Updated: Aug 15, 2020
The husband/wife pair known as Ilona Andrews are among my favorite storytellers. I started with the Innkeeper Chronicles and then went on to read the Kate Daniels Series and Hidden Edge Series. My thoughts on all three series are here and you can learn everything there is to know about Ilona Andrews at the following site: https://ilona-andrews.com/
"Ilona Andrews is the pseudonym for the husband-and-wife writing team, Gordon and Ilona. The couple are the #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors of Urban Fantasy, Sci Fi, and Paranormal fiction," according to their website ilona-andrews.com. Ilona Andrews has numerous accolades listed on their site to prove that their teamwork has paid off. Ilona Andrews stories at their heart are just a fun read. There is adventure, love, pain, glory, difficult family relationships, conflict, even politics.
All of Ilona Andrews main books feature strong, independent women. These women are far from perfect and, while they have capabilities beyond that of most women, they also have enough vulnerabilities and faults to make them relatable. The characters in these stories - despite their magic abilities - often seem more real to me than characters in other novels. They have bad sides and good sides, faults and vulnerabilities. By the end of the story, you see them as friends that were doing the very best they can under the worst circumstances.
Amid all of the fighting magic monsters, political machinations, familial conflicts, there is always a love story. It is not the central story to the book. There is more to the female character than trying to land her man (or lion or wolf or mage). But, while trying to save the world, they also fall in love. It's not love at first site and both sides hurt each other and have misunderstandings and disagreements but they work through these things to be together. Like the rest of the world, they don't get a happily ever after, but something better and stronger that can handle all the many obstacles that get hurled their way. I will admit my personal preference is for books that have at least a bit of a love interest woven into the story and Ilona Andrews does not disappoint. That being said, if the love story was removed, you would still have great stories. The romance adds to the stories but its not central to the books.
The characters and action make the story. The Innkeeper Chronicles focus on three siblings and how they move on with their lives after the disappearance of their parents. Dina is the first sibling you are introduced to but it doesn't take long for her brother, Klaus, and her sister, Maud, to get woven into the stories and Maud took lead in the latest novel released. These stories take you from a small town in Texas to other dimensions with werewolves and other worlds that are ruled by vampires. The Hidden Legacy novels also focus on a family unit dealing with the loss of a parent, in this case the father. The women of this family are its strength and backbone. They keep the family afloat financially and keep it together emotionally. Finally, the Kate Daniels Series, based in a futuristic, nearly apocalyptic Atlanta, also features a strong female lead overcome the death of the only father figures in her life and the new family she builds while taking on a lot of seriously weird and crazy monsters.
All of these stories are woven together seamlessly by Ilona Andrews. Like many great story tellers, Ilona Andrews also touch on political and moral issues without beating you over the head with a lesson. At the end of the day, they don't lose site of the goal--to tell a great a story. I'm happy to say that there are still many books that I have yet to read and hopefully many more on the way by this great husband/wife team.
At the time I'm writing this, I've read three Ilona Andrews series: Innkeeper Chronicles Series, Hidden Legacy Series, and the Kate Daniels Series. Ilona Andrews description of each series and the series order are below. The Innkeeper Chronicles is the series I started with as the unique premise of the story caught my eye while browsing the public library. It was all downhill after that. I was hooked and started seeking out Ilona Andrews at the library, my favorite used bookstore (McKays in Manassas, VA), and of course on Amazon for my Kindle.
Innkeeper Chronicles Series
Book 1: Clean Sweep (Dina)
Book 2: Sweep in Peace (Dina)
Book 3: One Fell Sweep (Dina)
Book 3.5: Sweep with Me (Dina)
Book 4: Sweep of the Blade (Maud)
Welcome to Gertrude Hunt, a quaint Victorian Bed and Breakfast in a small Texas town. Your innkeeper, Dina Demille, will see to your every need. No matter what accommodations you require, the inn will oblige. Physics are not an issue for us. Rest assured that your safety is our first priority.
If you encounter Caldenia ka ret Magren on the grounds, do not be alarmed. Her Grace has retired from Galactic tyranny and is enjoying a permanent vacation at our inn. Please do not feed the dog. Also, if you meet vampire knights, please refrain from offering them coffee. It is best for everyone involved.
Enjoy yourselves, relax, and above all, remember the one rule all visitors must abide by: the humans must never know.
Hidden Legacy Series
Book 1: Burn for Me (Nevada)
Book 2: White Hot (Nevada)
Book 3: Wildfire (Nevada)
Book 3.5: Diamond Fire (Catalina)
Book 4: Sapphire Flames (Catalina)
Book 5: Emerald Blaze (Catalina)
Short Story: A Misunderstanding (Arabella) - available on author site (see link below)
The world is ruled by magical dynasties, powerful Houses, who marry for magic, maintain private armies, and own global corporations. Ruthless and cunning, like the aristocratic families of Medici or Tudors, Houses unleash devastating magic on their opponents. They spawn tornadoes, breathe life into constructs, and exhale torrents of fire.
In this world, in the city of Houston, lives the Baylor family. Three sisters, Nevada, Catalina, and Arabella, their two cousins adopted into the family, Bernard and Leon, their veteran mother Penelope, and their Grandma Frida. Together they run Baylor Investigative Agency, except for Grandma Frida who has her own business fixing mobile artillery for Houston’s magical elite. The Hidden Legacy chronicles their lives, relationship, and adventures.
Kate Daniels Series
Book .5: Small Magics
Book 1: Magic Bites
Book 2: Magic Burns
Book 3: Magic Strikes
Book 4: Magic Bleeds
Book 5: Magic Slays
Book 6: Magic Rises
Book 7: Magic Breaks
Book 8: Magic Shifts
Book 9: Magic Binds
Book 10: Magic Triumphs
Short Stories: Multiple available on author site (see link below)
The world has suffered a magic apocalypse. It comes in waves, without warning, and vanishes as suddenly as it appears. When magic is up, planes drop out of the sky, cars stall, and electricity dies. When magic is down, guns work and spells fail.
Magic waves feed on technology, gnawing down skyscrapers to skeletal husks. Monsters prowl the ruined streets, shapeshifters stalk their prey; and the Masters of the Dead, necromancers driven by their thirst of knowledge and wealth, pilot blood-crazed vampires with their minds.
In this world lives Kate Daniels. Kate likes her sword a little too much and has a hard time controlling her mouth. The magic in her blood makes her a target, and she spent most of her life hiding in plain sight. But sometimes even trained killers make friends and fall in love, and when the universe tries to kick them in the face, they kick back.