1. Amy R

    I’m listening to the audiobook of Wildfire today.

  2. autonomous

    It’s been a year or so since I read the first book, but I read books two and three back-to-back last week. Overall, I love this series, will continue to read as long as the authors want to write about these characters, but I was disappointed that the Caesar question remains unanswered and that some other threads got dropped (particularly Kelly, because we had the epilogue in book one that implied a much greater presence for her as a specific antagonist for Rogan and she was only barely there in book two and not there at all, though she’s briefly mentioned, in book three).

    I loved the growth and bigger role for Cornelius and his daughter Matilda (what kind of powers do you think Matilda is going to have?).

    I’m in agreement about Nevada and Victoria being alike, but I think Nevada’s upbringing away from Houses has a lot to do with her humanity and moral code and her family will always be there to ground her. We’ve seen Nevada bring Rogan back from losing himself to his power. I think Rogan will have the same effect.

    I’m in agreement with Sirius about Linus (though that comment could just be a red-herring). I don’t think it’s Augustine. Remember Rogan’s comments about Augustine’s principles in book two? I did find it interesting that Augustine doesn’t have a presence in book three, though.

    Some of my favorite romantic moments in the series: the flowers on the lawn in book one and the chocolate mousse in book three.

  3. Kristi

    Love this indepth review! White Hot was my favorite too but I loved Wildfire. I think I read it so fast I definitely need to go back and read again.

  4. Janine

    @autonomous: Since there is going to be at least one more book, I’m mostly okay with waiting for the Caesar question to be answered. I just wish the blurb didn’t begin this way: “From Ilona Andrews, #1 New York Times bestselling author, the thrilling conclusion to her Hidden Legacy series […]” That will just mislead readers to think it’s the last book and be more dissatsfied.

    I hope the Kelly thread gets picked up again, too.

    That’s a good question about Matilda’s powers. I’m trying to remember what her mom’s powers were.

    You’re probably right about Nevada but I’d like to see her grapple with the question of whether she’s truly different from Victoria and whether she’s slipping down a slippery slope.

    It’s probably not Augustine, but it was fun to speculate.

    The chocolate mousse was my favorite moment, too.

  5. Sirius

    Autonomous – I would love you to be right about Nevada , but I guess what makes me sceptical is that we are in Nevada’s head all the time and in this book I didn’t see her hesitating at all while using her powers . And I do think that somebody with moral compass should at least in some of the situations show some if not hesitation but at least questioning herself ( what Janine said basically ). It is of course JMO .

    I don’t think Caesar is Augustine for the reason you stated and because I dont want him to be :-). He is at this point probably my favorite character in the books. I guess we will find out eventually .

  6. Sirius

    Amy I hope you will consider coming back to share your opinion of the book :-).

    Kristy thank you so much .

    Janine one more vote for the chocolate mousse :-)

  7. Sirius

    Kristi sorry for misspelling your name :(.

  8. Erin Satie

    I think Sirius is right about Caesar–the little quote about being bored struck me as a deliberate reveal.

    Though my fear all through the trilogy was that the Magical DA that’s always introduced as, “she’s my hero, a paragon of justice,” would turn out to be Caesar. The praise is always so sky high and absolute, and Nevada’s disappointment would be so absolutely crushing, that i always want to knock on wood when she’s introduced.

    And yes, I’d say Nevada is moral only by contrast–she looks good because the rest of her world is so much worse. At the end of the day, one of her favorite accessories is her gun and she gets a lot of practice with it. Self-defense justifies a lot of executions in this series & the subplot about Leon, at least for now, is about making sure that *killing eight people in under a minute* isn’t too upsetting for him. The Overton Window here is pretty skewed.

    (Incidentally, I also didn’t really buy his reaction; did he think all that spotting he was doing before was harmless?)

  9. Janine

    @Erin Satie: I think Sirius is right too, but your theory about the DA is interesting.

    I was not familiar with the term Overton Window and had fun looking it up, so thank you!

