I have been wanting to read this new trilogy about Nevada's younger sister for years, and when the first book went on sale ages ago, I may have screamed. But then I remembered the agony of reading the original series as they came out, and through a truly Herculean effort of will, I forced myself to wait until I was able to binge the entire trilogy all at once before starting SAPPHIRE FLAMES. Which was agony itself, but also HOO-BOY, after that cliffhanger, boy am I glad I waited.
I've seen some of my friends saying that they preferred the original trilogy but I actually think they're equally good in different ways. Catalina is just as vulnerable as Nevada in her own way, but she has a different set of problems. With siren powers that make people fall in love with her, she's always second-guessing whether people really love her for who she is, or if that's even possible. I think that's something a lot of people with anxiety and impostor syndrome relate to, with or without powers, and Catriona is so sheltered that being the new Head of her House comes at such a draining psychological cost that you can really feel the toll it takes on her, and part of the fun of this book is seeing her grow stronger for it.
And I LOVED Alessandro. I loved that his powers work in opposition to hers and that she has a sort of teenage crush on him that she thinks is unrequited. I loved the juxtaposition of his suave European playboy persona against his cold mercenary one. He's more dapper and dashing than Rogan but no less dangerous, and I think the real difference between them is that Rogan is more of a traditional alpha hero whereas Alessandro skews a little more gamma. They're both wonderful love interests, though, and in both subseries, I think that the authors did a great job creating chemistry and sexual tension.
What to say about the plot without spoiling? Well, as with all books, they end up involved in House turf wars, but unlike previous books, House Baylor is past its probationary period and now they're all sitting ducks. There's a truly terrifying villain in this book and evil monsters that wouldn't be out of place in the Kate Daniels universe. I'm honestly truly shocked that these books haven't been picked up for a TV show, yet. Some Netflix exec working for their acquisitions department must be zonked out at his desk because I can't imagine any other reason why someone would be sleeping on the movie rights for these books. I read most of SAPPHIRE FLAMES with my heart in my throat, and if you're thinking that that pretty dress on the cover probably doesn't even make an appearance, THINK AGAIN.
5 out of 5 stars