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Black Blade #3

Bright Blaze of Magic

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Bad Things Always Come In Threes…

As a thief, I'm good at three things: hiding in the shadows, getting in and out unseen, and uncovering secrets. I put these skills to work for the Sinclair Family, one of the magical mobs that run the tourist town of Cloudburst Falls.

Everyone knows Victor Draconi wants to take over all the other Families--and kill every last Sinclair. What they don't know is that I'm on to him, and no way will I let the man who murdered my mom get away with hurting all the other people I care about. Especially when I've got places to break into, stuff to steal, and Devon Sinclair fighting right by my side…

308 pages, Paperback

First published April 26, 2016

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About the author

Jennifer Estep

100 books11.3k followers
Jennifer Estep is a New York Times, USA Today, and internationally bestselling author who prowls the streets of her imagination in search of her next fantasy idea.

Jennifer is the author of the Elemental Assassin, Section 47, Galactic Bonds, Crown of Shards, Gargoyle Queen, and other fantasy series. She has written more than 40 books, along with numerous novellas and stories.

In her spare time, Jennifer enjoys hanging out with friends and family, doing yoga, and reading fantasy and romance books. She also watches way too much TV and loves all things related to superheroes.

For more information on Jennifer and her books, visit her website at www.JenniferEstep.com or sign up for her newsletter: http://www.jenniferestep.com/contact-....

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Amazon: https://amzn.to/39lCyX6
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Happy reading, everyone! 😎

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 379 reviews
Profile Image for Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽.
1,880 reviews22.7k followers
October 4, 2016
Final review, first posted on Fantasy Literature:

Note: some spoilers for earlier books in this series.

The hair-raising adventures of Lila Merriweather conclude in Bright Blaze of Magic, the third volume of Jennifer Estep’s BLACK BLADE young adult urban fantasy series. Lila, age seventeen, is not only a highly skilled thief, but also has amazing sword-fighting abilities and extraordinary magical powers, not to mention championship snarking abilities. In the town of Cloudburst Falls, where magical power is so prevalent that the town attracts tourists who want to see magical people and creatures, people’s magical strength lends itself to political power. Lila is a bodyguard for the Sinclair Family, particularly the son and heir of the family, Devon Sinclair. Since the first book, Cold Burn of Magic, the feud between the Sinclairs and their bitter rivals, the Draconi Family, has been heating up. Now the conflict threatens to explode: Victor Draconi, the evil head of the Draconis, has been stockpiling magical swords and is almost ready to take over the town and stamp out all of the competing Families.

At the end of the second book, Dark Heart of Magic, Lila and her friends, Devon Sinclair and Felix Morales, discovered the magical swords in a hidden room in the Draconi castle. Using Lila’s talent for burglary and their friendship with Deah Draconi, Victor’s daughter, they’re now sneaking into the castle and replacing most of the magical swords with ordinary swords. But Victor’s army is so large that just stealing these swords isn’t going to be enough to neutralize the deadly threat that the Draconi Family presents to the other magical families. When Victor and his son Blake suddenly make their move, many people are murdered or captured by the Draconis. Lila and her friends escape and go into hiding, unable to compete head-to-head with the far superior forces that the Draconis command. It seems that Victor holds all the cards … but has he underestimated Lila?

Lila dashes from one dangerous situation to another in this fast-paced tale, leading her friends into and out of hazards. Burglary, swordfights, infiltrations of enemy territory, encounters with copper crushers (huge magical venomous snakes), hostage rescues: it’s all in day’s work for these teenagers. Their encounter with the huge lochness monster, who lurks, troll-like, under a bridge and snatches unwary people who cross its bridge without paying the traditional toll, was one of the highlights of the story. We get to know the character of the lochness, one of my favorite monsters from Cold Burn of Magic, just a little better in this final tale in the trilogy. Lila learns about the importance of respect and friendship, even toward monsters … well, excepting the copper crushers.

Jennifer Estep’s writing is smooth, if a little young and simplistic for more sophisticated readers. A few of her comments made me chuckle, like this simile:
With his black hair, bronze skin, and dark, soulful eyes, Felix was undeniably cute, but Devon was the one who made my heart race like a tree troll hopping from one branch to another.
My English professors would have ripped me a new one for a simile like that ... Anyway, the romance content in Bright Blaze of Magic is very mild, but there is a lot of violence and death, although it’s handled in a generally appropriate way for younger readers, without much gore. Occasionally Lila’s ability to handle situations and conquer opponents that are apparently too challenging for all of the adults to handle is over the top, but I think most teen readers won’t be as skeptical about that as I am. If you liked the first two books in this series, Bright Blaze of Magic won’t disappoint. The BLACK BLADE series isn’t particularly deep or complex, but it’s an engaging, fast-paced light fantasy that I think most middle grade and young adult readers will enjoy.
Profile Image for Carole (Carole's Random Life).
1,728 reviews465 followers
May 28, 2020
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I am so glad that I finally read this book! I was lucky enough to receive an early copy of this book near its release date but it fell through the cracks somehow. As more time passed, I realized that I would need to refresh my memory of the first two books in the trilogy before I could review the book properly so I put off reading it. I decided to push this book to the top of my list recently and it was a very good decision. I thoroughly enjoyed my re-read of the first two books in the trilogy and was eager to experience this book for the first time. I really had a good time with this one.

This is a trilogy that really needs to be read in order. Things have been building to the events in this book for the entire trilogy and I was excited to see how things would work out. Victor Draconi has been working towards a plan to eliminate the other Families and take control of everything himself. Lila and the other Sinclairs are aware of his plan and they are working to do whatever they can to stop him.

This story was exciting and there were a few scenes that were incredibly action-packed. There were a few scenes where I was really worried about how things would work out for this group of characters that I have grown to care for and some scenes that broke my heart. I loved the way that the monsters and magical abilities were such a vital part of the story. It was great to see Lila really become a trusted member of the Sinclair Family as they came together with the other Families to fight a common threat.