    And great point re. Leon. There was no hint that he would react as he did but more than one hint that he might take it in stride or even enjoy / revel in it. I suppose we could pin his reaction on his young age but I would have liked an indication that it was within his personality to get upset because before it happened I had him pegged as amoral.

  10. Ava Hayden

    Great review!
    RE: “dissatisfying ending of Steel’s Edge with regard to Spider,” see the opening of “Sweep in Peace,” book 2 of the Innkeeper Chronicles, for a bit of closure on Spider. Also there is a reappearance of some favorite Edge characters later in the story. I’m loving the Innkeeper Chronicles so far and hoping it continues past the first three. Now I’m going to go buy “Wildfire”–no patience to wait for the library copy. :)

  11. Janine

    @Ava Hayden: Thanks for the kind words. I wasn’t so keen on the first Innkeeper book so I haven’t read the second yet.

  12. Sirius

    @Erin Satie: It is not even that I mind self defense justifying so many executions necessarily *within the constraints of this specific fictional world*. I don’t really mind killing in fiction in self defense – if the writers convince me it is self defense. With the disclaimer that my opinion on this is not set in stone, since I am still trying to figure it out for myself, I think that I consider Nevada’s (and Victoria’s of course, and any Primes with similar power) power to be one of the most horrifying in itself. Obviously most powers that Primes have in this world can be used for destruction and I get that many of them will use their powers for that with ease. But I guess I just wanted to see more self checks from her, so to speak. That’s just me trying to come to gripes with the character and this did not make the story any less entertaining to me.

    IF my guess about Caesar’s identity is correct based on that phrase, what do you guys think this person’s motives could be, because honestly I am puzzled about this more than anything else. Of course what little we heard about their past could have been a very unreliable piece of information, but right now I have no clue.

    Yep, I actually think Lenora is the only candidate that makes as much sense as this person because of the magnitude of personal betrayal for Nevada, even if betrayal is happening from the completely different angle.

  13. Sirius

    @Ava Hayden: Thank you. I love “Inkeeper” so much that I dropped seventy five bucks on the collector edition ( in addition to all three ebooks and paper back edition of the third book lol), but I really didn’t care much for the “Edge” series and I would not mind if any of these characters ( especially George) not showed up in Dinah’s Inn ever again :-). Do I need to mention that second book was my least favorite because of George?

  14. SusanK

    I actually thought Leon’s reaction kind of made sense. Up until that point it was probably just like a video game to him, but then he is confronted with the reality of what happened.

    I was also worried that Lenora was Caesar but that line at the end gave it away. He was kicked out of power by the Houses so his motive is revenge.

  15. Susan

    Yep, the last sentence of the book definitely reveals Caesar’s identity. He was on my list of candidates going in, but Lenora was probably at the top. She’s just too good to be true (kind of like the true Caesar).

    I loved this book, and really enjoyed how (imo) each of the three books just got stronger. I think the reviews and sales have been good enough for Avon to extend the series, and I’m looking forward to it. I definitely want more wrap up for the main plot and all the other machinations. And, as much as I like Nevada/Rogan, there are so many other characters I want to see more of–Augustine, the Harrisons, Sgt. Teddy, the rest of the Baylors, etc. (And is it too soon to start shipping Heart and Penelope? Yeah, probably.)

  16. Sirius

    SusanK – oooo so simple and perfect . Yes most likely changing for the better was the twist to the story which was not true or maybe it was but then as you said Houses kicked him out so he decided why not show them all.

    I didn’t have a problem with Leon’s reaction either – because of his age yes.

  17. Holly

    I didn’t have a problem with Leon – before he was spotting for other people at a distance and never pulling the trigger himself. There he had the gun himself and it was truly life or death for both Nevada and himself. He went into the zone, shot them them and then found out that it was his magic. I can imagine the difference being a little too real especially for a teenager. Also teenagers are resilient – generally once they can categorize something and he is about his family – and decide he would use it to defend his family and be the secret dark horse. All was good and he could enjoy it once again.

  18. Sirius

    @Susan: As far as secondary characters are concerned, I am interested in some of them more than Nevada and Rogan at this point. I know they can come up with secondary characters whom I want to get to know better from ‘Kate Daniels”, but SO MANY in these series. So many. As I said before Augustine is probably a favorite of my now, although Cornelius and Matilda are very high up there.

    I am also very interested in Catalina because of something she said before she decided to go with Nevada and use her power to help. I don’t remember whether it was first time or second, but she asked that law enforcement would be brought ( I think?) for those she would charm. What I am getting at, is that Catalina to me seemed inclined to be way more careful with her power than Nevada was.

    Now before anybody says it, I totally understand that Catalina did not have yet to face those hard choices that Nevada did, she didn’t really need to protect her family, Nevada did. I get all this and that’s why I am very interested to see what Catalina will do when she will have to face those choices. As I also stated before, I think Nevada embraced her power a bit too strongly for my liking.

  19. Kaetrin

    I loved this book! I am hoping that Caesar wasn’t ID’d means there will be more books in the series. I’d love to read books featuring Catalina & Arabella (Leon & Bern too) as main characters. I was a little unconvinced after Burn for You. It felt a bit samey to me. I liked it but it didn’t feel new or different. But White Hot & Wildfire really picked up the pace and the storytelling. I am planning on revisiting the entire series on audio when I carve out some time.

  20. Silver James

    Great review, y’all. LOVED the chocolate mousse scene. I agree on who Caesar might be but Ilona and Andrew can be tricky…

    Re: Leon. I absolutely bought into his reaction. First, he is a teenager immersed in shooter video games. Spotting for his aunt (or anyone else) would feel more like a live-action version of a video game–ie. still a GAME. Doing the killing himself, with gun in hand, and seeing the faces of the people he killed? That’s a reality slap in the face. (I do have a background in law enforcement and Critical Incident Stress Debriefing/PTSD counselling) so his reactions made perfect sense at the time. Then, his turnaround, while quick, also made sense given his personality and I get the idea that the type of magic affects the personality to some degree.

    This leads me to a point about Nevada. Yes, she does use her magic abilities with more ease and less moral questioning yet at the same time, she hesitated at the trial–when everything was riding on the outcome, turning to the arbiters and saying that she could hurt the subject. I don’t believes she enjoys/likes “hurting” others or figures that it’s okay because she can–like certain other primies, but at the same time, if you’re going to swim with the sharks, you either need to be a shark or a dolphin to survive. I think she and Rogan will be dolphins.

    Now I want to go back and re-listen and/or reread all three books.

  21. Erin satie

    Look, a kid who can repeatedly assist in actually killing people & not feel even a twinge of conscience because it’s “like a video game” is a kid who has a serious problem.

    I don’t buy that normal teenage gamers can’t tell, say, reality from games (so that they react identically to real/imaginary scenarios) & nor am I willing to accept that gaming is so psychologically corrosive that of course all gamers are borderline psychopaths.

    But I’d have to buy into one of those arguments to think that Leon’s behavior is *normal*. I sincerely hope that it isn’t.

    Yes, it surely must be different to hold the gun, pull the trigger, see the bodies fall–but he’s been on this path for a while, and it’s not the first escalation.

    The Hidden Legacy world is a heightened reality, but life has been “nasty, brutish, and short” for a long time now. if that’s all it takes to justify a vigilante mindset, we’re in trouble.

  22. Sirius

    @Erin satie: I just want to clarify that when I said I have no problem with Leon’s reaction I meant his initial change from no problem to OMG I killed those people. I am not sure what you meant when you state that he had been on this path for a while. Whom did he kill before he killed those eight people? I mean I know he was spotting, but I think we disagree on how we view the significance of moving from helping to kill this way and doing the actual killing himself was for him.

    I don’t find normal the way he so quickly abandoned being horrified and decided to be an assassin instead, no. I agree that if that all it takes to justify a vigilante mindset, we’re in trouble. More importantly ( for me only!) I so very much don’t want to see another George wannabe out of him.

