Avon Impulse, $4.99, ISBN 978-0-06-287843-4
Now and then I get queries as to why I’m not reviewing any more Kate Daniels books. I have no idea what these people mean. The series ended a few years ago, people. Lion-O-Douche died of a heart attack while straining on the toilet bowl, plunging the were-beast clans into a civil war. The humans decided that it was high time they got rid of these horrible woo-woo things that did nothing but to bring war and worse into their lives, so they struck the were-beasts while those hairy things were preoccupied with one another, and Daddy Daniels was like, “Hey, how about me? Pay attention to me, damn it!” And then Kate killed him, only to receive a fatal blow in the process, and everyone cringed upon getting first look at the cast of the upcoming The Witcher series on Netflix.
So, Diamond Fire. It’s part of the other series, the one for Avon, and it’s also a short one. This one acts as both a conclusion to the main arc of Nevada and Connor – they are getting married, people – and an introduction to the new protagonist, Nevada’s sister Catalina Baylor. Oh, and Catalina’s only eighteen and already she is the object of an Instagram celebrity hunk’s affections. Her power is that she can make people love her and even open up to her and confess their darkest secrets to her, just by being there. Catalina also wails that she is so powerful, oh my god, but all she really wants is to be a normal girl, and ugh, someone please take away her magic so that she knows what it feels to be a normal human. I better don’t hear her complain when that happens.
Anyway, so we have a protagonist who seems like some creepy thing dragged out from the darkest corners of fanfiction hell, but to give Ilona Andrews credit, Catalina isn’t so unbearable here. She has to help locate a missing tiara while trying not to disrupt her Bridezilla sister’s wedding preparations, and in the process she discovers that Mad Rogan’s relatives are all dysfunctional and scummy refugees from a Jackie Collins novel. And that’s basically the whole story.
Diamond Fire attempts to showcase to me a bit of Catalina’s personality, which seems to be on the sweet and more reserved side compared to her sister, and a part of me to interested to see whether the author can pull this one off instead of turning the heroine into some dull, boring “I have a boyfriend now, so I don’t need a personality anymore” thing like Dali. I’m trying to tamper my enthusiasm, though, since this author has a history of stripping the female characters of any interesting, discernible personality once they get tied down with some bloke, and right now, Catalina needs all the personality she can get to rise above “I’m a walking Taylor Swift ballad”.
The plot itself isn’t very interesting. The resolution of all the drama boils down to this one’s a scumbag, this one’s a douchebag, and they are all liars, and nothing matters because by that point, nobody cares about the tiara anymore and the whole revelation feels like something that’s inserted just for the sake of the story having some semblance of a climactic moment.
On the bright side, even if the story is on the forgettable side, the whole thing is well paced from start to finish, and it feels like a complete story of its own. Also, I do feel some degree of interest in finding out where the author intends to take Catalina next, so I suppose this one has also done its job well as a promotional tie-in to advertise the upcoming full-length next book in this series.
Also, there is minimal Mad Rogan in this story, thank god, because he is so rich, so powerful, and so well connected that his very presence actually breaks the story. On the down side, his mother feels just as overpowered, and it’s bewilderingly easy how Catalina’s family can so easily locate and pass on important details and information to her at the most convenient moments. It looks like the author is still determined to go on that route where all the main characters have everything to the point that they completely outmatch anyone who stands in their way – not a good thing, really, as having such characters rob all semblance of suspense in the story they are in.
All in all, this one isn’t too bad, and it isn’t too memorable either – its virtues and flaws balance and cancel out one another. So, giving it three oogies would be just about right.