Blood Heir by Ilona Andrews (Aurelia Ryder #1)
Atlanta was always a dangerous city. Now, as waves of magic and technology compete for supremacy, it's a place caught in a slow apocalypse, where monsters spawn among the crumbling skyscrapers and supernatural factions struggle for power and survival.
Eight years ago, Julie Lennart left Atlanta to find out who she was. Now she's back with a new face, a new magic, and a new name-Aurelia Ryder-drawn by the urgent need to protect the family she left behind. An ancient power is stalking her adopted mother, Kate Daniels, an enemy unlike any other, and a string of horrifying murders is its opening gambit.
If Aurelia's true identity is discovered, those closest to her will die. So her plan is simple: get in, solve the murders, prevent the prophecy from being fulfilled, and get out without being recognized. She expected danger, but she never anticipated that the only man she'd ever loved could threaten everything.
One small misstep could lead to disaster. But for Aurelia, facing disaster is easy; it's relationships that are hard.
TITLE: Blood Heir
AUTHOR: Ilona Andrews
PUBLISHER: Nancy Yost Literary Agency, Inc
LENGTH: 359 pages
Queer Rep Summary: Gay/Achillean Secondary Character(s).
BLOOD HEIR is set in the same world as the Kate Daniels books, and serves as both a sort of sequel and as a new story which can be enjoyed by readers who are unfamiliar with the earlier book. It has its own story with Julie, renamed Aurelia Ryder after she left Atlanta at the conclusion of the earlier series. One of the draws to this book is that it continues a world readers will already know, but there have been a lot of changes in Julie as a person and in Atlanta as a city so this is very approachable for new readers.
Aurelia returns to Atlanta after a long absence, magically changed and now (hopefully) unrecognizable to those who knew her before as Kate and Curran's ward. At the word of a Witch Oracle she's trying to avert a prophecy which promises terrible things for the people she loves. In addition to her powers as a sensate, Aurelia has magic learned from her (sort of) grandparents and years of physical training to back it up.
The worldbuilding does a good job of explaining things that are relevant for Aurelia, without getting bogged down in the tangled mass of relationships and events which were established in the earlier series. It presents people as they matter to Aurelia, not necessarily commenting on whatever role they played before unless it becomes relevant. This means that characters like Conrad, Derek, and Asciano (who play important roles) get far more attention than even Kate, since she's far away and needs to stay there long enough for Aurelia to make a difference.
The main plot is a combination of a murder mystery and mind games while Aurelia tries to solve the murder of a pastor who ministered to the poor in the city. Atlanta has become a much harsher place in recent years, not that it was particularly kind when Julie was a child.
A good follow-up to Kate Daniels, I'm hopeful that this will be the start of a great new series.
Graphic/Explicit CW for fire/fire injury, blood, gore, violence, body horror, injury detail, death.
Moderate CW for kidnapping, child abuse, medical content, torture.
Minor CW for ableist language, mental illness, drug use, alcohol, excrement, vomit, rape, child death, parental death.