Brittany Pressley did a fantastic job with the narration once again. I looked forward to putting my headphones on and escaping into Lila's world for a few hours. I really felt like she brought this story to life. She did a fantastic job with all of the character voices and brought a lot of emotion into her reading. I believe that her narration added to my enjoyment of this story.

I would recommend this book to others. I thought that this was a wonderful trilogy set in a very interesting world. I had a great time going on this adventure with Lila, Devon, Felix, Oscar, and the rest of the characters. I cannot wait to read more of Jennifer Estep's work.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Kensington Books via NetGalley and purchased a copy of the audiobook.

Initial Thoughts
I am so glad that I finally read this book! This was a battle that has been brewing for the entire series and I was excited to see the Sinclairs take on the Draconis. There was a lot of excitement and action in this book and some pretty intense scenes. I thought that the characters were at their best in this installment and there were some pretty emotional scenes. I listened to the audiobook and I thought that the narrator did a fabulous job bringing this story to life.
Profile Image for Tina ♥ Bookaholic.
793 reviews111 followers
November 14, 2016

Meine Gedanken zum Buch:
Erneut geht eine Reihe zu Ende, bei der ich eigentlich ganz froh darüber bin. Während mir der erste Band noch richtig gut gefallen hat, konnte mich die weiteren leider immer weniger überzeugen. Was vor allem daran lag, dass es mir zu übertrieben bzgl. Lila wurde. Wie auch hier in diesem Teil.
Die Handlung setzt nur wenige Wochen nach Teil zwei ein und schildert den Diebeszug von Lila, Devon und Felix ins Haus ihrer Feinde, den Draconis. Dabei tauschen sie die magisch aufgeladenen Waffen gegen Fälschungen aus, um zumindest einen kleinen Vorteil gegenüber Victor Draconi zu haben. Doch das hilft Ihnen nicht viel, als sie bei einem gemeinsamen Essen aller (Mafia) Familien, bei dem keine Waffen erlaubt sind, von den Draconis überrannt werden. Dort nimmt Victor Devons Mutter und andere hochrangige Sinclair Mitglieder gefangen und gibt die Order, alle zu töten, die sich ihm widersetzen. Natürlich können Lila, Devon, Felix und Deah fliehen und sich verstecken, während alle anderen entführt und eingesperrt oder ermordet werden. Klar, Lila ist mit ihren 16/ 17 Jahren ja auch die beste Kämpferin, was will da auch ein Mann um die 25/ 30, der mindestens 10 Jahre Training voraus hat, entgegen setzen? *Sarkasmus aus*
Okay, wie ihr seht habe ich schon diese Aktion etwas lächerlich und unrealistisch empfunden, aber das war leider nur ein Tropfen auf dem heißen Stein.

Leider geht es in dieser Art weiter und es hat mich auch gestört, dass es so Stereotypisch bzw. schwarz/ weiß geschildert wurde. Alle Draconis bis auf Deah sind die Bösen. Jede Wache und jeder Kämpfer lachen höhnisch und attackieren oder töten ohne mit der Wimper zu zucken Mitglieder oder ihre Taten zu hinterfragen die Leute von anderen Familien, bloß weil der Boss Victor es ihnen befiehlt. Komplett ohne Skrupel? Nö, geht nicht. Und dann wendet sich das Blatt und alles ist vergeben und vergessen und alle fliegen auf der Wolke durch einen rosa Himmel…

Genauso wurden die Sinclairs alle so toll beschrieben, ohne wirklich Ecken und Kanten zu zeigen. Leider auch Devon. War ich im ersten Band noch ein Fangirl von ihm, hat er mich leider etwas verloren. Er wirkte manchmal auf mich schon wie ein kleiner Junge, der alles Lila überlässt und keinen eigenen Charakter hat, was ich total schade fand. Mir ist schon klar, dass Estep hier einen Good Guy präsentieren wollte, aber ein wenig Charakter, Ecken und Kanten hätten nicht geschadet.:/

Und wie gesagt, außerdem fand ich es etwas lächerlich, dass alles nur durch eine Jugendliche gerettet werden kann. Sei es nun die Sinclairs aus den Händen der Draconis zu befreien oder später bei dem Endkampf, bei dem Lila antritt, anstatt irgendjemand der zig Kämpfer/ Wächter/ Bodyguards die Claudia in ihrer Mafia-Familie beherbergt. Das Beste war dann auch noch, das Devon meinte: Ja klar, mach nur, ich weiß, dass du das machen musst! Warum auch nicht? Ist ja nicht so, dass er sie liebt und nicht will, dass sie vor seinen Augen getötet wird. Er ist eben ein verständnisvoller Freund, daher kam es kein einziges Widerwort. Wow, ich glaube, in diesem Moment habe ich ihn mir als Strohpuppe vorgestellt. Vielleicht schön anzusehen, aber kein Leben in ihm.

Ihr fragt euch jetzt, warum es dennoch noch 3 Punkte gibt, obwohl ich hier leider hauptsächlich nur Kritik geäußert habe? Nun ja, zum einen, weil ich den ersten Teil richtig toll geliebt habe und hier Wehmut mitschwingt. Und auch, weil die Grundidee von Estep wirklich klasse, frisch und unverbraucht war und manche ihrer Einfälle zu den kleinen Monstern oder zu den Pixies und andere Sachen waren richtig, richtig toll. Nur hat es für mich leider oft an der Umsetzung bzw. den Figuren gehapert. Schade, aber ich denke, in Zukunft bleibe ich ausschließlich bei ihren Erwachsenden-Büchern von Estep.

(Mehr dazu auf meinem Blog)
Profile Image for Terri ♥ (aka Mrs. Christian Grey).
1,386 reviews470 followers
May 7, 2016
I'll probably rate this 3.5. It was just too predictable Lila felt stupid at times not figuring things out. Like After it all, I will still probably read/listen the next book. Audio narration was fantastic.
Profile Image for Marta Cox.
2,571 reviews191 followers
March 16, 2016
Roll up, roll up its time to enjoy all the fun that the town of Cloudburst Falls offers. It's the most magical place in America and the tourists flock there in their droves. It could be the non stop entertainment with those who work for the ruling families strutting their stuff. Who wouldn't ooh and aah at guards wearing capes and plumage looking like something from an Alexandre Dumas novel. There are souvenirs aplenty but perhaps what really brings out the curious is the fact that Cloudburst Falls is the home of the monsters! Yes look up and you might spot a tree troll cheeping away above you . If you are really brave then how about a trip to the river to perhaps spot the loch ness that resides there. Oh but then of course there's the truly evil monster that lives there but he isn't the usual monster no Victor Draconi is head of his family and determined to take over all the other families!
Lila Merriweather knows just how evil Victor is as he slaughtered her mother. Now four years later she works for the Sinclair family. Lila has found a home , purpose, friends and maybe even love but knows full well that unless someone stops Victor all that might be lost forever. Victor has amassed a stock pile of vicious black blades but Lila is on to him and determined to prevent him using them but is she too late?
I love this series which is suitable for young adults . It's set in the same world as the authors Elemental Assassin stories and we even get nods to the infamous Pork Pit which always makes me smile . Lila has gone from being a wary outsider to someone who has let people in and I loved that her character was allowed to grow . As a villain Victor is truly evil and doesn't care who his actions hurt. You just know that he deserves to fall but can anyone really be stronger than him? Victor is probably the most powerful magic user but Lila has a few trucks up her sleeve and 'friends ' to back her up. There's plenty of action here but I was surprised at the juggernaut pacing as I'd hoped for another book. Alas I fear this might be a trilogy so sadly might have to say goodbye to these wonderful characters . I've never understood the term book hangover until now and now sadly I do. Fast paced, inventive and alas for this reader addictive.
I was gifted a copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
Profile Image for Ian.
1,349 reviews188 followers
May 3, 2016
Seems my ratings for these books are going to be inversely proportional to the book's position in the series. Put simply, as the number of books increase, the number of stars decrease.

There is some good in this book...300 people have rated it 4 or 5 Stars and I get it. I understand why they love it.

But it was driving me to distraction. The author often repeats adjectives and adverbs for emphasis. It's her style. It's all about his "green green eyes" or the "cold cold burn" or my "black black heart". Personally I find it annoying but have managed to forgive / ignore it in her Elemental Assassin series. Not so easy to ignore in this book.

Another thing which made me want to bang my head against a wall was that characters would be just about to be attacked by the bad guys and they would launch into these long emotional farewells, or they'd be rescuing friends and rather than getting on with it they'd stop for a chat. I don't mind a chat but seriously there's a time and a place.


And finally, the tone of the book is just too ponderous for the subject matter. Doom, doom doom, gets old quickly. There really needs to be a lightness as a counterpoint, it was there in book one with Lila stealing the Sinclair Family silver, with the tree troll hurling rotten fruit at passers by, and with Lila's red-neck Pixie. It's all but disappeared in this one.


So yeah, Bright Blaze of Magic is a bit of a disappointment. It's OK but a long way from great.
Profile Image for Lina Lovegood.
176 reviews
March 22, 2018
War ein guter Abschluss der Reihe, allerdings sehr vorhersehbar. Aber ich mochte die Charaktere und den Weltenentwurf ganz gerne. Von der Story her aber eher durchschnittlich.
Profile Image for Ezi Chinny.
2,534 reviews416 followers
April 30, 2016

Well Done Jennifer Estep! Well Done! This final book in the trilogy did what many YA trilogies failed to deliver: A Thrilling and Satisfying Conclusion.

This third book started with the head of the Family, Claudia Sinclair and her son Devon, the family Bruiser working with the family bodyguard Lila Merriweather, and Lila’s cousin Deah to foil Victor Draconi’s plot to control the town of Cloudburst Falls. If you read books 1 & 2, you know the significance of this alliance and how it came to be. *Hint* Read this series in order to fully comprehend the minutiae.

The action and power struggle began immediately as the line in the sand was drawn between the Sinclair Family and the Draconi Family with the other families trying to pick the winning side. What I loved most in this story was that Lila and Devon’s romance to a back seat to the family business as it rightfully should have. The Sinclair family was united and focused on the preparation for the Draconi family move, whatever it maybe. While love young love as blossoming, the priority was saving lives.

Lila is one of my favorite YA heroines. She is tough, resilient, smart, noble and resourceful. Now that she found a new home with the Sinclair family, she was putting her life on the line to protect them from the Draconi threat. Devon was brave as was all the supporting casts fighting on the side of good. The author did a fantastic job keeping the story adrenaline-charged and interesting. This was a quick paced story with an engaging plot that flowed and was congruous to the theme started in book 1.

The world building was complex enough without being too dense and boring. The supernatural creatures were different from the norm and there wasn’t too many of them to overwhelm the story. The final showdown allowed Lila to address a wrong committed against her family both from the past and in their current situation. Then ending was well thought out and satisfying.

I highly recommend this series to those readers looking for an entertaining YA urban fantasy with a light romance.

*Special Thanks to Kensington Books via Netgalley for the advance reading copy given in exchange for an honest review
Profile Image for Carmel (Rabid Reads).
706 reviews381 followers
April 25, 2016
Reviewed by: Rabid Reads. ~ 4.5 Stars

Jennifer Estep had a lot of ground to cover in order to tie the BLACK BLADE trilogy up with a nice bow what with the main story arc, romance, and Lila’s past still up in the air, but rest easy because all that and more was accomplished in BRIGHT BLAZE OF MAGIC. This series is intended for a Young Adult audience, and yet the Urban Fantasy elements were just as strong that regardless of your preference, you’re sure to enjoy this novel.

The finale set-up has been two installments in the making, so this title was about watching the author free the pent-up momentum, and letting her rip. The book does begin with Merriweather, Devon & Felix enacting the last stages of their plan, however after that it’s a straight shot to the conclusion. Relations between the Families enter the red zone, Victor Draconi makes his move, and the Sinclairs meet him pound for pound.

Lila’s mother played such an important role in her life, and continued to do so well after her death. I liked how the heroine was able to hold-on to her memory, and honour Serena’s legacy by finishing what she had set in motion four years ago. The way that the events unfolded had a cool fate-like feel to it, and we also got to learn about Merriweather’s father who hadn’t been mentioned overly much up until this point.

The death toll was higher than what I’d envisioned, minus most of the gore found in Estep’s adult works, but given that an all-out mafia war broke out, I thought that it was appropriate. The tête-à-tête between the Draconi head and Lila had just the right amount of fingernail biting moments too. The love interest with Devon was handled in a tasteful way, and I was happy that a second couple was able to get their own HEA as well.

BRIGHT BLAZE OF MAGIC will keep you reading until the job is done!
Profile Image for Grüffeline.
1,077 reviews103 followers
November 28, 2017
4,5 Sterne.
Ich muss nicht vie über ein Buch sagen, dass ich an einem Tag komplett durchgelesen habe, oder? Die ganze Trilogie war toll, ich mag Lila sehr, auch wenn sie teilweise echt ein Brett vorm Kopf hat (Ich sage nur: Wölfe, Blitze, etc). Eine ganz tolle Welt, die Jennifer Estep da aufgebaut hat und die ich unbedingt weiterempfehlen kann!
(Allerdings... Wenn ich noch einmal das Wort "rumschieben" lesen muss, dann verzweifel ich. Da muss es doch bessere Begriffe für geben. Würde mich ja mal interessieren, was im Englischen Original da stand.)
Profile Image for Jeanny.
1,878 reviews144 followers
March 14, 2016

I should start by confessing I'm not an overly enthusiastic fan of YA. In fact I only follow a (very) few YA series. However, the moment I read Jennifer Estep's Black Blade series I absolutely fell in love with the world & characters. I suspect the fact it's clearly UF with all the usual elements helps. I find most YA loses any "edge".

POV , MCs, & Romance:
I especially enjoy reading the story from Lila's POV. She's courageous, intelligent, virtuous, & I happen to think her astonishingly entertaining. Her romantic interest Devon Sainclair (Sainclair bruiser) is an absolutely perfect match for Lila. I find their dialogue incredibly sweet & feel the progress made with in their relationship believable. I especially like the fact they didn't have any insta-love.

World Buiding:
This is a complex world with many different species. Estep does an excellent job explaining every aspect sufficiently without massive info dumps. In truth the world building is seamless.

The romantic story arc continues its forward momentum at a steady pace. The altercation between the Sinclair & Draconi households reaches it's much anticipated conclusion. I found the battle was filled with surprises, had plenty of action, & was well written.

Yes, I would definitely recommend this series to readers looking for a YA novel without the common plot predictability, dreaded instal-love or a heroine who suffers from TSTL. I find myself engrossed in the world, plot, characters, & happily exercising my suspense of disbelief. I encourage you to give this series a try.
4.5/5 stars

eARC Bright Blaze of Magic by Jennifer Estep kindly provided via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book counts towards my Literary Genius A to Z
Book Challenge. Letter b
Profile Image for AnnaSalvatore.
270 reviews4 followers
February 28, 2017
GANZE REZENSION: http://annasalvatoresbuchblog.blogspo...

Wie bei bisher ausnahmslos allen Estep-Büchern, bin ich begeistert.

Der Einstieg fiel mir leicht. Ich hatte die bisherige Handlung noch genau vor Augen.
Handlungstechnisch geht es heiß her, und ich war sofort wieder in der Geschichte drin. Estep hat es einfach drauf, wie ich nicht müde werde zu betonen.
Eigentlich wiederhole ich mich in den Rezensionen zu ihren Büchern nur - lies eine für alle :D
In diesem Band gibt es sehr wenig 'Verschnaufpausen' für Lila & Co. und es kam mir zu keiner Zeit Langeweile auf. Die Entwicklungen gefielen mir sehr, und am Ende wurde es nochmal richtig spannend. Der Showdown der Trilogie kann sich auf jeden Fall sehen lassen.

Der Schreibstil liest sich wie gewohnt sehr flüssig und schnell. Die Kapitellänge ist sehr angenehm gehalten, mir war zu keiner Zeit langweilig. Der gewohnte Mix aus Action, Liebe, Humor und Story spricht mich einfach an und macht Spaß zu lesen.

Auch die Charaktere gefallen mir wieder. Lila ist und bleibt für mich eine angenehme Persönlichkeit. Zwar mit Gefühlen, aber kaum am Rumheulen. Sie ist schlau, ganz gut im Kämpfen. Auch die übrigen Charaktere - Devon, Felix, Julia und Elfe (und natürlich noch viele mehr) sowie natürlich die Antagonisten - überzeugen mal wieder auf ganzer Linie.

Kritik ist und bleibt leider, dass sich Esteps Reihen bei genaurem Hinsehen sehr ähneln - wobei die Ideen/Wesen/Welten immer etwas Besonderes sind. Auch fiel mir auf, dass manchmal, wenn Lila jemanden tötete, es schön umschrieben wird, z. B. dass sie ihn nur 'ausschaltete' anstatt abstoch.
Dennoch überwiegt das Positive der ganzen Reihe natürlich - und Lesespaß ist garantiert.

Schlussendlich bleibt mir nur zu sagen, dass Estep ein wundervoller, der Reihe würdiger Abschluss gelungen ist.
Allgemein kann ich die Black Blade-Trilogie allen Fans von Urban Fantasy und Jugendbuch-Lesern empfehlen, die es gerne humorvoll, originell und auch mal brutaler mögen.

- Fast perfekte 4,5 von 5 Feenfaltern -

Vielen lieben Dank an den ivi Verlag für das Rezensionsexemplar!

© Anna Salvatore's Bücherreich
Profile Image for Maja (The Nocturnal Library).
1,013 reviews1,889 followers
May 30, 2016
Bright Blaze of Magic is the final book in Jennifer Estep’s Black Blade trilogy. It continues in the same tone as its two predecessors, which means that it’s exciting, entertaining, and very easy to read. I have always admired Estep’s style precisely because it’s so easy to absorb. Her writing is as far from frilly as you can get – it is, I dare say, functional – but it serves her well and it doesn’t draw attention away from her stories, which is the most important thing.

