Thursday, October 15, 2009

On the Edge by Ilona Andrews

Posted by Simcha 4:36 PM, under | No comments

Ilona Andrews' new fantasy novel, On the Edge , introduces Rose Drayton, a young woman struggling to support herself and her two younger brothers after the death of her mother and the abandonment of her father. Good jobs are hard to come by for an illegal like Rose, who is a native of the Edge; a narrow ribbon of land located between the Weird, a world of magic and the Broken, a magic-less world of electricity and technology.

It doesn’t help matters that Rose’s brothers are not your average children. Eight year old Jack shape-changes into a cat and ten year old Georgie resurrects the dead, a talent that is slowly draining his life away. Rose herself is able to flash white, an ability that she worked hard to perfect and which has caused her no end of trouble. And so when a good looking, blueblood aristocrat from the Weird appears at Rose’s door one day, Rose assumes he is there to try to ensnare her for her flashing power. Although Rose would like nothing better then to send Declan on his way she soon finds herself maneuvered into agreeing to marry him if he successfully accomplished three challenges of her devising.

But a haughty blueblood is not the worst of Rose’s troubles for suddenly the people of the Edge are being attacked by evil, frightening magical creatures called the hounds. Nobody knows where they came from or how to get rid of them. To her dismay, Rose finds herself forced to join forces with Decan in order to fight the hounds and save her family and friends.

Fans of Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series are sure to enjoy this new book with its feisty heroine; lovable, mischievous children; macho, good looking men and interesting world building. The central characters are well developed and engaging. I was reluctant to finish the book because I didn’t want to leave them behind, though I really liked the ending. I also really appreciated the fact that the story was wrapped up in the end, rather then ending with a cliffhanger, forcing readers to wait a year to find out what happens next. While there will be a second book in the series, that story will focus on William, one of Rose’s suitors from On the Edge, and a character I'm eager to learn more about.

There is definitely more of a romantic focus in On the Edge then in the Kate Daniels books, but for me that wasn’t one of the book’s strong points. While I generally enjoy a dash of romance in my books, the story line here reminded me too much of those numerous historical romances in which the female protagonist gets maneuvered into an unpleasant situation against her will (usually marriage) by the good-looking male character but eventually falls under his sway due to all of his wonderful characteristics that were hiding beneath the surface. It always annoys me when this happens in romances and I didn’t like those similarities cropping up in On the Edge, but overall Andrews does manage to carry it off due to the protagonists' strength of character and humor.

Other than that, I really did enjoyed on the Edge and I would certainly recommend it, particularly if you enjoy a strong romantic element in your fantasy.

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