ARC Review: Bright Blaze of Magic by Jennifer Estep

ARC Review: Bright Blaze of Magic by Jennifer Estep
Bright Blaze of Magic
Black Blade #3
by Jennifer Estep

Genres: Mystery, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Publication date: April 26th, 2016
by K-Teen

Format: ARC

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Bad Things Always Come In Threes…

As a thief, I'm good at three things: hiding in the shadows, getting in and out unseen, and uncovering secrets. I put these skills to work for the Sinclair Family, one of the magical mobs that run the tourist town of Cloudburst Falls.

Everyone knows Victor Draconi wants to take over all the other Families--and kill every last Sinclair. What they don't know is that I'm on to him, and no way will I let the man who murdered my mom get away with hurting all the other people I care about. Especially when I've got places to break into, stuff to steal, and Devon Sinclair fighting right by my side…

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

It seems like not that long ago when I was turning the last pages of the last book of Mythos Academy and here we are again, another series finished. More characters to say goodbye to. Sadness. Why yes, I am rambling… just a little bit.

So… even though I enjoyed the conclusion, I also think that the Black Blade series doesn’t hold it’s own against the Mythos Academy series. The last book does diverge itself a little bit more from Mythos Academy and doesn’t employ all the same tropes, but the conclusion also lacks an oomph in terms of the villain characterization.

What I mean by this is that the villain is cartoonishly evil. Victor has several trope-y villain monologues and reads more like a cardboard cutout than an actual character. There is no depth to him and I am still not sure what motivated Victor to want to take over all the families besides wanting all the money and control. Yes that is a thing real villains occasionally do but I also want a villain who I can sort of understand. Who isn’t just there as a deus ex machina.

The lack of characterization of the villain ended up bringing down the plot of the book for me. There seemed to be nothing substantial driving the plot forward. So while exciting things were happening, I really wasn’t as captivated by them since there seemed to be no real reason behind them. Sometimes the villain is just a big bad plot moving device but I have come to expect more from Estep.

The romance also fell short in this instalment. While I like the Devon and Lila as characters, their romance feels a little forced? I kept waiting to fall in love with them as a couple and it never happened. All of Estep’s previous series have had more time to develop the romance and I wonder if that plays a part. With only three books, this is the author’s shortest series and I imagine there wasn’t as much time to develop swoony slow burn romances which were possible in other series.

All that said, I did really enjoy being with these characters again. Lila is pretty kick ass, let’s be honest. I love how she takes control of situations and thinks everything through. She doesn’t halfass things.

There were also some awesome human-monster relationships in the last book that I loved. The monsters in this series are so adorable and I love the way Estep builds them into her world. We don’t get a lot of reasons about why they are there but their presence is essential to the novel and adds so much to the world this book is set in.

Human-human relationships (besides romance) are also exciting! I love Seleste and Lila’s relationship and Lila and Claudia’s relationship. They are, in a sense, mother figures for Lila since she lost her mother but at the same time, their interactions are less ‘parental’ and more familiar. I like that they don’t replace her mother but rather help to give her some guidance when Lila is in tough spots.

This series finale might not have been everything I wanted but it does conclude the series in a satisfying manner. I am happy for all the characters and hope they will have some snuggle time after all the troubles they have been through over the course of the past three books.

To recommend or not to recommend? I recommend the series because it is good brain candy and pretty darn enjoyable. Also, for those of you who haven’t started the series, it’ll be fun to binge read.

Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
World-building
Romance
Overall: 3.2
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Rashika

Rashika is a mysterious creature who likes to hide in the shadows. It's impossible to get to know her but if you must know, she is a huge bookworm. She also happens to have a huge sweet tooth so you can always lure her over the dark side by offering her something sweet (or bribing her with books).

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  1. says

    Meh! Sorry this wasn’t a fun read for you! It seemed like it should have been really good with all of the action and everything but the fact that the ROMANCE (the most important part for me) fell short for you, as well as the cardboard villain?? Eh.. I think I’m going to pass this one up for now! <3 Thanks for leading me away from this book! <3

  2. says

    I enjoyed the first book well enough but honestly, this series doesn’t really hold a candle to Mythos Academy for me. It’s just not the kind of series that sticks with you, you know? Super disappointing to hear about Victor – I LOVE a well-played villain but when they fall flat it just feels so pointless!
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