  23. Janine

    @Sirius: My reading of Leon was closer to Erin’s. When he was spotting, he had to know that it wasn’t a videogame because he’s a smart kid. Yet (if I remember correctly), Leon had fun. He enjoyed the spotting. And Rogan described him as “demonstrating a very specific moral flexibility” and said he could use him because of that. Meaning that Leon’s morals weren’t the same as the average teenager’s. And Leon knew exactly what Penelope’s body count was when he was spotting for her, and he knew that he was being helpful to her in the sniper shooting. So he had to understand that his participation resulted in more deaths than there would have otherwise been.

    For him to get so upset at what was an equally high body count in the later situation with Nevada, simply because this time he was the one holding the gun doesn’t ring entirely convincing. It actually read to me like something that was put there to allow readers to continue finding Leon likeable and show that he was more than the borderline sociopath that all his earlier behavior and his eventual decision to become a dark horse assassin indicate that he is.

  24. Sirius

    @Janine: Do you remember where to find this quote? Because that would definitely move me closer to accepting your reading. I only remember Nevada actually being worried about Leon smiling when he spotted and Rogan telling her something along the lines of Leon smiling because that’s his magic and he smiles because he is using it or something like that. I don’t remember anything about Rogan talking about Leon’s moral flexibility.

    I do see where you are coming from though about Leon going back so fast to wanting to become an assassin. Maybe him being briefly horrified was inserted for the reason you mentioned, I don’t know because the jump back sure was fast. On the other hand, I keep coming back to him being a teenager and to me jumping from one extreme to another does not feel as too artificial if that makes sense.

    I guess I am sitting on the fence now.

  25. Janine

    @Sirius: I have it in the e-ARC of White Hot; so maybe I shouldn’t have mentioned it? Is it not in the final edition?

    In the ARC, it’s about 46% in, kindle locations 3309-3318, in the scene in which Leon is spotting, right as Nevada figures out what he’s doing. She thinks how she’ll kill Bern for letting him do it, and then have a serious talk with Leon. Then Cornelius makes a crack about Leon (“Your cousin has an interesting sense of humor,”) and Leon continues with his humorous narration, making fun of one of the people he is spotting, for another paragraph. Then there’s this:

    Rogan’s face turned speculative.

    “Don’t,” I told him.

    “In about three years or so, I could use him. He’s demonstrating a very specific moral flexibility…”

    “I’ll shoot you myself,” I told him.

  26. Sirius

    @Janine: OOOOO. “White Hot”, not “Wildfire”. I am an idiot. Okay I only read a final book of “White Hot”, will go look if it is in the final version – I can’t imagine why it would not be though, too important. Thank you. I was going crazy trying to remember in “Wild fire”. Sorry.

  27. Sirius

    Yep location 2855 in the final version. Thanks Janine. Okay am convinced that this is a strong hint that Leon’s reactions are very much not of the usual teenager.

  28. Erin satie


    Yeah, I think that if killing someone directly triggers a crisis, assisting while a sniper kills people ought to trigger a crisis–though a smaller one.

    In the earlier book, with the video narration, there was something silly/playful about it—which is creepy, really, but I can sort of see an “it doesn’t seem real” excuse.

    But with the attack on the summoners, he’s very, very aware that he’s guiding those shots and that his mother is shooting on his command. He’s sufficiently in control, in that situation, that I’d say he’s as responsible as his mother for any deaths that result.

    What’s more, it’s clear that he’s been working with his mom in this way for a long time, that he’s earned his mother’s trust. So he’s had a lot of time to think about what he’s doing. Has he thought about it? If not, why not?

    I found myself thinking of Anita Blake a few times–how In the early books, when Anita would wonder if maybe *she* was the monster I was riveted to her dilemma. But as the series went on, the question became completely perfunctory–she didn’t give it much thought. Not really. But asking had come to substitute for real self-reflection.

  29. Janine

    @Erin satie: I don’t think Leon has been assisting Penelope that long; Nevada wasn’t aware of it before the first time with the video narration in White Hot, and she was taken aback by it, which implies to me that that’s his first time doing it. White Hot only takes place a month before Wildfire so I think there are only these two occasions before the incident when he protects Nevada. His proficency for it is accounted for by the fact that it’s his magic to be good at this.

