I enjoyed the husband and wife duo that is Ilona Andrews’s Kate Daniels books immensely. I had somehow skipped over The Edge books, perhaps because I saw they were more aimed at YA, but turns out this was a mistake, because they are just as delicious as her Kate Daniels series and her latest, the Hidden Legacy series.
The books are set in a parallel universe where the world contains ‘the Broken’ (the world we currently know, where magic is a fairy tale), the ‘Weird’, where magic exists along with aristocracy and changelings. In between the two there is ‘the Edge’, where the series is set. Inhabitants of the edge can move between worlds, but are also looked down on by those in the Weird, and aren’t known to exist by those in the Broken.
Each book in the series follows a different couple (who often appear in the book before) and has a strong romantic flavour as well as some great urban fantasy tropes. The series also creates a unique world with more unusual ideas (fusing plants and humans?!) combining to create a lively environment for her characters to play in.
The Edge Series #1: On the Edge
The heroine in this book, Rose, is trying to build a better life for her and her brothers. She works in secret to improve her magic, and works a minimum wage job in the Broken to provide for her family. One day a ‘blueblood’ from the Weird appears and says he wants her as a wife – and that he’s prepared to complete three challenges to prove his worthiness.
After several bad experiences, Rose will do anything to dissuade him – until she realises that she’s strongly attracted to him. But at the same time, a terrible danger has appeared in the Broken, threatening not just Rose and her brothers, but the whole of the Edge community. Rose needs to work with Declan to destroy them.
Ilona Andrews’ writing just bubbles off the page into your brain. The characters are vibrant, the chemistry electric, and most of all, the books are funny. Her world building is really strong, and the world is alive and innovative.
At first the whole ‘Declan wants to take Rose back to his cave’ seems a bit suspect – hardly the strong female led romances that Ilona usually writes. But there’s more here than meets the eye, as Declan has his own set of problems. He’s a grower 😉
This book hooked me (and my mum and my sister, as all of us share a kindle) into buying the next three in the series over a few weeks. It’s as addictive as Andrews’ other books, and recommended to anyone who enjoys paranormal romance with a high action content.
The Edge Series Book #2: Bayou Moon
At first I didn’t really take to the heroine in this book, Cerise Mar, though I did love her name and her family. Cerise is a smart fighter who is thrown into taking charge of her sprawling family when her parents are kidnapped in the Edge, a place between a land of magic (the Weird) and a land without (the Broken).
Cerise and her family live in the swamplands of the Mire, where conflict between two nations of the Weird has spilled over and is affecting the Mar family, though Cerise has no idea why. She just wants to get her parents back.
William, an ex-military shapeshifter who first appears in On the Edge, is licking his wounds in a mobile home in the Edge. He is forced back into service due to politics to track down a spymaster who employs dark magic to shape the fate of nations.
William and Cerise meet, and I loved their interactions, and particularly the strength of Cerise as a fighter. Pretty bad ass. I also enjoyed reading William’s shapeshifter point of view, as he has a sometimes alien perspective on the world. Cerise grew on me, and I loved her magic abilities and her sense of family. Her family are a crazy bunch, shaped by the world around them, and are a fantastic group of secondary characters (though a couple of times I lost my way with who was who). The world building continues, this time fusing people with plants (euh) and creating a unique set of characters and abilities (not your usual vampire/shapeshifter mix here). The romance is pretty hot too.