Publication Date: August 25, 2020
Series or Standalone:Hidden Legacy #5
Links: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Goodreads
CW: Gore; murder; violence; blood; gun violence; panic attacks
As much as I adore the Hidden Legacy series, Emerald Blaze is probably my least favorite of all the books. This is still a solid story and an important addition to the series, but it didn’t blow me away like the other books.
In Catalina’s latest adventure, she’s called into an investigation into a mysterious murder of a Prime at the Pit, a dumping ground for magical materials. A group of Primes is working to restore the Pit to usable land, but this murder upends their efforts as some magical thing is fighting them at every turn. Of course, this investigation leads to Catalina being forced to work again with Alessandro Sagredo after he broke her heart. As they work to unravel what is happening at the Pit, Catalina’s House also comes under attack, and everything connects back to the powerful Osiris serum.
Emerald Blaze leans hard into urban fantasy with a plot that has a lot going on, to the point where it’s a little hard to keep track of everything. I’ll admit, I’ve read this book twice, and the first time I read it, I was confused by some of the intricacies of what was going on at the Pit. The Abyss as a villain was hard to wrap my head around the first time – it is more abstract than any villain we’ve confronted in this series. We also have a lot of subplots in this book, with the Osiris serum taking center stage while a confrontation with a master assassin looms in the background. There are also a lot of new characters with new powers in this story, making it a challenge to keep track of everything and everyone on the first read.
While there are a lot of action scenes, I did feel the story dragged because of all the subplots and how the story was broken up. There were a lot of incredibly long chapters that felt like it slowed the story down, and I wish they were cut into smaller chunks to add more momentum. This book also relied a little bit too much on telling instead of showing, which made it feel like we missed out on the emotional impact of some things. The story picks up again at the end with an amazing fight scene and an ending that made me speechless.
The romance in this definitely takes a back seat to the broader plot. Overall, I find Catalina and Alessandro’s romance underwhelming compared to Nevada and Rogan. Don’t get me wrong, I still love Alessandro and Catalina, but their relationship doesn’t pack the same emotional punch. Some of that is because these two bring a lot of baggage to their relationship, and it’s hard for them to leave that at the door.
I really enjoyed the character growth we saw with Catalina and Alessandro. Catalina feels more grown up in this. She feels more like a Prime and the leader of her House. The actions of Sapphire Flames left their mark on her, and she’s not the same person she was. She’s more mature, more competent, and more in control. However, I love that we also see that she’s not as tough as she always acts. She has a more vulnerable side to her than her sister Nevada. She’s very good at putting on a mask and not letting her emotions show, even if it’s eating her up inside. She has a quiet strength to her that I think gets overlooked.
When it comes to Alessandro, I feel like you get to understand him more in this book. This book takes a much deeper dive into his backstory and past – we’re not just seeing him through Catalina’s rose-colored glasses. Once you learn his backstory, his actions make a lot more sense and I feel like I understand his protective nature a lot more.
I love how this book also deepens our relationship with other members of the Baylor family. I feel like you see a different side to Leon in this book, a softer, more caring side. Catalina’s relationship with Leon is one of my favorites to emerge from half of the series. We also see Catalina’s relationship grow with Linus Duncan – he’s become a sort of stand-in father figure to Catalina and a part of the broader Baylor clan. I also really liked the scenes with Nevada and Catalina. They don’t necessarily have the closest relationship, but there is a lot of love there, and they can both understand the position the other is in.
Overall, Emerald Blaze left me wanting a little more than we got. However, rereading it made me incredibly excited for Ruby Fever, as this book does play an important role in setting up some of the big plot points to come. Definitely pick up the Hidden Legacy series if you haven’t already!