Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews
The list of "Automatic Pre-order" authors that I have is pretty short. Ilona Andrews is top on that list. Not only is this a new book, it's the start of a new series! A new series is always, always good news from this amazing writing team, especially since the Kate Daniels series is wrapping up with book 10 this year. If you haven't read any of the Kate Daniels series, I wouldn't really worry about. Definitely read it, because it's amazing, but the authors do a a really great job of filling you in on the necessary backstory.
From the publisher because they say it better:
"The Iron Covenant Book 1
No day is ordinary in a world where Technology and Magic compete for supremacy…But no matter which force is winning, in the apocalypse, a sword will always work.
Hugh d’Ambray, Preceptor of the Iron Dogs, Warlord of the Builder of Towers, served only one man. Now his immortal, nearly omnipotent master has cast him aside. Hugh is a shadow of the warrior he was, but when he learns that the Iron Dogs, soldiers who would follow him anywhere, are being hunted down and murdered, he must make a choice: to fade away or to be the leader he was born to be. Hugh knows he must carve a new place for himself and his people, but they have no money, no shelter, and no food, and the necromancers are coming. Fast.
Elara Harper is a creature who should not exist. Her enemies call her Abomination; her people call her White Lady. Tasked with their protection, she's trapped between the magical heavyweights about to collide and plunge the state of Kentucky into a war that humans have no power to stop. Desperate to shield her people and their simple way of life, she would accept help from the devil himself—and Hugh d’Ambray might qualify.
Hugh needs a base, Elara needs soldiers. Both are infamous for betraying their allies, so how can they create a believable alliance to meet the challenge of their enemies?
As the prophet says: “It is better to marry than to burn.”
Hugh and Elara may do both.
This book is an amazing start to a new series about respect, redemption, love and loss. This book hits all the best points of fantasy and romance-strong characters, lots of magic, ancient creatures, and action that keeps the pages turning long after bedtime.
One of the best parts of this book is the world building. A castle that was shipped in brick by brick to please the former mistress in modern day Kentucky is now inside a dark magical forest after the magical shift occurs. There are tunnels under the castle that people don't come back from and no one knows why. There are druids, shapeshifters, magic, technology, gods, and creatures that are completely unknown. It would seem chaotic except the authors have made it all make sense and believable.
Elara's character is absolutely incredible and mysterious. The way the authors are able to weave in old mythology with this insanely bonkers world they've created is fascinating. Elara's character is both beloved and respected by her people for her ability to keep them healthy and safe, but there is a secret that everyone is hiding. We do get a glimpse of what she truly is, but it's only a glimpse and I hope more is revealed as the series progresses.
Hugh d'Ambray has spent his life powerful and feared. Without Roland's magic and support, and now no clear agenda, he falls apart. All the way apart. When the opportunity comes along to save his soldiers and himself, he reluctantly takes it. Hugh's character is such a contradiction-he is feared and brutal but also incredibly loyal to his Iron Dogs. At one point, he talks over breakfast about how he killed a woman and then later on saves a dog. I really feel the authors did an amazing job of making his character very slow to like. It was as if he had to prove to himself that he was worthy of respect before the reader could believe that as well.
The relationship between Elara and Hugh was also very unique. It's easy to groan about the arranged marriage trope but this was the farthest thing from trope-y. Their relationship was built incredibly slowly and all on the basis of respect. Both characters were fiercely protective of their people and not afraid to do whatever it took to keep them safe.
I just can't say it enough-this book is amazing. These authors are amazing. I can't wait to see what comes next in this series.
Iron and Magic is available June 26th and you can pre-order this book now here:
Thank you to Netgalley and NYLA for the opportunity to read and review this book-all ramblings and the overuse of "amazing" are my own opinions.
Also, there are other amazing series from these authors. May I suggest: