This book takes place in the Kate Daniels series’ world. I would highly recommend reading the Kate Daniels series first because 1) it’s kick ass and amazing and 2) this book will spoil things from that series. This is an adult urban fantasy romance and the first book in The Iron Covenant series that features the character Hugh d’Ambray, from the Kate Daniels series, and a new character, Elara Harper. There is an author’s note in the front of the book explaining the events of The Iron Covenant trilogy all take place before the last Kate Daniels book (Magic Triumphs #10) but that the reading order is meant to be this one first, then Magic Triumphs, and then the following two Iron Covenant books which have yet to be published.
No day is ordinary in a world where Technology and Magic compete for supremacy…But no matter which force is winning, in the apocalypse, a sword will always work.
Hugh d’Ambray, Preceptor of the Iron Dogs, Warlord of the Builder of Towers, served only one man. Now his immortal, nearly omnipotent master has cast him aside. Hugh is a shadow of the warrior he was, but when he learns that the Iron Dogs, soldiers who would follow him anywhere, are being hunted down and murdered, he must make a choice: to fade away or to be the leader he was born to be. Hugh knows he must carve a new place for himself and his people, but they have no money, no shelter, and no food, and the necromancers are coming. Fast.
Elara Harper is a creature who should not exist. Her enemies call her Abomination; her people call her White Lady. Tasked with their protection, she’s trapped between the magical heavyweights about to collide and plunge the state of Kentucky into a war that humans have no power to stop. Desperate to shield her people and their simple way of life, she would accept help from the devil himself—and Hugh d’Ambray might qualify.
Hugh needs a base, Elara needs soldiers. Both are infamous for betraying their allies, so how can they create a believable alliance to meet the challenge of their enemies?
As the prophet says: “It is better to marry than to burn.”
Hugh and Elara may do both.
First thought – it is SO great being back in the world of Kate Daniels. It was a little weird orienting myself to the world again after not being in it for a while though. Sometimes it feels very high fantasy with castles, horses, and magic and then they talk about modern things and tech like cameras, videography, cartoons, and bulldozers and you’re like, oh yeah. That unique hybrid makes it such a cool urban fantasy.
I was always intrigued by Hugh’s character so I’ve been excited that he was going to get his own story! Going into this I wanted to see some redemption for him and moving on from Roland, but still wanted him to be a force to be reckoned with.
I freaking loved the set up of this story! An arranged marriage out of necessity/desperation/duty/loyalty and they’re both stubborn, proud, powerful, AND super attractive??? Soldddd!
Gahhh Ilona Andrews’s writing is just fantastic. It’s not over done. It’s precise and gives you exactly what you need in terms of description to get a feel for the atmosphere and scene without hindering the pacing. The writing is subtle and immersive so that you feel like you’re in the story not reading it.
I was into the light vs dark juxtaposition of the two main characters – which you can even see on the cover. (Also that coverrrrr ❤ ) Hugh is very tormented and broken after being exiled from Roland but his sense of honor and duty keep him going when his Iron Dogs need him most. This is the kind of guy who needs a purpose and task – being left idle is not good for him. He has totally redeemed himself to me omgggg I think I love him! He becomes such an amazing protector. Elara is quite a mystery but she’s intense and super badass. I love how she thinks, plans, and makes decisions and her ethics are spot on. Hugh and Elara are such a fantastic team together. I loved every single one of their interactions whether they’re calling each other names and fighting or actually agreeing on something or giving us that slow burn. I loved their matched sensed of duty and loyalty and honor toward their marriage – it is very genuine and yet volatile enough to have that great slow burn and enemies to lovers feel. Also there is some well timed humor that seeps in and just makes the interactions more delicious. The romance of this story is a bit faster than the one in Kate Daniels but it still hasn’t fully come to fruition in this book. I’m really excited there is going to be more to their story and series. I can’t wait for more character and relationship development and I’m itching to know more about Elara and her people. Also I have some questions about Bucky the horse – like is the dude actually a unicorn?? Please be a unicorn.
I loved the war and violence in this book. Its such a good blend of a realistic portrayal of a rough brutal world with a slow burn enemies to lovers romance and team work to save innocent lives. All the action really shows you who the characters are instead of telling you. So many books I read tell you that a character is a badass or a fierce warrior or brutal etc etc, but when you read an actual scene where someone is chopping another person to bits as punishment you know it for yourself.
Side note: it was really fun for me that the characters went through Charlotte for a part of the story – since that’s where I live!
I am now more than ready to read Magic Triumphs and I’m interested to see what potential roles Hugh and Elara are going to have in that final story and showdown with Roland.
Highly recommend for fans of the Kate Daniels series and urban fantasy romance!