Title: On the Edge (Edge, #1)
Author: Ilona Andrews
Rating: 4.5 Stars
You know, in life there are moments when you think your emotion towards someone or something cannot possibly increase more than what it already is, but then they do or write something that makes you eat your previous words. With Ilona Andrews, I feel as if I am constantly in a state of, “I love them; this is their best book yet…it can’t get any better than this!” and then it does. I’ll tell you right now, it’s a terrific feeling. If there’s one duo I can count on to make me laugh, swoon, or get me out of a bad day, it is Ilona Andrews and, believe me, you want these two on your side. (Or, you know, locked up in a basement writing more books for you to devour!)
On the Edge is the first book in the Edge Chronicles, a series of Urban Fantasy stand-alones that take place in a realm called – you guessed it! – the Edge. Unlike the Kate Daniels Series, where the world-building takes its own sweet time to become properly defined and realized, the world-building in the Edge Chronicles is shockingly clear and concise, proving to be ever bit as original and captivating as it sounds. We have the Broken, or the human world, the Weird, a world fueled by magic and ruled by aristocrats, and the Edge, right in between them both. It is in the Edge that our protagonist, Rose, lives with her two younger brothers, struggling to make ends meet with a low-wage-earning job in the Broken. With her mother dead and father gone, the sole responsibility for her two younger brothers rests on Rose’s young shoulders.
Enter: Declan. Declan is a blueblood aristocrat from the Weird, searching for a bride with strong magical abilities – like Rose. Although Declan resolves to woo her by fulfilled any three tasks she so wishes to set upon him, Rose has bigger threats to worry about – especially with a strange new beast in the Edge. It is clear from this set-up itself that Ilona Andrews has a bit of a formulaic set-up here: a loyal kick-ass heroine who is relatively alone in the world, an alpha male (and very rich!) hero who wants her, and mystical threats for them to combat together. Yet, despite this recipe, Ilona Andrews always manages to make it work and add a few twists into it as the same time.
Rose is a heroine I instantly liked, connecting with her strong nature, fierce protection of her younger brothers, and need to be perfect all on her own. As the novel progresses, we slowly uncover her past; the destruction of any family life she’s ever known and her mistrust of men, love, and bluebloods from the Weird. For them, strong magical bloodlines are all that matters and Rose is convinced that Declan wants her for her potent abilities, not who she really is. Furthermore, Rose is a struggling woman in a world with other struggling people. It is her who is forced to make tough decisions, such as to buy new shoes for one brother while forgoing a gift for the other. In addition, her brothers have their own magical abilities, one as a necromancer and the other as a shapeshifter. Yet, despite her obvious difficulties in taking care of her siblings, the bond between the three is strong and unbreakable. Rose is, to her brother, a figure they can lean on and trust. In fact, the only problem is that Rose has no one to lean on herself.
It is Declan, though, who slowly makes his way into her heart and life. With the trials she sets for him, he becomes closer and closer to her family, the most important part of her existence, and subsequently, her as well. No one writes Adult Urban Fantasy Romance like Ilona Andrews – no one – and that much is evident from this story. Declan and Rose’s romance, although not as long and drawn out as Kate and Curran’s (which spans over four novels before they finally get together), is just as rewarding, meaningful, and heartfelt. Ilona Andrews keeps everything real – or as real as it can be with magic around – and the true-to-life struggles that these two faced in their relationship made it come alive for me.
All in all, On the Edge is not a book to be missed, both for fans and newcomers to the writings of Ilona Andrews. In many ways, I find that this series is more accessible than Kate Daniels, simply because its beginning starts out so strong. Yet, whatever it is readers pick up by this duo, it is certain that they won’t be disappointed, whether by the romance or the action-filled plot line itself, full of mythology and heavy lore. Furthermore, the world Ilona Andrews has created, one with shapeshifters, necromancers, and magic co-existing in a secret world next to our own, is just as memorable as their futuristic
Atlanta with vampires, shapeshifters, and mercenaries. Honestly, I just don’t think “disappointment” is a word in the repertoire of this fantastic duo.