‘Blood Heir’ (Aurelia Ryder #1) by Ilona Andrews

‘Blood Heir’ was a lot of fun and just what I needed to get me out of Lockdown blues. Perhaps this isn’t surprising as the first draft of it was written and posted online in response to a health care workers request to have something / anything from Ilona Andrews to take their mind off the pandemic.

This book had the freshness and excitement of a new start while still being able to build on everything I’ve learned from the ten Kate Daniels books.

As I read it, I mentally labelled it ‘Kate Daniels: The Next Generation but it turned out to be more original than that.

The book has a great opening. We know Julie is returning to Atlanta after eight years. It’s what we don’t know that kept me turning the pages at first. Why such a long gap? Why is she so different? Why is she doing this in secret?

The eight-year gap allows for things to have moved on, for the kids to have gotten older, for things in Atlanta to have gotten worse and for old relationships to have shifted.

Then there’s Julie/Aurelia. She’s all grown up and is strong and confident. Travelling covertly allows her to come back in contact with people with a clean sheet while still having insight into them.

There are new threats, a mystery to solve, conflicts to resolve, alliances to build. new players to meet, old players who’ve moved on, especially the younger ones. Every chapter felt like it was offering me something to go ‘Oooh, that’s good!’ about.

The storytelling tone is confident. The pace is quick but not hurried. Knowledge of the Kate Daniels books gives the story some extra flavours but this would still be a strong book if you came to it cold.

Like lots of people I know, I’ve been finding the Lockdown has made it harder to relax into a book. ‘Blood Heir’ was one of those rare books that made depression recede every time I opened it. It made me smile. It kept me curious. It was exciting and fresh. Best of all, it was filled with a quiet hopefulness.  The Atlanta Aurelia Ryder rides into is broken and it can’t be fixed. It’s a place where bad things happen to good people. And yet, there are people who will always do what they can to make things better, even if they have to use a blade to do it.

I’ll be there for the next book in this series as soon as it’s available.

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