Lila and the Sinclairs face an almost invincible enemy in this finale. Victor Draconi has been collecting magic for years and he’s determined to use it all to destroy Claudia Sinclair and those who work for her. Lila has her own plans to stop him and a mind set on revenge for the murder of her mother, but Victor may prove too difficult an adversary even for someone with Lila’s talents and strengths.

Bright Blaze is action-packed from start to finish. It begins with theft, as things so usually do when Lila is involved, and continues with a whole series of other excitements. Naturally, the Sinclairs have to lose everything and find themselves pushed into a corner by Victor before they can unite with other families and fight back. Lila is yet again the best person for the job, and with the help of her boyfriend and several trusted friends, she has to make plans and run into danger to save everything and everyone she loves.

I adore Estep for giving us a settled and supportive romance between people who truly understand each other. There was absolutely no drama between Lila and Devon, or Felix and Deah for that matter. Both couples were steady and strong and they fought their enemies together, without unnecessary tension. After all, they had more than enough enemies to fight without turning on each other.

I have to give credit where credit is due: Jennifer Estep did an excellent job with this trilogy. While it isn’t the best written or the most memorable series I’ve ever read, it’s still one of the most entertaining and sometimes, that’s pretty much all I need.

Profile Image for Kathy Davie.
4,680 reviews704 followers
March 21, 2017
Third in the Black Blade young adult arcanepunk series and revolving around Lila Merriweather — it's quite personal, as it's first-person protagonist point-of-view from Lila's perspective — in the Disney-like Cloudburst Falls, West Virginia.

My Take
It doesn't take long before I started questioning the intelligence of the Sinclairs. They know what Victor is planning, in general, and they don't realize what those possibilities are? They narrow down the location of the prisoners but wait? They don't scout? Ever?

Lame, lame, lame. Estep takes on the trope in which we're supposed to think the bully is being swayed. But none of it rings true. As for those excuses as to why the Draconi employees don't leave an employer they disagree with?? If ya don't like it, you leave. Estep doesn't give us any reason as to why these people wouldn't leave Victor. Although, why would anyone trust the Draconi guards?

Then Estep follows up with the I-can-become-powerful-when-an-innocent-is-attacked ploy. Oy. Then she's losing the battle…because she's not thinking. Again. For all of Lila's boasting and abilities, she's still untried in true battle. Allowing your anger to rule? What had her mother been teaching her?

Dang, Estep slipped in a reference to the a Pork Pit…and now I want barbecue!

Two of the few scenes that made sense included Lila's realization about the bloodiron and finally accepting her abilities to the full. Oh, dang, that's not fair. Most of the story was fine, if too padded and slow, but those negatives really stood out.

More detailed back history on why Serena got on Victor's "naughty" list. *More laughter* with how Estep pulled in the titles in Black Blade: "That cold burn of magic filled my veins…", "…there was just a bright blaze of magic..", "…cold burn of magic in the air…", "…the cold burn in my veins had nothing to do with magic…", and "…straight through the heart with a black blade".

Okay, so Bright Blaze of Magic annoyed me. Still, I am curious as to where Estep plans to go after this one. She's certainly left it open for possibilities.

The Story
As a thief, I'm good at three things: hiding in the shadows, getting in and out unseen, and uncovering secrets. I put these skills to work for the Sinclair Family, one of the magical mobs that run the tourist town of Cloudburst Falls.

Everyone knows Victor Draconi wants to take over all the other Families — and kill every last Sinclair. What they don't know is that I'm on to him, and no way will I let the man who murdered my mom get away with hurting all the other people I care about. Especially when I've got places to break into, stuff to steal, and Devon Sinclair fighting right by my side…

The Characters
Lila (Sterling) Merriweather, with her transference, soulsight, and ability to see everything with crystal clarity in the dark Talents, has gone to work for the Sinclairs, as a sword-wielding bodyguard to Devon. Her mom has taught Lila the old ways. Oscar is the cowboy boot-wearing pixie who takes care of Lila. Tiny is his pet tortoise. Luke was Lila's father and had been the Draconi family bruiser when he fell in love with Serena.

The Families are…
…similar to the Mob, a magical one, and they run Cloudburst Falls, dividing the Midway up between them.

The Sinclair Family
Devon Sinclair is the family bruiser with compulsion Talent and in love with Lila. Claudia, a.k.a., the Ice Queen, is his mother with the Talent to freeze, the head of the family, and had been best friends with Serena, Lila's mom. The overly chatty Felix Morales has healing magic like his dad, Angelo. Mo Kaminsky runs a pawnshop, the Razzle Dazzle, and has cared for Lila since her mother was murdered. He's also the Sinclair Family broker, having taken over from Grant Sanderson in Cold Burn of Magic , 1. William Reginald is the family butler. Charlie had worked for the family for the past ten years.

The Draconi Family…
…founded Cloudburst Falls. Victor Draconi is the psychopathic head of the family and the sworn enemy of the Sinclairs. Blake is the family bruiser. Deah is Victor's daughter and Lila's cousin; she has mimic magic and is in love with Felix. Seleste Sterling Draconi is Victor's second wife with foresight and strength Talent.

The Volkov Family
Nikolai Volkov is the head of the family. Katia had become addicted to power and killed to get it in Dark Heart of Magic , 2.

The Ito Family
Poppy is a friend and in training to become the family broker. Her father, Hiroshi, is the head of the family.

The Salazar Family
Julio wants a re-match at the next Tournament of Blades. Roberto is the head of the family.

Bloodiron is a metal that can store, absorb, or transfer magic. Pixies like to keep house, cook, clean, etc., in exchange for a safe place to stay. Tree trolls like chocolate. The lochness patrols his bridge and expects toll to be paid. Copper crushers are one of the worst monsters with their venom and crushing strength.

A family Bruiser is the second-in-command and responsible for defense. A family Broker handles the finances. A family Butler oversees the house and everyone in it.

The Cover and Title
The cover is a bright purple violet with swirls and lightning. Lila is on a long, narrow bridge, slashing away with tentacles rising up from the foamy light blue water. The author's name is in the same light blue and embossed at the top. The title is an embossed white and blazes across the bottom half. Series information is in a tiny yellow just above the tentacles on the left side.

