If you missed my review last week I was waxing lyrical about the genius of Ilona Andrews (yes, again). While Burn For Me ( the first book in the Hidden Legacy series) restored my faith that it was possible for a great author to pen a book that was both a romance and a genuinely awesome story, I approached book two, White Hot, with slight trepidation.

I’ll avoid spoilers for White Hot but there may be a few for Burn For Me

You have been warned.

The cause of this trepidation was the Curse of the Break Up/Make Up Trope (I’ve discussed this at length elsewhere in relation to Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series).

Burn For Me ended with a proposition from leading man, Rogan, who wanted to whisk our heroine, Nevada, away from everything.

She turned him down, even though it’s clear she’s smitten, because she assumes he’s only after one thing, and honestly, he does nothing to indicate otherwise.

In fact, he gives a speech very similar to one Curran gave Kate, and I have to say I was a little worried it didn’t bode well.

The Problem With The Break Up/Make Up Trope

Much as I adore the Kate Daniels series my only true criticism of it is that it relies far too heavily (in the earlier books at least) on the Break Up/Make Up trope which was the direct cause of the only bad book in the series.

Which is not to say Magic Rises is a bad book, it’s still great. It’s simply markedly less awesome than the others due to the perpetual ‘let’s separate Kate and Curran so there’s tension and they can make up’.

It grew tiresome. 

And I have never been particularly attracted to the ‘you’ll beg me for it’ approach to wooing a woman. It gives me a similar creepy feeling to the ‘I’m going to do nice things for you and keep asking and asking until eventually I wear you down and convince you to sleep with me because you owe me for all the nice stuff I’ve done for you’ approach.

So when we got to the end of Burn For Me and Rogan announced to Nevada that she will beg him for it, I was irked.

It’s the only thing he’d done that made me dislike him at all, and it’s the exact same thing that puts me off Curran. 

Maybe that’s just me, I’m not sure, but it did make me worry about the contents of White Hot, a concern that was only heightened when I started it and discovered Rogan had been AWOL for two months after his big ‘you’ll beg me for it’ speech. Nevada was (justifiably) convinced he was a tool but still pined for him.

Fortunately, I was worrying about nothing.

Superior Romance

White Hot neatly sidesteps the Break Up/Make Up trope and immediately made it clear to the reader (if not Nevada) that he’d stayed away to keep her safe. Still, it could easily have dragged on (it did in Magic Rises), but it didn’t. 

In fact, I’d go so far as to say book two is even better than book one. Both Nevada and Rogan are developed enough now that we know them well and can understand their actions, motivations, feelings etc. All without the need for nasty exposition or pointless nonsense. So White Hot hits the ground running, picking up the threads left over from the central mystery running through Burn For Me.

The conspiracy expands, the web tangles ever-deeper, and all the while both Nevada and Rogan deepen as characters. Their romance develops at a steady clip, but the plot of the novel – the mystery, the action – also carries on a great pace.

Side characters (particularly Nevada’s family) take a more prominent role. We get a deeper look at the world, a clearer sense of Nevada’s magic and emerging place in it, and it all wraps up in a knockout ending.

I won’t spoil it for you, but I was quite worried it was going to end with another Break Up to set up the Make Up for the next novel, and that would have seriously annoyed me.

It didn’t.

While Burn For Me was an incredibly promising start to the series, White Hot solidifies Hidden Legacy as the best Romantic Urban Fantasy series I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading.