Audiobook Reviews - Cold Burn of Magic & Dark Heart of Magic

I read these two books back in 2015 for the first time having received review copies from the publisher via NetGalley.  I enjoyed both of the books quite a bit but for some reason, I never read the third book.  I don't usually review books that I have already written reviews for but I enjoyed the audiobooks for both of these books so much that I thought I would go ahead a share my thoughts from this experience with the books.  If you would like to read my original reviews, please feel free to take a peek.

Cold Burn of Magic by Jennifer Estep
Narrated by Brittany Pressley
Series: Black Blade #1
Publisher: Audible Studios
Publication Date: September 29, 2015
Date Read: May 4, 2020 (re-read)
Length: 9 hours 56 minutes
Source: Purchased
★★★★☆
There Be Monsters Here....

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....
My Review

I really enjoyed my re-read of this book!  I had a lot of fun with this book the first time I picked it up and knew that I wanted to read it a second time before picking up the last book in the trilogy.  I decided to give the audiobook a try for this re-read and that was a very good decision.  I believe that I liked the book even more because of how the narrator brought the story to life.

I love the way that we are introduced to the world that Lila lives in.  It is similar to our world but the town that she lives in is filled with magic.  Things in town are controlled by the mob-like families who are always trying to grab ahold of just a little more power every chance that they get.  The magic system was really well done and I liked how each of the characters had their own unique abilities and it was fun to see them use them to their advantage. 

I really liked all of the characters in this story and found them all to be incredibly interesting and unique.  Lila hasn't had things easy but has adapted and can handle most situations fairly well.  Devon has a lot of responsibility and feels protective of the members of his family.  Mo was fun and while I thought he was looking out for Lila, I was never sure if he should be trusted.  There is a large cast of characters from the various families that really kept the story interesting.

Brittany Pressley did a fantastic job with the narration of this book.  I remember liking the book the first time I read it but during this re-read, I didn't want to put it down.  She brought Lila and the rest of the characters to life and I thought that she did a wonderful job with all of the character voices. 

I would recommend this book to others.  I think that Jennifer Estep has created a fun YA urban fiction series filled with a lot of excitement and great characters.  I cannot wait to start the audiobook of the next book in the trilogy.


Dark Heart of Magic by Jennifer Estep
Narrated by Brittany Pressley
Series: Black Blade #2
Publisher: Audible Studios
Publication Date: October 27, 2015
Date Read: May 12, 2020
Length: 9 hours 56 minutes
Source: Purchased
★★★★☆
Something Wicked This Way Comes . . .

As a thief, I stick to the shadows as much as possible. But when the head of the Sinclair Family picks me to compete in the Tournament of Blades, there's no escaping the spotlight--or the danger.

Even though he's my competition, Devon Sinclair thinks I have the best shot at winning what's supposed to be a friendly contest. But when the competitors start having mysterious "accidents," it looks like someone will do anything to win--no matter who they hurt.

As if I didn't have enough to worry about, mobster Victor Draconi is plotting against Devon and the rest of my friends, and someone's going around Cloudburst Falls murdering monsters. One thing's for sure. Sometimes, humans can be more monstrous than anything else...
My Review

I enjoyed this book even more during this re-read than I did the first time around.  It is amazing that I can forget the entire plot of a book that I have read in just a few years but apparently I can so I almost felt like I was reading this book for the first time.  Once I started listening to this book, I didn't want to stop because I was really curious about how things would work out.  I am so glad that I decided to revisit this series in audio.

This is the second book in the Black Blade series which really should be read in order since this book builds on the events from the previous installment.  There are a lot of things going on and Lila, Devon, Felix, and the rest of the characters are keeping their eyes open for anyone looking to harm the Sinclair Family.  The annual tournament that the families participate in is about to begin and Lila is chosen to participate and represent the Sinclair Family.  Of course, there are few other things going on that they will need to deal with while the tournament plays out.

I grew to like the characters even more with this book.  I have really enjoyed learning more about the characters and there were some pretty big revelations in this book.  While I didn't remember what really happened in the story, I did find that there was one character that I never fully trusted so I did wonder if I might have subconsciously known that this character wasn't what they appeared to be.  I found the story to be really exciting and the mystery did keep me guessing.

Brittany Pressley continues to do an excellent job with the narration of this series.  I had no problem listening to her performance for hours at a time.  I thought that she brought a lot of excitement to the story in her reading and I loved all of her character voices.  I feel like I enjoyed this book even more because of her narration.

I would recommend this book to others.  This is such a fun series that is filled with quite a bit of excitement.  I cannot wait to dive into the final book in the trilogy.

Black Blade Series
Book #1 - Cold Burn of Magic
Book #2 - Dark Heart of Magic
Book #3 - Bright Blaze of Magic
About the Author

Jennifer Estep is a New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author who prowls the streets of her imagination in search of her next fantasy idea. In addition to Kill the Queen, Jennifer is also the author of the Elemental Assassin, Mythos Academy, Black Blade, and Bigtime series.

Comments

  1. I have the first book and from your review, I really need to read it! They both sound so good!

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  2. Glad to see you enjoyed them better the second time around.

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  3. I love doing rereads on audio. I've done that with Anne Bishop's Others series and it's such a fun experience.

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  4. I only read the first book in the series and really enjoyed that one. Hopefully I can read the next two books soon. Too bad these are Audible only as else I might've checked them out in audio format as it sounds like these are great in audio. I like re-reading a book in audio format the second time as well as the audio gives a while new vibe to the story.

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  5. It's definitely great to do a reread on audio. I enjoy this author but I'm not sure when it's YA. I'll have to take a closer look at it. Fantastic reviews!

    Anne - Books of My Heart

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  6. Somehow I missed these when they released, or I've forgotten about them, but they sound good. I like reading books in different formats; it adds to the experience and brings out different details.

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  7. Glad you enjoyed these books here. Always love a story that delivers in solid excitement.

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  8. Oh yes I really enjoyed the whole trilogy

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  9. poor girl and trouble keeps finding her XD

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  10. I haven't read anything by this author, but I know she has a huge fan base and I think this is the kind of series I'd love. Even better that the audios are good because I have more of a chance of reading them. Plus, I like that the whole series is already out. Win! I'll see if my library carries them. Fab reviews!

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  11. Great reviews! These sound like my kind of stories. And what a great theme for the covers.

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  12. I love when a reread is even better then the original read! This sounds like a fun series and I think I need to try out some of Brittany Pressley's narration.

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  13. I haven't tried this series but it does sound interesting.

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