The title is what Lila experiences, a Bright Blaze of Magic.
Profile Image for Siobhan Davis.
Author 117 books8,071 followers
March 21, 2016
Enthralling, engrossing read that had me riveted from page one.

I am almost embarrassed to admit that this is my first Jennifer Estep book. It sure as hell won't be the last. When I got approved for this on Netgalley I fully intended on reading the first two books in the series, but I just didn't have time. I worried that I wouldn't be able to follow the story but major kudos to the author for skillfully blending reminders of what had happened previously, along with detailed explanations of the setting and plot which ensured I seamlessly picked up on the story. That said, I really want to read them now! I want to see how Devon and Lila's relationship developed from their first encounter.

I adore the world building. Wow, so imaginative and creative, and totally immersive. So many different magical creatures. I also loved the sword-fighting battles and duel to the death.

I loved Lila and Devon, and indeed Felix and Deah too. Lila was a fantastic heroine. Gutsy, brave, very kick-ass, but she had a strong moral and emotional compass too. Well-rounded characterization overall. Devon was swoon-worthy in the extreme. I loved how he let Lila lead, and let her protect him. He was secure enough in his masculinity to allow her take center stage. It was so refreshing.

The romance was a little light for me, but that's just personal preference. I love the romance arc to occupy a bigger chunk of the plot.

The story surrounding the family conflict was well written and there were plenty of action scenes and life-threatening moments that propelled the plot forward.

The writing was superb, pacing consistent for the most part (were a few scenes I felt dragged and/or were overly detailed that I skimmed) and the worldbuilding was complex but solidly developed.

All in all, this was a fantastic read, and I look forward to checking out more of this author's work in the future.

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. This review will appear on my blog in due course. http://myyanabookobsession.com
Profile Image for BookAddict  ✒ La Crimson Femme.
6,668 reviews1,283 followers
August 2, 2016
Third book in this series ends in an adrenaline pumping conclusion. Lila is working secretly to destabilize Victor Draconi's plan to take over all the families. With the help of the other Sinclairs and secret relatives, she is so close in completing her mission. This story moves at a fast pace as Lila's past with the Sinclairs and Draconi are revealed. It seems that history is about to repeat itself and Victor will not be a happy man.

This story is filled with ruthless killing and families torn apart. The black and white in this story as far as good versus bad is interesting because the Draconi believe people are either with them or against them. No one is allowed to sit on the fence. When there are those who do not want to be involved or are torn between family and what they feel is right, where do these people fall? They are what Ms. Estep likes to call, collateral damage.

The guerilla warfare tale with Lila leading her team of rebel fighters contains all the hallmarks of a great young adult tale. There is an underdog hero, a quest, a love interest and a wicked overlord to overthrow. Throw in the murdered parents, star-crossed lovers and betrayal, what does this series not contain? It does not contain enough about the different creature. Whilst I enjoyed Lila and her fighting on the side of right, what I really liked was all the different creatures in this world. I wish to learn more about them. It is as if Ms. Estep hints at this hidden world filled with mystery and deeper meaning, but she whisks it away before we can learn more. Frankly, I could care less about the humans. I want to learn about the so called monster in the river. I want to know more about the different creatures that go bump in the night. Will Lila be the creature whisperer?

Overall, this story is well written and transports a reader into a dark alternate reality. This magical book is recommended for young-adult readers who enjoy strong female characters who do the right thing.

*provided by NetGalley
Profile Image for Mlpmom (Book Reviewer).
3,001 reviews369 followers
April 7, 2016
Is it ever easy saying goodbye to a series, to its characters that you have come to know, love, and even call friends?

No matter how exciting it is to get to that last book, to see it all come together, and come to an end, it is always bittersweet as well.

This last installment did not disappoint. I completely loved it and it stuck to the feel of the other books, both plot wise and character wise. And I have to give a big woo hoo for the Pork Pit shout out in it, I totally loved it and it made me grin like an idiot.

Estep knows how to write and how to end her series. I never worry about what will happen because I just know it will be all for the best and do the whole series justice.

I have absolutely adored this series from the first book and am so happy with the way it all came together for Lila, Devon, Felix and the lot of them. This was such a fun series and as sad as I am that it is all over, I'm also left very satisfied with it too and really, you can't ask for more than that.

*ARC copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
Profile Image for ✿~Danielle~✿.
4,158 reviews13 followers
July 27, 2016
Lila Merriweather

4 stars

Listen May 2016

Bad Things Always Come In Threes…

As a thief, I'm good at three things: hiding in the shadows, getting in and out unseen, and uncovering secrets. I put these skills to work for the Sinclair Family, one of the magical mobs that run the tourist town of Cloudburst Falls.

Everyone knows Victor Draconi wants to take over all the other Families--and kill every last Sinclair. What they don't know is that I'm on to him, and no way will I let the man who murdered my mom get away with hurting all the other people I care about. Especially when I've got places to break into, stuff to steal, and Devon Sinclair fighting right by my side…
Profile Image for Juli.
426 reviews17 followers
January 21, 2017
"Die helle Flamme der Magie" ist Jennifer Esteps dritter und letzter Band ihrer "Black Blade" Jugendbuch-Fantasy Triogie. Wie auch bereits die Vorgänger konnte mich auch das letzte Buch über Lila Merriweather begeistern. Was heißt begeistern? Jennifer Estep hat es erneut geschafft mich vollends zu verzaubern. Sie schafft es mit jedem ihrer Bücher mit in ihre Welt zu ziehen, mich in ihre Charaktere zu verlieben, jede einzelne Zeile aufzusaugen und die Zeit zu vergessen. Bereits ihrer erste Jugendbuch Reihe "Mythos Academy" hatte diese fantastische Sog-und Suchtwirkung. Natürlich steigert diese Faszination, an Jennifer Esteps Büchern, die Erwartungshaltung ins Unermässliche und legt die Messlatte für ihre Neuerscheinungen unendlich hoch. Gerade aus diesem Grund ist es unglaublich, unfassbar, dass die Autorin auch mit diesem Buch wieder voll und ganz überzeugen und meinen Lesegeschmack treffen konnte.

