Fate’s Edge by Ilona Andrews

I’m an Ilona Andrews fan girl. I used to think I wasn’t a fan of urban fantasy until I discovered the Kate Daniels series and then the Edge series. Now, I have two urban fantasy installments to look forward to every year. Fate’s Edge is the third book in the Edge series, the first is On the Edge and the second is Bayou Moon. I enjoyed reading both and I’ve been eagerly anticipating the release of Fate’s Edge throughout the months of 2011.

Here’s the summary from Ilona Andrews’ website:

Born to a family of conmen, Audrey Callahan left behind her life in the Edge for an unmagical existence in the Broken. Audrey is determined to stay on the straight and narrow, but when her brother gets into hot water, the former thief takes on one last heist and finds herself matching wits with a jack of all trades.

Kaldar Mar is a gambler, a lawyer, a thief, and a spy with some unusual talents that guarantee him lucrative work. When his latest assignment has him tracking down a stolen item, Kaldar doesn’t expect much of a challenge — until Audrey turns up to give him a run for his money. But when the missing item falls into the hands of a lethal criminal, Kaldar realizes that in order to finish the job and survive, he’s going to need Audrey’s help.

I think it’s great that each of the Edge books focuses on a different romantic pair. That makes it different from the Kate Daniels series and allows readers to get to know more characters. I really liked Kaldar in Bayou Moon and I was thrilled to discover that the next Edge book would be about him. A scoundrel, thief and conman for a leading man? Definitely my kind of character! As I keep saying here on my blog, I love thieves in fiction. In Fate’s Edge, Kaldar is out for revenge – he works for the Mirror, the secret service of Andrianglia because he wants to crush its rival organization, the Hand. Can I just say that the agents of the Hand are really creepy? But they make great enemies and I loved the fight scenes in this book just as much as the ones in the previous installments. Also, yay for secret agents – another type of character that I enjoy in my fiction reads! Kaldar is one smooth operator but he finally meets his match when he encounters Audrey. I thought their first meeting was hilarious. They both recognized each other’s skills right from the start and were trying to outsmart each other. This is how Audrey first describes Kaldar:

“This man was a rogue, not because circumstances forced him to be a criminal but because he was born that way. He was probably conning his mother out of her milk the moment he could grin. He’d charm the clothes off a virgin in twenty minutes. And if the poor fool took him home, he’d drink her dad under the table, beguile her mother, charm her grandparents, and treat the girl to a night she’d never forget. In the morning, her dad would be sick with alcohol poisoning, the good silver would be missing together with the family car, and in a month, both the former virgin and her mother would be expecting.”

It was a lot of fun seeing both of these characters fight their attraction for each other (well, it was mostly Audrey who was fighting it) while working on the case and while supervising their sidekicks: Gaston, George and Jack (younger characters from the other books in the series). I enjoyed all the scenes with George and Jack in them and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we’ll see more of them in the fourth (and last?) book or I’m hoping they’d get their own book. Fate’s Edge shows a deeper side to Kaldar’s character – he’s very loyal to his family and everything that he works for is to improve the lives of the Mars. What I like about Audrey is that she’s also different from the other two Edge heroines, Rose and Cerise, who are both fighters. Audrey’s skills lie in stealth and her magic reflects that. Another interesting aspect of the worldbuilding is how the authors keep on adding details to the world that they started – like how each person’s magic is tied to his or her personality so we get different kinds of magic for each character. I feel like I keep saying this whenever I review an Ilona Andrews but it’s the truth: I will read everything that they write. All of their books are fast-paced, entertaining and full of the kind of banter that I love. If you’re an Ilona Andrews fan, you probably don’t need any encouragement to pick this up. So I’m recommending this to fans of urban fantasy although I suggest that you read the first two books before this – why miss out on the fun?

Other reviews:
Lurv ala Mode
Dear Author
The Book Pushers
Bookyurt

Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews

You all know I’m a huge fan of the Kate Daniels series. I’ve talked about those books several times here on the blog. I love the power couple Ilona Andrews so much that I plan to read all of the books and novellas that they’ve written (and will write in the future). Bayou Moon is a book in the Edge series and the sequel to On the Edge, which I read and loved a few weeks ago. I love that we can now watch out for books from two different series written by these wonderful authors. So glad I was able to grab a copy from Fully Booked for P315 after I called a couple of times to inquire about the book.

Here’s the summary from Ilona Andrews’ website, and you can even read an excerpt there:

The Edge lies between worlds, on the border between the Broken, where people shop at Wal-Mart 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.

William was a pretty interesting secondary character back in On the Edge so I think it’s great that he got to have his own story. At 447 pages, this one is a lot meatier that its predecessor. The first one focused more on the romance while this one is a little darker and a bit grittier. The worldbuilding is just as creative and I like how we’re presented with a different area of the Edge – the Mire. Clans fight in feuds to determine supremacy in a grim and swampy land where they have to eke out their living. Here’s an excerpt early on:

“That had to be the craziest thing he’d heard. At some point they must’ve looked around and said, “Hey, what do we have a shitload of?”
“Mud! It’s cold and wet. I know, let’s burn it!”
“Well, it ain’t good for nothing else.”
What the hell? He supposed if fish could have legs, then mud could burn. Spider or no Spider, if their cats started flying, he would be out of here like a rocket.”

