Nevada Frida Baylor and Connor Ander Rogan cordially invite you to join their wedding celebration. Summoning, weather manipulation, and other magical activities strictly forbidden.
Catalina Baylor is looking forward to wearing her maid of honor dress and watching her older sister walk down the aisle. Then the wedding planner gets escorted off the premises, the bride’s priceless tiara disappears, and Rogan’s extensive family overruns his mother’s home. Someone is cheating, someone is lying, and someone is plotting murder.
To make this wedding happen, Catalina will have to do the thing she fears most: use her magic. But she’s a Baylor and there’s nothing she wouldn’t do for her sister’s happiness. Nevada will have her fairy tale wedding, even if Catalina has to tear the mansion apart brick by brick to get it done.
I’m incredibly late to reviewing this novella. Not because I haven’t read it, but because I always struggle with reviewing my favorites. I devolve into a gibbering mess of large hand gestures and stuttering sentences that consist of ‘Just…You gotta…Read it…NOW!’
Diamond Fire is no exception, even if it is just a novella. A lot of novellas are short stories, short on character development, short on world development, short on plot. That’s not the case here. Diamond Fire expands on the world that we already know (and LOVE) from Nevada and Rogan’s story – the Hidden Legacy Series, so we know a good number of the characters, we understand the world. But I read this time with an eye towards not knowing any of this, and I still think that Ilona Andrews pack more into their novellas than some authors put in their full-length novels.
An advantage, and disadvantage, of reviewing this more than a few weeks past release day is that hundreds of other people have already reviewed it. Disadvantage because it’s hard to say something new when it’s all already been said. But, I think in this case especially, it’s an advantage because I can speak to some things that I wouldn’t have even thought about discussing before because they never occurred to me.
We join Catalina in this book as she’s trying to be the wedding planner for Nevada and Rogan’s wedding with her sister, Arabella. Nevada’s sisters have taken this over because Nevada has fired the last couple of wedding planners she tried to hire. Nevada also suddenly demands lilacs in her bouquet. Enough people complained and talked about these demanding, Bridezilla (their words, not mine), sort of actions from Nevada that seemed out of character from what we knew, that Ilona herself addressed it on her blog.
I won’t rehash that, but I can say – easily – that Nevada’s actions never struck me as Bridezilla, demanding, or high-maintenance. She fired the first wedding planner because the planner kept telling her she couldn’t do something, when she really meant she wouldn’t. Would you keep a wedding planner that wouldn’t do what you wanted at your wedding? She fired the second wedding planner because the wedding planner was LYING to her. Sorry, not really, but I wouldn’t accept that either.
The one demand that I hear her make in the entire story is that she wants lilacs in her bouquet. As Grandma Frida says: “If she wants lilacs, just let her have lilacs. What’s the harm?” Indeed. It’s not ridiculous to have the flowers you want in your bouquet. The wedding is for the people getting married. No one else.
I had a small, intimate wedding with my parents, our kids, and my sister-in-law in attendance. I wore red, my wife work black. Not traditional, but it’s what we wanted. I wouldn’t have tolerated anyone telling me that my vision of my wedding wasn’t possible. Clearly it’s possible because it happened.
Anyway, Nevada was never demanding and rude. Just firm and expected the respect that comes when you hire someone. All the other drama that came about because of Catalina and Arabella planning the wedding had to do with Rogan’s excessively large family and the stress of Prime life. Nothing else.
Anyway, I think I spent just as much time here talking about it as is spent on it in the book itself. Everything else focuses on Catalina coming into her own. We get to see her work an investigation, use and learn more about her magic, and get inside her head.
I can already tell I’m going to love Catalina. Though to be fair, I knew that way back in Burn for Me. I’m excited to read Sapphire Flames – honestly, the prospect of a review copy sent me on a five-day binge re-read of the series that made my heart happy.
This was the fondant on the perfect cake that was Nevada and Rogan’s story. I get to see their wedding and get invested in a whole ‘nother Baylor. I can’t wait for more.