    (Incidentally, Penelope is Leon’s aunt, not his mother. We have not yet met Leon and Bern’s mother and I can’t recall if she’s alive or not).

    I haven’t read the Anita Blake series but I recall feeling a little bit that way about Charles in Patricia Briggs’ Fair Game. In Alpha and Omega (the introductory novella) and later in Cry Wolf, it was made clear that Charles really disliked being the executioner for his father’s werewolf pack and was hoping he wouldn’t have to kill. Anna also thought about how she had been turned into a monster when she was made into a werewolf.

    But this aspect of the series faded a bit over time. In Fair Game, Charles was haunted by the ghosts of people he was ordered to kill but in the end, when it’s revealed that they preyed on innocents, he stops being haunted by them. That was a bit disappointing because in Cry Wolf it was stated that in the faraway past, before knowledge of werewolves was public, he’d had to kill at least a few who stumbled on that knowledge and couldn’t be trusted not to reveal it to the rest of humanity (and so cause people to hunt the werewolves). Those killings tortured him. I thought that was a lot more complex and interesting than the pat dismissal of the ghosts at the end of Fair Game.

    Regardless, Charles has a much more active and developed conscience than Leon, or than Rogan for that matter. And more than it sounds like Anita Blake has. But I wonder if this isn’t a challenge that authors of Urban Fantasy face? At some point in a long-running series, a character has to shit or get off the pot. Either reject his/her violent, “monstrous” or vigilante nature, and leave that life behind, or accept that this is who he or she is.

    In my teenage years I was a fan of Anne Rice’s vampire series and I remember how some readers got frustrated with Louis for being so tortured by his vampiric nature (vampires in these books have to take victims’ blood to remain alive). A lot of readers preferred Lestat who accepted who he was, tried to kill criminals when he killed, but didn’t torture himself over it and yet keep doing it.

    Violence, death and vigilantism are staples of this genre, and a lot of readers enjoy reading about them, so I wonder if (at least in a long running series with many books) there isn’t really a great way to handle it?

  30. Erin Satie

    Janine —

    Sorry to be slow, I wanted to double check the scene & you were right. In Nevada’s internal monologue, when she’s reflecting on how Leon’s spotting directions are so unusual, she’s really only thinking about how the two of them must have practiced often together at a range.

    As for the rest of your comment–I agree. I think you’ve perfectly described the dilemma.

    I think this is one of the reasons why I ended up liking the Hunger Games so much–because it explicitly identified the reader as part of the problem, as a consumer of this violent entertainment who would be dissatisfied if the action lagged.

  31. Janine

    @Erin Satie: No worries. I liked the Hunger Games a lot too, but I actually thought that this aspect of it was a bit heavy-handed.

  32. Tina

    I have to admit, the lack of hand-wringing or rather the pragmatic acceptance by the moral/sympathetic character over doing something that isn’t moral or noble is an attraction of reading these sorts of series.

    On the one hand they are a sort of fantasy escape where it is ok to know that a ‘good’ person can still be an awesome killing machine without you feeling like some enabling monster because it isn’t real life. On the other hand it is sort of a backlash against years of reading books where these sympathetic protags do spend and inordinate amount of time emo-ing over their actions and you just get exasperated and tell them to stop whining own their sh%t. Seriously, if you are going to tremble everytime you shoot somebody then maybe you should be a secret spy?

  33. Sirius

    Hi Tina I am speaking strictly for myself but as I said before I have very little problem with fictional killing in self defense, out of necessity , etc . For me the key is for the author to convince me that this was out of self defense, etc .

    I certainly don’t ask for urban fantasy characters to tremble every time they shoot somebody. But maybe if the killing is not a strict self defense when they plan something like that , I would appreciate something like a little hesitation or something .

    Of course every reader brings their own experiences , biases etc in the reading . Mine is torture – and yes fictional one as well. And since I view Nevada’s power as the closest equivalent to torture ( whether authors intended it to be so or not that’s how I interpret it ) – yes I want her to check herself sometimes . of course when she is fighting the bad guys I don’t expect her to stop and start angsting – oh dear should I or shouldn’t I ? That would be a bad writing and make her look like an idiot imo . But spare a quick thought before or after? Absolutely .

