Review: Iron and Magic (The Iron Covenant #1) by Ilona Andrews

Iron and Magic
Author: Ilona Andrews
Released: June 26th 2018
Received: Own

Iron and Magic is the first in the Iron Covenant novels, but it’s set in the same world as Kate Daniels. In fact, fans of the series should absolutely recognize the main character here: Hugh d’Ambray.

In case you don’t know the backstory of how this book came to be, it’s actually a pretty funny tale. Ilona and Andrew Gordon originally made a ‘snippet’ of a Hugh novel as an April Fool’s joke, but it got so much attention and was so loved by the fans that something eventually came of it. I have to give this creative duo credit for this; this listened to their fans and made a novel they had never intended on solely because of the reaction to it. That takes guts, but is also really kind to us fans.

Besides being fun though, this book actually serves a very important purpose. It has to get us, and certain characters, to a specific point in order to have the events in Magic Triumphs make sense. Based on what happened, I’m sure we can all guess what the intent was, but I won’t spoil that for you here.

Spoiler Warning:

Ilona Andrews has done it again. Seriously. I shameless bought two copies this novel; a dead tree copy to add to my Ilona Andrews shelf, and a digital copy so I wouldn’t have to wait to read it. I can’t tell you how great of an idea that was for me. I read the whole book in a day, and have no regrets about it.

Actually, once I was finished with the book I had to sit back and think about it for a day or two. I’m not really sure what I was expecting from Iron and Magic, but I certainly got more than whatever that was.

For the sake of honestly I should tell you something. I was never crazy about Hugh. I mean, I thought he was a well-designed character, but I never shipped him and Kate (always thought of them more as siblings than anything…albeit ones that didn’t get along too well) and I certainly never would have pictured him as the main character in his own series. I want to be clear on how I felt about Hugh, so you’ll understand how much this novel changed things for me.

This novel made Hugh human in my perspective. He went from being this big bad guy that I loved to hate to a real person with emotions, thoughts, and reasoning. I wasn’t expecting that, to be honest. It became clear to me that this novel wasn’t so much about redeeming Hugh’s past as it was explaining who he was/is and the reasons for any past and current decisions made.

It’s amazing how humanizing it can be to see how a person thinks. I went into this book expecting a fun read, and came out with a whole new respect for his character, and frankly for the writing talent that makes up the Ilona Andrews team. I was blown away.

Alongside the obvious, there are a whole lot of fantastic points to this novel. The fight scenes were fantastic, the new characters intriguing (I know we all walked away wondering what Elara is), the romance surprisingly well done, and the politics and dynamics enthralling.

While I’ve always loved the politics and scheming that have occurred in the Kate Daniels world, I feel like they were truly brought to the forefront with this novel. There’s so much going on with Hugh’s character, past allegiances, current ones, enemies, fenemies, and the whole nine yards. It’s impossible to escape that, but it was perfectly portrayed and really added something to this book.

Before reading Iron and Magic I would have actually believed Hugh’s transition to a point against Roland. Granted, I think that would have been mostly wishful thinking. Now there’s no doubt in my mind on whose side he’s on, and honestly it fits perfectly with the character we’ve been shown here.

Now I just have to wait a little bit before Magic Triumphs releases… Almost there… I’m trying not to be too anxious to the next book, since it’ll be the conclusion of the series, but it’s very difficult to not be anxious about it.


About Liz (AKA Cat)

I am an avid animal lover, photographer, reader, and much more. While my photography blog is feeling a bit neglected at the moment, the other sites I'm involved in are going strong. ✧I review books, comics, and basically anything else in the literary world over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks (of Books). ✧I review comics and books, as well as write content for Word of the Nerd. ✧I review comics for Monkeys Fighting Robots. ✧I write content for Screen Rant and CBR. ✧I write book reviews for The Review Crew.
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