Blood Heir: The return of Julie, princess incognito (Blog Tour Review!)

Blood Heir by Ilona Andrews science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsBlood Heir by Ilona Andrews science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsBlood Heir by Ilona Andrews

This review is part of the Blood Heir blog tour (#BloodHeirKD).

Julie is returning home to Atlanta after a long eight-year absence. Kate Daniels’ adopted daughter is now twenty-six, and she’s been busy the past eight years: fighting with the Canaanite god Moloch, the Child Eater, stealing one of his eyes for herself after he ripped out one of hers, being remade inside and out by the magical eye, learning about ancient powers and civilizations from her adoptive relatives … and still pining for Derek, the shapeshifter wolf she’s had a crush on since she was thirteen. But now she’s moved on. For sure. Definitely.

But it’s not the hope of seeing Derek again that brings Julie (now going by Aurelia Ryder) back to Atlanta, or even of seeing Kate. In fact, Julie most definitely does NOT want to see Kate. The oracle Sienna has seen a vision of the future, and Moloch is going to kill Kate if they meet, or even if Kate sees Julie, and all of Atlanta will then fall to Moloch. Julie is the wild card, the only chance of changing that horrendous future. And it’s probably a very good thing that Julie’s name, face, voice and even her scent have completely changed.

The immediate crisis is precipitated by the killing of a holy man in Atlanta, Nathan Haywood. Moloch’s priests are now in the city, searching for something unknown but powerful that is connected to the pastor’s murder. Sienna tells Julie that she needs to find this item before Moloch does, or all is lost. So Julie uses her connections to take over the official investigation into Pastor Haywood’s murder, but she’s competing not just with Moloch but with certain shapeshifters to solve the murder and find this mystery item.

For any Ilona Andrews fan, it’s definitely a treat to return to the KATE DANIELS world! Kate has moved off center stage for a well-deserved retirement (or at least a long break) after a ten-book run. But her world and its beloved characters continue to live on in two (so far) spin-off series, Hugh d’Ambrey’s IRON COVENANT series (beginning with Iron and Magic) and now Julie’s new AURELIA RYDER series, beginning here with Blood Heir (2021).

Blood Heir by Ilona Andrews science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsJulie has grown up and become a tougher person with impressive skills and the will to wield them. She still has the power to discern different types of magic, but can now also wield many of the magical powers of Kate and her adoptive family, like blood armor, courtesy of Moloch’s eye and Kate’s blood in Julie’s system. Some other familiar characters, it turns out, have also been doing some significant changing. Not to mention the whole Atlanta pack and their internal politics, which are in turmoil. Jim, the Beast Lord, wants to retire, but there’s no clear heir apparent. Conlan, Kate and Curran’s son, has tremendous powers for his age, but he’s only ten. Ascanio, the beta of Clan Bouda (the hyenas), is gunning for the spot, but not everyone in the Pack supports him.

Blood Heir glosses over some complicated back history about Julie’s interactions with Kate’s father Roland, her aunt Erra, and Erra’s new kingdom that she’s been busy building on the west coast of America, where Julie is her heir and a princess. I would love to get a few more of those stories in more detail at some point. The story of Julie and Moloch’s eye, though, has been told in “The King of Fire,” which is attached at the end of Blood Heir and also appears on the Andrews’ website.

As always in Ilona Andrews’ novels, there’s a magical mystery with an exotic element, a slow-burning romantic subplot, great character interactions and humorous dialogue:

“The Witch Oracle had a vision.”

 

“Oh goodie. They always have visions. It’s always vague and it’s always bad. Just once I’d like a prophecy proclaiming that, without a doubt, everything is going to be fine.”

Blood Heir has many familiar characters from the KATE DANIELS series, a few new ones, and one or two real surprises. A few intriguing open-ended mysteries are raised — How did a certain werewolf get an entirely new appearance? How does Christopher’s and Barabas’s daughter Sophia exist? And what’s up with the alpha wolf Desandra and her son Desimir? — that, hopefully, will be answered (soon, please!) in a later book.

Dedicated Ilona Andrews fans will have seen some chapters of Blood Heir on their website before (most are gone now), but the final book includes the previously unseen last half of the story, as well as several new scenes and a lot of additional details that add depth and color to the story. It’s an entertaining read and a solid start to a new spin-off series.

Artwork for Blood Heir was created by artist Luisa Preissler.

This review is part of the Blood Heir blog tour (#BloodHeirKD). Here are links to the previous reviews if you’ve missed them:

The next Blood Heir review will be posted on Novel Notions. Thanks to Mihir at Fantasy Book Critic for organizing the tour!

Blood Heir blog tour

Published in January 2021. From award-winning author, Ilona Andrews, an all-new novel set in the New York Times #1 bestselling Kate Daniels World and featuring Julie Lennart-Olsen, Kate and Curran’s ward. Atlanta was always a dangerous city. Now, as waves of magic and technology compete for supremacy, it’s a place caught in a slow apocalypse, where monsters spawn among the crumbling skyscrapers and supernatural factions struggle for power and survival. Eight years ago, Julie Lennart left Atlanta to find out who she was. Now she’s back with a new face, a new magic, and a new name—Aurelia Ryder—drawn by the urgent need to protect the family she left behind. An ancient power is stalking her adopted mother, Kate Daniels, an enemy unlike any other, and a string of horrifying murders is its opening gambit. If Aurelia’s true identity is discovered, those closest to her will die. So her plan is simple: get in, solve the murders, prevent the prophecy from being fulfilled, and get out without being recognized. She expected danger, but she never anticipated that the only man she’d ever loved could threaten everything. One small misstep could lead to disaster. But for Aurelia, facing disaster is easy; it’s relationships that are hard.

 

 


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TADIANA JONES, on our staff since July 2015, is an intellectual property lawyer with a BA in English. She inherited her love of classic and hard SF from her father and her love of fantasy and fairy tales from her mother. She lives with her husband and four children in a small town near the mountains in Utah. Tadiana juggles her career, her family, and her love for reading, travel and art, only occasionally dropping balls. She likes complex and layered stories and characters with hidden depths. Favorite authors include Lois McMaster Bujold, Brandon Sanderson, Robin McKinley, Connie Willis, Isaac Asimov, Larry Niven, Megan Whalen Turner, Patricia McKillip, Mary Stewart, Ilona Andrews, and Susanna Clarke.

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2 comments

  1. Kelly Lasiter /

    I so need to catch up on this series. Glad to see they’re revisiting Julie and Derek.

    • I finally did a big catch-up on all the Kate books I’d missed a couple of years ago. There are some real urban fantasy gems in there!

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