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Debbie's Spurts

Just an avid reader. Mostly SF/Fantasy, some hobbies, paranormal, urban fantasy and lighter, fluffier things.


Currently reading

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Favorite Book Quotes

"Never interrupt your enemy while he is making a mistake"— Lois McMaster Bujold







Review of "Cold Burn of Magic" (Black Blade #1) by Jennifer Estep

Cold Burn of Magic - Jennifer Estep

This reader's personal opinion, ©2015, all rights reserved, not to be quoted, clipped or used in any way by Google Play, amazon.com or other commercial booksellers* 

I liked this one.  I approached with trepidation because—while I've liked books by this author— I really, really did not like her previous YA (Mythos Academy) series.  Plus, my peeps were all loving this because they were saying that M.C. was a younger version of Gin ("The Spider" from author's Elemental Assassin series).  I am enjoying reading Gin's series but not particularly hooked on it where I am preordering and jonesing for my next fix (which describes many of the people so agog over this one).  


Lila did not in the least remind me of Gin.


I would have liked this book more if M.C. hadn't been forced (if only by circumstances) into so much and instead had made more choices.  Definitely a one woman show outside of a mean girl and bitchy mob head.  I like how she was pretty realistic without being arrogant or wimpy/whine-y.  Definitely would have liked better with better world-building; that failing could be just a casualty of being the first book in a series.  Worldbuilding didn't seem to be that original with basically street kid in an area controlled by mobsters with two main warring "families" with some magic and magical creatures.  Of course, our heroine has to have special magic and abilities.  Which were pretty awesome even if not particularly original.    

Think Rogue from X-Men -- M.C. in addition to special sight has "transference" meaning she can steal other people's powers although in her case it doesn't kill them and she cannot do it unless they first use their powers on her.

(show spoiler)


A glimpse of potentially interesting worldbuilding with assorted "monsters" and supernatural beings.  Not much detailed in this first book.  Some vaguely close to our time city/mountain super-attractive to creatures of magic.  Missed badly at seeming to be located in West Virginia beyond saying it was and having a mountain.  Nicely remnescient  of folklore with M.C. careful to observe the rituals/courtesies of dealing with the more magical creatures/monsters.  


A win for having a lochness and other denizens.   A win for having tentacles although jarring to lochness folklore for the lochness to be equipped with the tentacles.  The apparently ubiquitous pixies were very jarring because were apparently brownies but called pixies.

"The tentacle slid down and disappeared below the water's surface.  A moment later, a loud sound blasted out from beneath the bridge, almost like a foghorn.


 'Was that … a burp?' Devin whispered.

 'Do you really want to know?' "

This one was pretty free of YA elements.  Okay, main character is under 18, a street kid on her own, required by her faginist initially to still attend school (one, maybe two scenes/paragraphs are at or mention high school) so not picked up by social workers or out back in foster homes, with abilities that now make her pressured into being a bodyguard for mobster's kid.  And she gets a crush (dodged the love triangle bullet—whew! which I feared because she got introduced to two attractive right age guys at same time but Estep didn't go there).  Of course, *sigh* the high school scenes had to be mean-girl-bully stereotypes.

" 'People are responsible for their own actions.  [redacted] decided to hurt people to get what he wanted! so that's what he did.  There's no excuse for it.  Don't you dare make excuses for him and everything he did.' "

I'm not completely sure, which is a good thing, who is helping her and who is taking advantage of her.   I'm curious to see where this world and this story goes, so will be reading. the next one.  I want to see more of the "monsters" and the "magic" (could care less about all the criminal family politics).  We'll see where this series goes...


One tiny little comma nitpick -- I couldn't tell from this if the pixies or the mundane mortals were noshing on the food:  

"...while the mortals let their food get cold, too busy gaping at the pixies zipping all around them to nosh on their tuna melts, grilled cheeses and club sandwiches."

*©2015. All rights reserved except permission is granted to author or publisher to reprint/quote in whole or in part. Copyrightholder may have posted on booklikes, BookRabbit, goodreads, Leafmarks, The Reading Room and may have cross-posted to other book sites. Posting on any site does not grant that site permission to share with any third parties.


Ratings scale used in absence of a booklikes suggested rating scale:

★★★★★ = All Time Favorite 
★★★★½ = Extraordinary Book. Really Loved It.
★★★★☆ = Loved It.
★★★½☆ = Really Liked.
★★★☆☆ = Liked.
★★½☆☆ = Liked parts; parts only okay. Would read more by author.
★★☆☆☆ = Average.   Okay. 
★½☆☆☆ = Disliked or meh? but kept me reading in hopes would get better.
★☆☆☆☆ = Loathed It. Possibly DNF and a torturous read.
½☆☆☆☆ = So vile was a DNF or should have been. Cannot imagine anyone liking.  (Might also be just an "uploaded" word spew or collection that should not be dignified by calling itself a "published book." If author is going batshit crazy in the blogosphere over reviews -- I now know why they are getting bad reviews.  Or maybe author should take remedial classes for language written in until basic concepts like using sentences sink in. Is author even old enough to sign a publishing contract or do they need a legal guardian to sign for them?)