Cold Burn of Magic by Jennifer Estep is the first book in a new YA series featuring Lila Merriweather. Of the three magic and monsters play the most part in the story. As for mortals? Well, the story takes place in Cloud Burst, Virginia which is considered to be the most magical place in America. As a result, it’s become a tourist destination full of mortals at any given time. Many of the residents, on the other hand, have magical talents and most of the monsters dwell in the woods, under bridges, and in the dark places.
The story is told from the viewpoint of Lila Merriweather, an orphaned thief. She lives in the basement of the library and works for a friend of her family’s named Mo. Mo runs a pawn shop and Lila supplies things for him to sell. Lila has a couple of magical talents that she tries to keep under wraps. And she tries to stay out of the way of the magical mob type families. But one day while she is at Mo’s, a trio belonging to one of the families comes into the store. She locks eyes with one of the boys and one of her talents kicks in allowing her to see what kind of person he is and what he is feeling. Then an assassination attempt on him follows. Lila doesn’t want to get involved, but she does because of her sense of morality and knowing that the boy is basically good. Next thing you know, Mo is brokering a deal for her to become the guy’s bodyguard. And things flow from there.
It’s a good story. Part mystery – who is after Devon? Part urban fantasy – monsters and magic in the city. I enjoyed it. It happens to be YA, but I think it could be enjoyed by anyone who likes urban fantasy. In spite of Lila making eye contact with Devon and finding out what kind of person he is, there is no insta-love. A friendship develops between them naturally. There is the possibility of a Romeo and Juliet type interaction between two of the families in the future. I’m looking forward to the next novel to see where the series goes with Lila, the competition between the families, and with the romantic interests.
I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. It’s well written. Lila especially is well developed. The plot has complexities.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.