The Edge lies between worlds, on the border between the Broken, where people shop at Walmart and magic is a fairytale–and the Weird, where blueblood aristocrats rule, changelings roam, and the strength of your magic can change your destiny…
Cerise Mar and her unruly clan are cash poor but land rich, claiming a large swathe of the Mire, the Edge swamplands between the state of Louisiana and the Weird. When her parents vanish, her clan’s long-time rivals are suspect number one.
But all is not as it seems. Two nations of the Weird are waging a cold war fought by feint and espionage, and their conflict is about to spill over into the Edge—and Cerise’s life . William, a changeling soldier who left behind the politics of the Weird, has been forced back into service to track down a rival nation’s spymaster.
When William’s and Cerise’s missions lead them to cross paths, sparks fly—but they’ll have to work together if they want to succeed…and survive.
I cannot believe I’ve never written a review for this.
But as I sit here and try to think of how to quantify my feels about this book with words… I kind of can understand why I have not.
I adored On the Edge. Declan and Rose were fantastic. George and Jack wormed their way into my heart and made me love them. The world – as to be expected from Ilona Andrews – was amazing, fun, and scary. I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel getting away from them so completely. Sure, I’d met William in that book and liked him well enough, but still. Fortunately, for me, these authors know how to pull me along in a story.
William. What can I say about William? He’s such an amazing character. He’s been used and abused for the majority of his life, and while he does have some self-pity about it he’s mostly just trying to forge his own life. He separated himself from everything that was painful in the past and – when we start the book – he’s living on his own terms. He wants, more than anything, family and love. He doesn’t think they’re for him because he’s been abandoned so frequently, but he still yearns for them. That, along with his absolute loyalty and protective drive, made me love him. How he grew to be the man he is – honorable, kind, compassionate – with his upbringing, blows my mind.
“If you let him, he’ll love you forever and he won’t know how to let go. Make sure you truly want him before you take that plunge.”
If there’s one thing you need to know about Ilona Andrews it’s that they write kick-ass heroines. Cerise is no exception. She’s well trained, determined, loyal, and absolutely willing to be the shield and the sword that her family needs of her. She has the responsibility of her entire large clan depending on her, and even when it’s too much she never shrugs it off. Unlike William, Cerise grew up with love. The Mars family may be poor, may be called Rats, but there’s genuine care and loyalty between them.
Unlike most of Ilona Andrews other books and series this series falls more firmly on the romance side of the genre labels. It still has amazingly strong world-building, and fantastic action plots, but the romance is definitely front and center, with a different couple in each book, and their relationship/courtship being one of the main threads throughout. What’s awesome is that you get the best of Urban Fantasy and the best of Romance all rolled into one book.
William and Cerise are amazing on their own. I loved them for themselves. But you put them together and they blew my mind. Their interactions are so much fun, and their reactions to each other are priceless. I love that William has no games to play. What he feels is absolute. I really appreciated that Cerise didn’t use that against him. She played no games with him either.
Everything he thought registered on his face. His wife would have no guesswork. If he was sad, she’d know. If he wanted sex, she’d know. If he wanted another woman, she’d know, too. He wasn’t capable of lying, even if he wanted to.
Though I’m a big advocate of reading series in order, you don’t have to have read On the Edge prior to picking up this book. There’s very little crossover, and it mostly come at the end. If you have read it (and it’s worth reading!) you’ll remember that just outside our world (which is called the Broken – for its lack of magic), there’s the Edge, and on the other side of that is the Weird. Why the citizens their call their world the Weird, I’m not quite sure, but they do.
In the Edge there’s a mix of the magic from the Weird, and the lack of magic from the Broken. Electricity works there, so do curses. If you’re lucky you can travel between the realms, but it’s going to hurt like hell going through the border. And if you have too much magic – or too little – the crossing could kill you.
I like to think of the Weird and the Broken as cosmic balances for each other. Our history, in the Broken, is flipped almost exactly on its head in the Weird. There are parallels, but things are also very, very different. In their counterpart to North America, there are two main Dukedoms that have long been involved in a cold war. Instead of going to war outright – and destroying both of themselves – they throw spies at each other. Adrianglia has the Mirror. The Dukedom of Louisiana has the Hand. While the Mirror prefers their gadgets and magic weapons, the Hand prefers toalter their people. And they come up with some grotesque, but dangerous, alterations.
And here’s where things get interesting. The Hand has agents in the Mire (a part of the Edge) looking for something, a weapon that will be devastating to the war between Adrianglia and Louisiana. The leader of the Hand’s agents is a man that’s now called Spider. No one the Mirror has thrown against him has come back alive. No one has gotten close to taking him out, except one man. William. So when the Mirror shows up, dangling that bit of unfinished business in front of William, he can’t refuse.
He didn’t expect to run full-on into an eighty-year feud – at the center of this whole mess – with Cerise standing in the middle of the storm.
“Who’s your friend?”
“His name is William. He’s from the Weird. I found him in the swamp and he followed me home.”
“Did you feed him?”
“There’s your mistake. That will do it every time.”
I see, from my notes, that I enjoyed the scenes with Spider (in his POV) the first time I read it, but I have to admit that this time I just wasn’t in the mood – I skimmed and skipped the majority of those parts. He’s a sociopath. Completely sane, actually, but evil. And Spider believes that he’s doing good for his country. I’m reminded of a quote from Shadowfever: “Evil is bad that believes it’s good.
While I didn’t enjoy these sections as much this time through, it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the novel one bit.
“The world is full of monsters. I chose to become one, so the rest of my country-men can sleep peacefully in their beds, knowing that their families are shielded by the likes of me.”
William, Cerise, her large, crazy family, the action, the suspense, intrigue and magic mystery had me absolutely enamoured – all over again.
I loved the little bit of a visit we get with George and Jack near the end of the book, and the epilogue just made me grin and fist-pump. I love that Cerise doesn’t lose any of her badass-ness because she’s mated. She’s just as strong, just as kick-ass.
I can’t wait to dive into the next book. This is my first re-read of this series, and I’m finding that I don’t remember much, so it’s a little like reading again for the first time. I love it.
“Fuck easy, Ceri. If you love him, fight for him. Nothing worth keeping is free in this world.”