Review: Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews

Reviewed by Jen

It seems that every time I write a review for an Ilona Andrews book, I have the same problem. How do I describe it without sounding like a fangirl who knows only the language of squee? It’s not my fault, really. The books are just that good.

And this first installment in the Iron Covenant series has so much in common with the Kate Daniels series it spun off of. The world building is extraordinary. The dialogue is witty and full of banter, with just the right amount of bite. There is action. There is romance. And there are characters which are complex and layered. People who are not all good and not all bad, but 100% captivating.

One thing that is different here, though, is that the main point of view is male. Yes, there is an alternating POV, but as much as I liked Elara, at the end of the day, this book belongs to Hugh. And what a fascinating man he is. It had to be a challenge for the authors to make this character sympathetic. At least in part. Because he did some pretty awful things in the Kate Daniels books. Andrews had to humanize this guy, who was essentially portrayed as a villain. He nearly killed Kate. His people killed Aunt B. And he tortured Ascanio.

And as much as I loved all of those characters and I railed against him before, I was just as fervently in his corner here. Because what was done to him— the way Roland took him over— his will was not his own. I believed that. It never felt like an excuse. Yes, Hugh made people suffer, but he also suffered. And his history with Roland and the massive betrayal he felt at Roland’s hands, made it all the more sweet as he found a home with Elara and her people.

I know I usually spend at least some time talking about the plot when I review book. Short answer: Hugh is a shell of a man after Roland cut him off. His soldiers, his Iron Dogs, are being picked off while he falls apart. Until he realizes he has to get his act together and save his people. He enters an alliance with a mysterious white which named Elara. His army’s protection in exchange for a home. And oh yeah, they have to get married.

It is both an enemies to lovers story and a marriage of convenience and there is so much fire there. And it doesn’t go away; even when their relationship is clearly becoming something else, they never lose that spark. And that’s very cool.

Elara is shrouded in mystery. Even now that I am finished with the book, I have more questions about her than answers. But the bottom line is that she is the perfect foil for Hugh. She is just as strong, if not stronger. But more importantly, she values loyalty. She will do what no one else has ever done for this man: stand by him. She will not abandon him. And she is so bad ass… but in an understated way. You never see her coming.

There are some good cameos from the Kate Daniels series and not only are they super fun, but they are very necessary to unpack Hugh’s character and his arc. I don’t want to spoil too much, because the surprises are part of the joy. But I will say, even though this is dubbed a standalone, do yourself a favor and read the Kate Daniels books first. And if you are a Kate fan, read this before Magic Triumphs. They intersect.

And when you get to the part where Elara says to bring the cows, let yourself cheer out loud. Don’t hold back. You’ll be happier if you do.

A fantastic book, with an awesome build and a conclusion which both satisfies and leaves me desperate for more.

Ilona Andrews magic.

Rating: A

Click to purchase: Amazon

Iron and Magic
by Ilona Andrews
Release Date: June 26, 2018


  1. What you said. They are the BEST. Magic. Anne – Books of My Heart

  2. I will admit that I was a scaredy cat and waited a while to read this book. I was just plain worried that I wouldn’t like it. There’s some critical part of me thinking “you’ve loved all their books. Odds are there’s going to be one that you won’t love” BUT it’s not this one!
    Great review. I feel like you captured the strong points without giving away the plot. I loved how much action there was but balanced so well with character development. I feel like they did a really great job filling in so many details in the world building.
    It was such a relief reading this and so so fun. I loved that it was long and I’m completely invested in the story now.

    • Jen at Red Hot Books says:

      Yay! (Thank you.)

      Obviously, I loved the book too. Loving an author is never a guarantee, but Ilona Andrews is as close to a guarantee as you can get.

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