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On Vox: On The Edge by Ilona Andrews

Oh this cover! The girl with the red pickup truck and the gun captures the backwoods feel of the setting, but not a fan of the floating head, this would have been perfect without it. I know it's a signal for "this is a romance", but eh, the model is not cute.

The Premise:
Rose Drayton lives in the Edge. The Edge is the place where our world, the Broken, overlaps with the Weird, an alternate dimension where magic is real. The people who live in the Edge are poor, and have to go over to the Broken to make money. They can do small magics, but most of their bloodlines are diluted. So when Rose proves herself to have a remarkable mastery to control her "flash", suddenly the out-for-themselves Edgers will stop at nothing to have Rose, either to enhance their own bloodlines or to sell to the highest bidder. One day, Declan, the Earl of Camarine, a pureblood from the Weird appears at Rose's door.

Excerpt of On The Edge

My Thoughts: This is much more romance focused than the Kate Daniels series and falls under paranormal romance rather than urban fantasy, but the great world building I'm used to is still there. The idea of the different worlds is a really interesting one, sort of a spin on a faerie world we can't see except it's really just down that road there. It's just that only people who have the right bloodlines can see it and walk past the boundary. I'm always a fan of Andrews' detailed world building, because it's so well thought out. Like they've said, "You can build a most fantastic world, if you take care to make it logical and follow its own rules." This is what I always appreciate in an Ilona Andrews' series: a fantastic world that makes sense.

The Edge is like the Wild West. They don't belong in the Broken, where magic doesn't exist, but they aren't part of the Weird either, where pureblood magic families rule. In the Edge, it's everyone for themselves, but families band together. The Edgers are poor, some rather trashy, lawless, and feisty.  There are some real characters living in the Edge, especially with magic thrown in the mix. Rose herself has two younger brothers, Georgie and Jack who exemplify the oddness of the Edge. Georgie is a little necromancer with a soft heart. He resurrects animals he feels sad have died, and their grandfather Cletus (who gets drunk on dog brains). Jack was born a changeling, and like the cat his other half is, is easily distracted by birds and climbing trees.

So Rose has her hands full raising her two brothers because their parents aren't in the picture, but they're good kids (who also bring something to the story). Rose also has to deal with all the people who are after her because of her amazing control over her flash, and when Declan arrives at their door, a pureblood from the Weird who says he will have her, Rose isn't pleased. At first Declan's statements would dismay me. He would often spout some really over-the-top alpha hero stuff, but Andrews manages to fix this for me later on with a viable explanation (thank goodness). Maybe there's also a touch of Pride and Prejudice here: Declan making his remarks and Rose taking offense, thinking that he's the typical blueblood. Rose's circumstances are much lower than Declan's but she's being avidly courted by someone who is obviously a catch. The book takes on a romance feel with Rose's awareness of Declan's appearance (I imagined He-Man) and breeding, and his alpha male assertions that he will get what he wants. On the other hand, Rose is pretty cool, and it makes sense that Declan realizes this. She's a good sister, working hard and going without so that she can buy her brothers those Inu Yasha comics they're obsessed with (Inu Yasha, good choice kids), and she's smart and determined, but just has a hard life where she has to be independent in order to survive.

The paranormal/contemporary fantasy aspects of this story had probably about equal footing as the romance. Creepy rotting creatures in hound like form start terrorizing the Edge, and the mystery of what's going on keeps Declan and Rose busy. The results aren't pretty, but it makes for a great story.

Overall: A paranormal romance with awesome world building and the perfect balance of romance and fantasy. There's more romance in this than the Kate Daniels series, but expect the same fantastic storytelling.

I'm looking forward to reading the second book. This time, William, who was introduced in On The Edge will be the hero.

Buy: Amazon | B&N

Other reviews (all positive)
Angieville - loved it
Literary Escapism - positive review
Book Love Affair - "charmed"
Smexy Books - 5 out of 5 stars
Mardelwanda - "a very satisfying read"
The Book Smugglers - 7 Very good

Other links:
Worlds of the Edge
Ilona Andrews and Ann Aguirre at Babel Clash

Originally posted on janicu.vox.com

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
blodeuedd83
Oct. 8th, 2009 07:51 am (UTC)
Sounds great, nice review. I am so happy I am gonna get it :D
janicu
Oct. 10th, 2009 01:30 pm (UTC)
If you're a fan of this author and like romance, you'd probably be happy with the book :)
mardelwanda
Oct. 8th, 2009 08:44 am (UTC)
I reviewed this also, or rather wrote my thoughts. I don't really REVIEW, as much as just write what I like about the books. I loved this one and hope the second comes out soon. This husband/wife team can sure write a great story, can't they?
janicu
Oct. 10th, 2009 01:28 pm (UTC)
Oh, I did a search in my google reader to find who reviewed it. Sometimes I miss people on my friendslist that way. I'll link you in a moment. :)

They sure can write a great story. I agree!
calico_reaction
Oct. 9th, 2009 08:09 pm (UTC)
So for someone who hasn't read ANY of Andrews's work, where should one start now that she's got two different series?
janicu
Oct. 10th, 2009 01:25 pm (UTC)
Hmm. I would say start with Kate Daniels. Even if you aren't that impressed by the first book, the second is better. Then try this one! :)
(Deleted comment)
janicu
Oct. 12th, 2009 02:28 pm (UTC)
ooo, tell me what you think when you do!
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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