White Hot by Ilona Andrews urban fantasy book reviewsWhite Hot by Ilona Andrews urban fantasy book reviewsWhite Hot by Ilona Andrews

Note: this review contains some spoilers for the first book in this series, Burn for Me.

In White Hot (2017), the second book in Ilona AndrewsHIDDEN LEGACY urban fantasy series, we return to a magical version of Houston, Texas, where some people (typically the rich and powerful) have inheritable magical powers. Nevada Baylor is from a not-particularly wealthy family that runs a private investigation firm, but she and some other members of her family have magical powers that are suspiciously strong for a family with no reputation at all as magic users. Actually, Nevada is a rare truthseeker: she not only knows when others are lying to her, but also recently realized that she can compel them to tell her the truth. But she’s trying to keep her magical power secret to avoid the trouble that public knowledge of it would bring.

It’s two months after the end of Burn for Me and the near-destruction of Houston. Nevada Baylor hasn’t seen Connor “Mad” Rogan lately, since she told him she wasn’t interested in a fling, and she assumes that he’s moved on, despite the intense feelings they felt for each other. Nevada makes a couple of fateful decisions: First, she decides to use her newfound power of magically forcing someone to tell her the truth, to compel a mass child molester/murderer to confess where he’s hidden the last girl he kidnapped, who authorities believe is still alive. Augustine Montgomery, who holds the mortgage on the Baylor’s business, warns her that if her abilities become known it could be dangerous for her personally, but she can’t stand idly by. Nevada takes the precaution of disguising herself for the confrontation with the molester, but she knows she’s taking a risk that word of her spectacular powers will spread.

Secondly, against her better judgment, Nevada agrees to take on an investigation for Cornelius Harrison, a gifted animal mage who appeared briefly in Burn for Me. His wife has been murdered while on the job as a lawyer for House Forsberg (hard to believe anyone would want to kill a lawyer, let alone four of them!) and he’s getting stonewalled on the details of her death. It’s clear that some of Houston’s magical Houses are involved in a far-reaching conspiracy. Unsurprisingly, as Nevada begins investigating Cornelius’ case, Rogan makes his long-awaited appearance. He has his own compelling reasons for being interested in this case ― as well as in Nevada.

Hidden Legacy by Ilona Andrews

White Hot continues right where Burn for Me left off, with the fast-paced mix of adventure and romance that characterizes Ilona Andrews’ books. We learn more about the overarching conspiracy that endangers the life of almost every person in Houston, and Nevada and Rogan’s relationship continues to develop. The whole Baylor clan is back, as sassy and raucous as ever. Nevada’s younger teenage sisters, Catalina and Arabella, became more interesting and discernable personalities, and even are able to contribute to the investigation in some unexpected ways.

One of the highlights in White Hot is the role of Cornelius and his animals: he has a mental rapport with beast and can train them to do incredible tricks, though they’re much more than stunts. There’s a scene with some criminally-minded ferrets that is beyond cute. As much as this scene will warm the heart of animal lovers, Cornelius also lets Nevada know that he has definite plans to avenge his wife’s death, though he’s close-mouthed about how he intends to do that.

The Andrews author team excels at world-building, and one of the more intriguing aspects of the HIDDEN LEGACY series is its delving into the genetic aspects of magic and the effect this has had on magic users and their Houses socially. Some types of magic are more compatible than others. Dynasties are built around particular types of magic, and marriages are ruthlessly arranged to try to achieve the best possible combination to have magically gifted children that will keep the House in a position of power. There are various levels of magical power ― Prime, Significant, Notable ― and a House without a Prime is no longer a recognized House. That, too, plays a role in the plot of White Hot, in more than one way.

White Hot has a rather cheesy romance novel cover, which is actually fitting, considering that it contains a several-pages-long explicit sex scene. Personally I thought it was over the top, especially since both parties to it are massively beaten up and bruised and Nevada has two broken ribs at the time. Apparently the painkillers in this world are magical too.

White Hot is a compelling, compulsively readable novel that kicks the HIDDEN LEGACY series into an even higher gear. The reason for the title of this series becomes clear in a way that segues into the plotline of the third book, Wildfire, to be published in July 2017. If you’re a fan of the urban fantasy/romance genre and have any question at all about whether this series is worth your time, the answer is emphatically yes! … and you can skip or savor the long sex scene, according to your personal inclination.

Publication date: May 30, 2017. The Hidden Legacy series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews continues as Nevada and Rogan navigate a world where magic is the norm…and their relationship burns hot. Nevada Baylor has a unique and secret skill—she knows when people are lying—and she’s used that magic (along with plain, hard work) to keep her colorful and close-knit family’s detective agency afloat. But her new case pits her against the shadowy forces that almost destroyed the city of Houston once before, bringing Nevada back into contact with Connor “Mad” Rogan. Rogan is a billionaire Prime—the highest rank of magic user—and as unreadable as ever, despite Nevada’s “talent.” But there’s no hiding the sparks between them. Now that the stakes are even higher, both professionally and personally, and their foes are unimaginably powerful, Rogan and Nevada will find that nothing burns like ice …


  • Tadiana Jones

    TADIANA JONES, on our staff since July 2015, is an intellectual property lawyer with a BA in English. She inherited her love of classic and hard SF from her father and her love of fantasy and fairy tales from her mother. She lives with her husband and four children in a small town near the mountains in Utah. Tadiana juggles her career, her family, and her love for reading, travel and art, only occasionally dropping balls. She likes complex and layered stories and characters with hidden depths. Favorite authors include Lois McMaster Bujold, Brandon Sanderson, Robin McKinley, Connie Willis, Isaac Asimov, Larry Niven, Megan Whalen Turner, Patricia McKillip, Mary Stewart, Ilona Andrews, and Susanna Clarke.