Bright Blaze of Magic (Black Blade #3)
by Jennifer Estep
Release Date: April 26th 2016
Rate: 4 stars
“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”
“Her frosty power blasted over me in intesnse waves, making me wince, but almost immediately it congealed into an even stronger cold, one that roared through my body like an icy fire.”
“Sincerity shines in his green eyes, along with absolute certainty that we could rescue the others and not get captured or killed ourselves. It was a certainty I didn’t feel and a confidence-a trust-I didn’t deserve.”
Twenty minutes later, we reached the edge of the trees, crouched down, and peered at the structure before us. Technically, it was a mansion, although the gleaming white stone and architecture made it look more like a castle. Tall, skinny, diamond-paned windows. White trellises with red roses winding up through the slats. Towers topped with red flags bearing the Draconi Family crest of a snarling gold dragon. Everything about the castle made it seem as though it had been dropped on top of the mountain right out of a fairy tale. But there were no happy endings here—just danger, despair, and misery.
Devon, Felix, and I had been sneaking over here every night for the past two weeks on our thieves’ errand, and we fell into our usual routine of watching the guards patrolling the grounds. It was almost full dark now, and Devon and Felix were both wearing black cloaks to help them blend into the shadows. I sported my mom’s long, sapphire-blue trench coat, made out of spidersilk that also helped me melt into the growing blackness.
The Draconi guards were dressed in black boots, pants, and shirts, along with blood-red cloaks and matching feathered cavalier hats, making them look like extras from a Three Musketeers movie. But they were much more dangerous than that. All of the guards had their hands on the swords belted to their hips, looking for intruders, as well as keeping an eye out for any monsters that might be creeping up on them. Many an inattentive guard had been snatched by a copper crusher and dragged into the forest, unlucky enough to be the oversize, venomous snake’s dinner date.
“Are we good?” Felix asked, checking his phone. “It’s almost time for us to meet Deah. You know how she worries if we’re even one minute late.”
With good reason. If she was caught helping the enemy, Deah would be executed right along with us, despite the fact that she was Victor’s daughter.
Instead of answering him, I started counting the guards along the perimeter. One, two, three … It didn’t take me long to realize that something was different tonight. Worry shot through me.
“Wait,” I whispered. “There are more guards patrolling tonight.”
Devon frowned and squinted at the compound. “How can you tell?”
“I can see them. Trust me. There are more guards.”
“Can we still take our usual route into the mansion?” he asked in a tense voice, his hand dropping to the duffel bag sitting at his feet. “This is our last trip. If we can get in and out tonight, then we’re done with this.”
“Give me a second to work it out,” I said.
Devon and Felix both fell silent, although they kept looking from me to the guards and back again. I focused on the guards, staring at first one, then another. It took me less than a minute to realize that Victor had only doubled the number of guards, pairing them up in teams of two. I wondered at the change and why he thought he needed so many men up here at the castle, instead of patrolling down on the Midway like usual. But Victor hadn’t altered the guards’ routes, which meant that we could still get into the mansion the same way as before.
“We’re good,” I said. “Text Deah, and tell her that we’re on our way in.”
Felix nodded, his thumbs flying over his phone. A second later, his phone lit up with a message. “Deah says that the coast is clear on her end.”
“Good,” I said. “Follow me.”