As you can see, there’s plenty of wit and humor in the book. I love how William and Cerise banter and how they enjoy teasing each other. William spent most of his life as a soldier. Because of his nature as a changeling, he was trained from his early years to become a lethal fighting machine. As a result, he has to constantly keep himself in check. Also, he’s been lonely most of his life because he doesn’t have a family. Lo and behold, he meets Cerise and becomes tied up in her family’s business. The Mars are a pretty crazy bunch of people. As evidenced by the cover, Cerise is an excellent swordswoman. She fuses her magic with her sword so she has a unique fighting ability. She’s also smart and funny, definitely my kind of female protagonist! I had a lot of fun reading this book and even though it was pretty thick, the pages just flew by. As expected, there’s nonstop action and adventure for the two main characters. The story is layered with intrigue as William pursues his quest against the creepy spymaster of a rival nation. Spider is a pretty scary villain not just because he’s evil but because he believes he’s doing the best that he could to serve his country.

Another awesome urban fantasy novel from Ilona Andrews – espionage set in an interesting swampy landscape with broken but lovable main characters and distinct secondary characters in the form of the Mars – highly recommended to all fans of the genre. According to the authors’ blog, the next Edge book will be about Kaldar. I’m really looking forward to that because I loved Kaldar’s character in Bayou Moon. Most of you know I’m a fan of reprobates and thieves. 🙂

Other reviews: (manually generated)
Angieville
Janicu’s Book Blog
See Michelle Read
Dear Author
For What It’s Worth

On the Edge by Ilona Andrews

So I’ve pretty much declared my love for the Kate Daniels series multiple times. It’s the kind of love that makes me curious about the rest of husband-and-wife writing team Ilona Andrews’ books. I’ve had a copy of On the Edge for a while (as always, I got it from Fully Booked) but I don’t know why I put off reading it. Maybe I thought I needed some time away from awesomeness? In any case, it was raining hard this past weekend so the weather was perfect for curling up indoors with a good book and I decided to read this one.

Here’s the summary from Ilona Andrew’s website:

Rose Drayton lives on the Edge, between the world of the Broken (where people drive cars, shop at Wal-Mart, and magic is a fairy tale) and the Weird (where blueblood aristocrats rule, changelings roam, and the strength of your magic can change your destiny). Rose thought if she practiced her magic, she could build a better life for herself. But things didn’t turn out how she planned, and now she works a minimum wage, off the books job in the Broken just to survive. Then Declan Camarine, a blueblood noble straight out of the deepest part of the Weird, comes into her life, determined to have her (and her power).

But when a terrible danger invades the Edge from the Weird, a flood of creatures hungry for magic, Declan and Rose must work together to destroy them — or they’ll devour the Edge and everyone in it…

I don’t know why I’m still amazed at the incredible worldbuilding prowess of Ilona and Gordon but I am. I knew that this book is set in a different world but I had no idea that I’d love it just as much as the Kate Daniels world. In this book, there are three worlds: the Weird, the Edge and the Broken. The Broken is pretty much the regular world that we live in, where there’s no magic. The Weird is where magic is in full force while the Edge exists between the two. The people who live on the Edge don’t have much because they lack the best of both worlds. They have magic but not powerful enough as the people in the Weird. They can stay in the Broken for a while but never for long because they feel the strain of not having magic.

Rose lives on the Edge with her two adorable younger brothers and her grandmother. It’s easy to like Rose because she’s a tough girl, doing her best to make ends meet and to provide for her brothers. She’s also pretty funny with her constant eye-rolling and “Why me?” lines. I like her brothers as well – Georgie, the ten-year-old necromancer and Jack, the eight-year-old shape shifter (lynx). They know that Rose has a hard time keeping an eye on them but they can’t help but get into trouble because of the nature of their magical abilities. Enter Declan, Earl Camarine, who declares that he wants Rose for himself and is willing to go through three challenges in order to get her. But there’s more to this arrogant aristocrat that meets the eye and Rose gets to know him better as they work side by side to combat an evil that has suddenly made an appearance in the Edge.

I guess it’s not surprising when I say that I loved this one. It was pretty easy to get sucked into the world, there are awesome, kick*ss characters in it and a lot of humor. Another aspect about the story that I liked is that Rose and Declan’s story wraps up pretty nicely in this one package and the next book in the series Bayou Moon has different main characters. This is a different approach from the Kate Daniels series, where the story is stretched to (at least) seven books. I recommend this to fans of Ilona Andrews or other urban fantasy fans out there. Although a lot of people say that this one is more paranormal romance than urban fantasy. Regardless of the genre, it’s still a highly enjoyable read. I can’t wait for the sequel and to read about William, Declan’s shape shifter partner in special ops.