Die 17-jährige Lila Merriweather konnte sich gleich von der ersten Zeile in mein Herzchen stehlen. Lila hat sich aufgrund ihrer düsteren, absolut unrosigen Vergangenheit hinter einer Mauer aus Schlagfertigkeit, Selbstironie, Arroganz, Zweifeln versteckt und ihr einziger Gedanke hat der Rache gegolten. Aber mit und mit kommen ihre wahren Gefühle der Einsamkeit, und das Sehnen nach Freundschaft, Liebe und Anerkennung ans Licht. Lila wird weich, ihre Freundschaft zur Familie Sinclair lässt sie emotional werden, verleiht ihr aber auch mehr Stärke, da Menschen hinter ihr stehen, die sie lieben, unterstützen und auffangen können. Besonders ihre tiefgehenden Gefühle zu Devon Sinclair, zu dem sie sich bereits in Band 1 hingezogen fühlt, lassen jedes Romantikerherzchen schneller schlagen. Aber genau diese Verletzlichkeit lässt sie absolut menschlich erschienen und genau aufgrunddessen muss man sich als Leser auf jeden Fall in sie als Protagonistin verlieben.

Jennifer Esteps Schreibstil ist grandios kreativ und super flüssig, perfekt geeignet zum Inhalieren der seiten. Diese faszinierende, vor Kreativität sprühende, magische Welt von ihr, sollte man sich nicht entgehen lassen und so schnell wie möglich in sie eintauchen. Ich bin mal wieder hin und weg, vollkommen verzaubert und extrem süchtig und verliebt und klebe förmlich an jeder einzelnen, verfassten Zeile. Diese Reihe hat einfach alles: Spannung, Kreativität, Magie, Witz, Romantik, einen grandiosen Schreibstil und zum Verlieben geeignete Charaktere. Jennifer gehört mittlerweile zu meinen absoluten Lieblingsautorinnen. Jedes Buch aus ihrer Feder kann und konnte mich überzeugen und ich hibbel jeder ihrer Neuerscheinungen entgegen. Falls ihr noch keines ihrer Bücher gelesen haben sollte, kann ich euch wirklich nur ans Herz legen, dies nach zu holen. Falls ihr eher Romantasy-Leserinnen seid, dann versucht es doch mal mit Jennifer Esteps "Elemental Assassins" Reihe. Mit "Die helle Flamme der Magie" hat die wundervolle Autorin auf jeden Fall einen grandios-runden Abschluss dieser herzerwärmenden Jugendbuch-Trilogie geschaffen.
Profile Image for Steffi au Penguinbooks.
320 reviews63 followers
March 19, 2017
"Bad things always comes in threes"

At the beginning of Bright Blaze of Magic I was sooo sure this was going to be a 5 star. The story started around two weeks after the events of book two, with the typical funny trio Lila, Devon and Felix. The story pace was so fast, and after only 30 pages the story had his first pang and I was sitting on the edge of my seat, eager to read and read and read .... but then, the story got kind of ... stupid.

Yep, stupid. Lila (and Deah) acted like total idiots, Lila thought she was the saviour of all of them, Devon did act like a super understanding boyfriend and so on. I mean, this is a book about mafia families with swords and magic. It would have been better if they finally showed how powerful they could be, but well ...
Further, at the end Lila was too overpowered. I'm used to teenagers, who save the world on their own (Shadowhunters) but this ... ugh. Accordingly, the ending was not my type.

Nevertheless, I really did like the books a lot, and despite of my critics, I still liked the conclusion of the story.

4.5 stars
Profile Image for Ivy.
1,462 reviews76 followers
May 3, 2019
5 stars

Glad that Lila was able to stop Victor Draconi. Wish there was more about Lila's father though. Sad about all the people that died. Happy that Deah and Seleste joined the Sinclair's. Hope everyone will do well as one family.

Can't wait to read more Jennifer Estep books!!!!
Profile Image for Miranda.
738 reviews111 followers
April 26, 2016
Now, that is how you wrap up a series!

I always have really high expectations for the final book in a series, and I am so happy that this book lived up to my expectations. The small issues I had with the previous books were either resolved or nonexistent in this book. I honestly don't have anything to complain about. I loved everything about this book.

I think my favorite thing about this book was the nonstop action. There was always something going on that had me on the edge of my seat. This book was thrilling! Jennifer's action scenes were so detailed that I could clearly picture each moment in my head, which I sometimes have a hard time doing. Jennifer's writing skills really shined in this book.

The characters were as awesome as always. I grew attached to a lot of the characters in the previous books, and I loved being reunited with them. Devon, Lila, Felix, and Deah are definitely my favorite characters from this series. They are all so unique and they each add something special to this series. Lila definitely was my favorite character. Lila was kind, loyal, funny, strong, resourceful, and so much more. I loved how she could stand up for herself and she didn't need anyone to rescue her. She had people who supported her and helped her, but she was never a damsel in distress.

The romances in this book were perfect. I loved all of the couples, and I ship them so hard. None of the couples had insta-love. Each romance developed at a slow and believable pace. The romantic gestures and dialogue all felt real and so sweet. I can't properly put into words how much I adored the couples in this book and series.

This book was a thrilling and action packed adventure. With touches of romance, humor, and mystery, there was nothing else I could have asked for from this book. This book will not let fans of this series down!

5 / 5 Fangs

*This ebook was given to me in exchange for a honest review. *

MrsLeif's Two Fangs About It

Profile Image for Sunny.
1,427 reviews
May 18, 2017
ARC Review 3.5 stars
Bright Blaze of Magic is the third book in the Black Blade trilogy.

Victor Draconi is taunting the ruling families of Cloudburst Falls. He has been collecting magic infused black blades to employ during a takeover of the city. The only family taking a stand is the Sinclair family. Soon there is a old fashioned ambush, must like what you might see in a gangster movie. People are killed, captured and tortured. Lila and Devon escape, along with Felix, and meet up with Deah. They plot to rescue the captives.

