to the narration. The action is literally non-stop and Nevada is always verbally kicking some rich guy’s ass so the pages go by pretty quickly. As a somewhat mindless listen while walking the dog, I find it absorbing enough without being riveting. I always easily stopped listening. My biggest problem is that I feel it tried to recreate the Kate Daniels series without being as successful. In my been there, read that files – I’ve read better retreads. But I’m sure this will be a monster hit for the authors regardless.