It’s about freaking time!
I mean, Angie and I finished our discussion series of the Kate Daniels series in 2018 with the intention of reviewing the series in entirety. Sadly, life got in the way. In 2020 we decided to finally finish it out, first with Iron and Magic.
What you’ll read below is actually part two. For the complete discussion, please make sure you visit BaBAMB where we discuss our inntial thoughts on Hugh, and whether or not he is, or will be, redeemable.
Trust me, you won’t want to miss it.
*Please be advised that since this is a discussion, there will be spoilers.
Iron & Magic by Ilona Andrews
The Iron Covenant #1
June 22, 2018
About the Book: No day is ordinary in a world where Technology and Magic compete for supremacy…But no matter which force is winning, in the apocalypse, a sword will always work.
Hugh d’Ambray, Preceptor of the Iron Dogs, Warlord of the Builder of Towers, served only one man. Now his immortal, nearly omnipotent master has cast him aside. Hugh is a shadow of the warrior he was, but when he learns that the Iron Dogs, soldiers who would follow him anywhere, are being hunted down and murdered, he must make a choice: to fade away or to be the leader he was born to be. Hugh knows he must carve a new place for himself and his people, but they have no money, no shelter, and no food, and the necromancers are coming. Fast.
Elara Harper is a creature who should not exist. Her enemies call her Abomination; her people call her White Lady. Tasked with their protection, she’s trapped between the magical heavyweights about to collide and plunge the state of Kentucky into a war that humans have no power to stop. Desperate to shield her people and their simple way of life, she would accept help from the devil himself—and Hugh d’Ambray might qualify.
Hugh needs a base, Elara needs soldiers. Both are infamous for betraying their allies, so how can they create a believable alliance to meet the challenge of their enemies?
As the prophet says: “It is better to marry than to burn.”
Hugh and Elara may do both.
If your feelings for Hugh ever changed, what was the turning point?
Angie Elle: This is where things might get interesting with us – there was no turning point. I still don’t like Hugh. But I’ll be honest – I wonder how much of it is an extension of not caring for Elara. I didn’t care for Curran at first, either. (Though I knew I would eventually.) But I loved how dedicated he was to Kate. How he became someone who wasn’t going to leave her no matter what. And I know – they have several books worth of history for me and this is different. This is one book. But it’s not one that really endeared me to either one of them.
Birdie: I love how we deviate here. My feelings for Hugh didn’t change either, for me they felt validated. It isn’t often I feel that sense of compassion for a bad character, and get proved right, lol. There’s a similar character in Outlander, and I was sure he was going to change, but nope. I was the opposite, Hugh and Elara and the way they slowly begin to work together, it sold me on the two of them individually and separately. They aren’t in love yet, but Hugh sees redemption in Elara, and Elara sees how Hugh needs someone to choose to keep him. For me, it was so gorgeously started I’m worried the next book won’t live up to it.
Angie Elle: Oh, yeah. I never saw any good in Hugh in the series. And he solidified that for me when he was talking about how he tried to come on to Kate in an attempt to manipulate her.
What was your first impression of Elara and her people?
Birdie: I was unsure about Elara and her people. It took me some time to warm up to them. Once I did, I really liked them. I’m excited to learn more about Elara.
Angie Elle: Me, too. They were too secretive, and way too cunning when it came to the contract. I didn’t like how Elara manipulated it. It was like a pissing contest with Hugh, and she was cutting off her nose to spite her face. She was putting the safety of her people at risk just to prove a point. I eventually grew to like her people, but I’m still not sold on her.
Birdie: I agree that sometimes she got too frustrated, and it stole her better judgement, but she always came around. However, I’d have to argue that in order to deal business with someone like Hugh, you have to be cunning in the contract. I appreciated the realism of two opposite sides bartering for power.
Angie Elle: I can see how you’d think that if you view her feelings as frustration, but to me it felt more out of spite. But I didn’t feel like the contract was necessarily cunning, it was Elara’s actions after the fact. I felt like she was trying to exercise authority instead of work with Hugh, and it felt like she wasn’t living up to the spirit of the contract, thereby not living up to her word. It left a bad taste in my mouth.
Birdie: To mean that’s nothing new. In this world you have no real idea what you’re signing up for. You don’t know what signing the contract will actually mean for your people. To be in either of their positions they’ve got to be shrewd, then at times both of them were also immature.
The horse lover in me has to ask, Bucky or Brutus?
Birdie: Bucky all the way! Who doesn’t want to ride a unicorn!
Angie Elle: Oh, yeah. Agreed. And they are so on trend right now!
Birdie: Every time Bucky would glow, I’d crack up.
Angie Elle: Also, I will say that while I didn’t quite warm up to Hugh, my heart melted the teensiest tiniest bit between his actions with Bucky and Deidre. But I hope Deidre isn’t going to make a comeback. I feel like it’s too reminiscent of the Julie storyline, and it could feel a bit like a crutch if it’s utilized here. Especially because I feel like Derek was Curran’s Julie. It’s too much in one world for me to find authentic.
Birdie: Hell yes, lmao. If Deidra comes back it’s extremely cliche; she served a very important purpose, and now she needs to be gone.
Do you think Kate’s mom glamoured Voron, or did she set him free?
Birdie: This idea hit me hard in my second read. I’d never questioned the idea that Kate’s mom glamored Voron, but I always wondered why he stayed after she’d passed away. The glamor should have stopped. He stayed. He trained Kate. It makes me feel like there’s more to the story. I can’t think of any proof he was actually glamored.
Angie Elle: This was something I never considered. I don’t know. Maybe it wasn’t that she glamored him; maybe it was simply that he was out from under Roland’s glamor and saw the error of his ways.
Birdie: Yes, exactly. I didn’t think about it the first time, but this time around it hit me. I believe she had a power to glamor, because Kate heard that from multiple people. Then, it’s not a hard jump to imagine perhaps she could end a glamor too. Maybe when she broke Rolands spell on Voron, that’s when they took the opportunity to run so it couldn’t be replaced. It’s possible this will eventually be part of Julie’s story?
Angie Elle: Could be. Which means we know I’m indifferent, because I’m not a Julie fan.
So…The Iron Covenant. Are you in it for the long haul?
Angie Elle: I think so? I have to be honest; if I’m going to commit to a long series (and this is Ilona Andrews, so my expectation is that it will be,) I have to like the major players. I’m not there yet, and while I hope I get there, I’m not convinced. But this is Ilona Andrews, so I have to believe they’ll sell me. Which means I’m in it to win it.
I will say, though, that after the end of Magic Triumphs and Roland (sort of) being defeated, I wonder what the overarching plot will be. I hope there is one, because the author’s are so masterful at that. Also, if I’m eventually going to warm up to Hugh, I think I’m going to have issues with the fact that he wasn’t able to play a bigger part in what happened to Roland. Not in an ‘I’m mad at Magic Triumphs’ sort of way. I’ll just want more for Hugh, I think.
Birdie: That’s an interesting thought. I wonder if I will be too, but on the other hand I kind of like that Hugh takes his power back by supporting Kate and then moving on with his life. I think we’re going to get Elara’s backstory, and then their series will move on with more of the story of the Departed.
Either way, I am 100% committed. I’m in love with this story.
Angie Elle: Fingers crossed we both end up loving it!
Thanks so much for reading!
Stay tuned for our future discussion of Magic Trumphs, the end of the Kate Daniels saga!