Tailored for a YA audience, Jennifer Estep brings us all our favorite elements to this story. There is lots of action, tests of loyalty and scary confrontations. Bright Blaze of Magic puts a nice cap on the Black Blade trilogy. The villain is evil. Victor aptly shows his depravity and the depth of his powers. Allies gather together to take him down. Lila and Devon solidify their relationship.

My favorite part of the story is the encounter with the loch ness. It speaks to Lila's history. The loch ness has been keeping all the tolls that both Lila and her mother have paid over the years. It acknowledges a mutual respect between monster and Lila. It's a connection between Lila and her mother. It's a small scene but filled with wistfulness and revelations.

In A Nutshell:
I think this is a great series for the YA set that is looking for action and adventures, but not in a dystopian world with a dash of romance.

Originally posted at Love Affair with an E-Reader

Profile Image for AH.
2,005 reviews370 followers
April 27, 2016
Bright Blaze of Magic is the 3rd book in Jennifer Estep's new series Black Blade. The series takes place in Cloud Falls, a magical town not far from Ashland. In fact, for those familiar with Estep's Elemental Assassins series, there are a few little shout outs to Gin's restaurant.

The story is told from the point of view of Lila, a thief with some very useful magical talents. Lila works for the Sinclair family. Cloud Falls is run by various mob families, the Sinclairs and the Draconis being the dominant families. And what a town it is. There's a midway for the rubes (or tourists) guarded by the families because off the beaten tracks are all sorts of magical monsters.

I've enjoyed Ms. Estep's writing style for a few years now. I read each new book with anticipation. A word of warning - don't read her books when you are hungry. Her descriptions of food make my mouth water.

SOS Bookshelf Bingo R13 - Urban Fantasy Shelf

Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Books for a review copy of this book
Profile Image for Tori.
2,815 reviews477 followers
May 5, 2016
Originally posted at http://smexybooks.com/2016/04/review-...

Favorite Quote: “Monsters are your friends, never forget that.”

Lila Merriweather is now a full-fledged member of the Sinclair Family and has discovered her relationship to the Draconi’s. Determined to stop Victor Draconi from killing the Sinclairs and other families in order to take over as the ruling family of Cloudburst Falls, Lila, along with friends, has been slowly working behind the scenes to keep that from becoming a reality. When the scions of the various families are kidnapped and held for ransom, Lila will have to use everything in her arsenal to save the young man and the people she has come to love.

Bright Blaze of Magic is the third and final installment in Estep’s YA based urban fantasy trilogy. Our heroine, Lila Merriweather has gone from an orphaned loner to a girl with a family, a boyfriend, and a mission to avenge her parent’s death. Estep has done an admirable job of leading us to this point; setting up the plotlines, slowly allowing her heroine to grow, and making sure readers have all the information needed as she starts this book off with a bang and give us a respectable ending.

Steady pacing, engaging dialogue, and action-packed scenes kept this reader entertained as Estep revisits the most magical place on Earth for the final showdown. I enjoyed seeing Lila finally settle into her role and accept the bounty she originally rejected. The storyline is pretty straightforward without any real surprises or plot twists. The foreshadowing is laid on with a heavy hand. As I stated earlier, Estep pretty much tells us what is going to happen in book two and in here we see how it plays out. Punches aren’t pulled as Estep stays true to her heroine, allowing her to learn with each new hurdle she is forced to jump though there is no doubt at all Lila will prevail.

The cast of secondary characters continues to entertain and add to the anticipation of the story. Everyone puts aside their differences in a great show of solidarity for the common good. Lila gets help from the most unexpected places as she prepares for the coming battle through I was a little disappointed by everyone’s obvious regulation to minor supporting roles.These characters have lived and trained for the fighting and skirmishes between their families yet they all back down and place their future in the hands of a seventeen-year-old. I was expecting more from them. I was also disappointed with the development of Victor Draconi. He didn’t live up to his hype from the previous books. We are informed this is an evil black-hearted villain yet for all his posturing he was nothing more than a mashup of ridiculous threats and loosely plotted avenues of destruction.

Estep tightens up all the loose ends and wraps everything up in a fight to the death that resolves the main conflict but leaves some small openings that could spell more visits to CloudBurst in the future. Overall I did enjoy this series though it is definitely geared towards a younger reader. I recommend it for all readers who enjoys an adventurous YA Urban Fantasy with a lightweight world filled with magic, and a strong relatable female protagonist for readers to cheer for.

Profile Image for Melliane.
2,023 reviews340 followers
April 26, 2016
Mon avis en Français

My English review

I really had fun while discovering the first two volumes and it is true that I was really looking forward to be able to immerse myself in this third one. I can also tell you that I was completely carried away by all what the author has presented! A great volume again.
We thus find our heroine launched on new adventures and I must say that it will take her courage because she will literally see all the colors!

Indeed, it seems that Victor has finally decided to hit hard to take the lead of all families. Fortunately for them, our heroes had anticipated this attack to limit the effects but it does not change the terrible consequences that will occur. It was fascinating to see our heroes coming together to try to save their friends, and it will not be easy, that’s for sure. Lila will be the brain of the group and the main target of the Draconi with Devon. I was really excited to see how everything would unfold, how our heroes would be able to get by, to understand the designs of Victor, to see how Lila would be able to release all these people she loves. Many important events are presented here and I admit that what intrigued me most was the interaction of our heroine with the monsters of her city. It’s quite touching to see the confidence she has in them, to see that she knows them better than anyone and finally that they can also be there for her. It really is a very good novel!

I do not know if this volume is the last one, but if this is the case the author has perfectly managed to close her history, even if it’s true that I’d really love to have more. I was carried away from the start of the volume and that until the end! I must say that we are immersed quickly into the action and we look forward to the resolution of the story. Lila has also evolved tremendously through the books and it’s true that it’s nice to see that, her being part of something and to have friends who rely on her and on which she can count on too. Her story with Devon is also very touching!

As I said, I had once again a great time. If you do not know the series, I can only advise you to try, you will be carried away by this unusual story, these characters we love and this evil that we hope to see disappear! It rocks!
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