Review: Cold Burn of Magic by Jennifer Estep

Posted March 17th, 2016 in book review / 22 comments

Review: Cold Burn of Magic by Jennifer EstepCold Burn of Magic by Jennifer Estep
Series: Black Blade #1
Publisher: Kensington on April 28, 2015
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 323
Format: eBook
Source: Publisher
Purchase: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads
Rating: four-half-stars
Heat: half-flame

It's not as great as you'd think, living in a tourist town that's known as "the most magical place in America." Same boring high school, just twice as many monsters under the bridges and rival Families killing each other for power.

I try to keep out of it. I've got my mom's bloodiron sword and my slightly illegal home in the basement of the municipal library. And a couple of Talents I try to keep quiet, including very light fingers and a way with a lock pick.

But then some nasty characters bring their Family feud into my friend's pawn shop, and I have to make a call--get involved, or watch a cute guy die because I didn't. I guess I made the wrong choice, because now I'm stuck putting everything on the line for Devon Sinclair. My mom was murdered because of the Families, and it looks like I'm going to end up just like her. . .

At A Glance


The Good

I don’t know what it is, but this book has it. I was obsessed with the story the whole freaking time. I could not put it down. And I will be honest, there is nothing particularly spectacular about Cold Burn of Magic, but as a whole it just did it for me, you know? Maybe it was the right book at the right time or maybe Estep is just that awesome. I haven’t read a book by her that I didn’t like.

Estep created an amazing world in this one. We get some supernatural monsters that are crazy mysterious and rivaling family/gangs pretty much controlling the town. Then there is Lila: trying to keep her head down, do the normal kid thing like going to school, sleeping in the basement of the local library, and thieving her little pants off. How else is she suppose to support herself after losing her mother in the most horrific of ways? Oh, she’s also one hell of a fighter, both with a sword and with her fists. That’s what gets her noticed by one of the scariest crime families in town. And being noticed by a crime family is sooooo not good.

I LOVED Lila. She was serious yet kinda spunky at the same time. She excels at freaking everything and she has a good heart, even if she hates admitting it. When Devon walks into the picture things get super interesting. He seriously is the sweetest guy ever. The complete opposite of Lila. They have a cute but sad back and forth thing going with Lila running and Devon chasing. I hope someone catches the other soon.

I loved the action, especially with Lila at the wheel. She’s not invincible but she kicks ass all over the place. The rivaling families are just evil and mean and greedy and perfect for the story. The monsters are of a particular interest to me. We only get a hint of a few species and they are both creepy and oddly reasonable. I am so happy I didn’t let this series slip through my fingers.

The Bad


The Snuggly

There is no heat or mega romance, but we get a little budding romance that’s all kinds of adorable. I am excited to see where Lila and Devon go with their interests.

Final Thoughts

I am 100% continuing this series. I don’t know how long it is but I will take anything. Great characters, great world-building, and a great story. Very, highly recommended.


“Sometimes, I thought pity was the most heartless thing in the world. All it did was make people feel superior to you, happy, safe, and smug in the knowledge that someone had it worse than they did.”

“What I can make people do . . . it’s not what they want to do. It may sound corny, but I want people to like me for me, not because I can force them to or because of who my mom is or who I am in the Family. You know?”
He raised his green gaze to my blue one. “That’s one of the things I like about you, Lila. You don’t care about any of that.”
“Just one of the things?” I teased, trying to make him laugh a little, just so he’d forget his guilt and grief, if only for a few moments.
“Just one.” His voice took on a low, husky note. “I could list all the others, if you want.”


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22 Responses to “Review: Cold Burn of Magic by Jennifer Estep”

  1. JenM

    I won the second book in a contest, so I finally read the first book a few weeks ago. I loved it also. I don’t know what it is about Jennifer’s writing, but it always draws me in and I’m never disappointed in her books. I don’t read much YA, but she’s one of the few authors I’ll make an exception for. Best of all, the third book is coming out at the end of April, and I think this is supposed to be a trilogy, so we don’t have to wait too long to finish off the story.

    • Jennifer (Bad Bird Reads)

      I have never been disappointed by her books either. I can’t believe it took me so long to read this series.

  2. ShootingStarsMag

    I need to check out this series! I haven’t read anything by the author before. Sometimes you don’t need WOW, totally unique to really love a book. Lila sounds pretty awesome too.


    • Jennifer (Bad Bird Reads)

      She is one the main authors I recommend to bloggers. She is so good.

  3. Olivia Roach

    Wow, this book must definitely be epic if it has IT and there wasn’t anything bad you could think of to write about it. And I know you’re not the only one who thinks so because I have been seeing so many gushing reviews for this one. The world building, the plot, the action and Lila all sounds great. Looks like this is one I need to have on my TBR!

  4. Melanie Simmons @mlsimmons

    I agree. I’m not a big fan of YA, but I really loved this series. I’m really excited for the third book. I just love Jennifer Estep. I still need to try her other YA series. Great review.

    • Jennifer (Bad Bird Reads)

      Thanks. I really hope the last book is as great as everyone says it is.

  5. Jaclyn Canada

    I haven’t read Estep yet…that’s terrible isn’t it? I have her on my to-read list though mostly based on your suggestion. This one sounds fantastic! I will definitely be adding it as well. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. I’ve read plenty of books that I couldn’t put my finger on why I loved it as much as I did, but it was just perfect for me. Excellent review!

    • Nathan

      I have the same problem, Estep is on my TBR list but there are so many good books to read, I haven’t gotten to hers yet. But I mean too.

      • Jennifer (Bad Bird Reads)

        You have to get to them because it’s a shame to miss out on her books.

    • Jennifer (Bad Bird Reads)

      Some books just fit the person we are and what we like so perfectly it’s scary.

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