    I was just telling a friend yesterday that this was a first SFF book in a while which I really loved but ended up having very little affection for the main couple . I find both of them very interesting , I find that their relationship was one of the most romantic relationships I read about in a while and at the same time I don’t find either of them to be very moral character. And that’s okay – it is certainly had been s very thought provoking reading experience for me.

  34. Janine

    @Tina: I think I view this as a see-saw or scale. Too much weight on the side of angsting, and the character can come across as incompetent for their role, but too casual an acceptance of morally gray actions, and they are no longer “moral/sympathetic” to me. I still like Nevada, but she is skating close to being another Victoria and I hope that in the future she has the occasion to define what she won’t do, otherwise the “At the end of the day, we have to be able to look ourselves in the mirror” part of her code will become meaningless.

    On the other hand it is sort of a backlash against years of reading books where these sympathetic protags do spend and inordinate amount of time emo-ing over their actions and you just get exasperated and tell them to stop whining own their sh%t.

    I get where you are coming from here, but at this point I’m starting to feel a counter-backlash. There are so many of these vigilante or assassin types in popular fiction right now, and on TV the antihero protagonist has been going strong since The Sopranos in the 1990s. I guess I’m weary of it? Not least because I think the popularity of the ruthless character who is willing to disregard rules to get shit down (frex in “House of Cards”) helped lead to the current political climate. It’s a symptom of social dysfunction and inequality, I think, that some of us no longer believe that people can be other than ruthless / amoral and still be effective leaders.

  35. Erin Burns

    Late to the party, but so what :)

    I think Cornelius is probably stronger than he has been assessed, and that may be because of two things. One, he disliked intensely the political structure of being immersed with Primes and so either consciously or unconsciously sandbagged (he never seemed as broken up over his power level as other non primes have seemed). Or maybe his particular subset of the power was not really tested. That thing he did, even he didn’t think he could do and it doesn’t seem that anyone had ever tried to do it. So if no one ever thought to test that particular skill set and that is his particular strength, he wouldn’t necessarily test out as well as he should have.

    On Leon, I bought it. I grew up rough and tumble sparring and the like. A very murder and mayhem sort of girl if you will. I never figured that a real event would be the traumatic, and neither did my father. But the first real fight I got in, when I knocked the other person flat out, it freaked me the hell out. I hyperventilated and had a panic attack and even cried. There is this whole rush of nuerochemicals when the event is really immediate that you just don’t necessarily expect and it can throw you off at first. But a few hours later for me that went away. and I have never been bothered by it since.

  36. Janine

    @Erin Burns: You can join our parties anytime. I like your theories about Cornelius. Now that I think about it, I could totally see him consciously sandbagging for a couple of reasons. First, he was unwillingly put in the role of childhood companion to the vain, spoiled Adam Pierce. Adam wouldn’t have liked for Cornelius to get attention for magical skills. And second, I could see Cornelius, whose marriage was a love match, not wanting to sacrifice familial love for the role of House leader like his sister did and seeing that as the inveitable track of taking on the role of Prime. When we first encountered him, Cornelius was the nurturer / stay-at-home dad while Nari was the breadwinner. So it’s quite possible that even as a boy, he wanted to care for and nurture others (likely his animals) more than to attain power.

    The second theory–that he has devloped a completely new skill–also makes sense. I still also like the idea that he discovered he could do it because he was in danger and had no other choice. All of these are possibilities that work for me.

  37. Erin Burns

    @Janine, I don’t think it’s a completely new skill, I think it may have just been a previously unexplored skill subset. Like all his life he’s been a pretty good water color painter, not the best water color painter, but good. But no one in the world had ever tried painting with acrylic, so no one ever checked to see how good he was with acrylic, and now it turns out he’s the very best acrylic painter in the entire world. Of course the danger is why he was catapulted, but the underlying power was all his. Same talent, just previously unexplored subset that he’s never had to try to access before. Like that.

  38. Janine

    @Erin Burns: Yeah, that’s a better way of saying it.

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