Note: As part of my new plan to post my thoughts about various books on Wednesdays, here is the first installment. I’m including both my brief comments at the top, and if you want to hear more, there are longer comments to follow.
I finished On the Edge by Ilona Andrews and it was everything I’d hoped it to be. The balance between paranormal adventure and romance is nicely done, plus there are a lot of surprises along the way that even when you, and Rose (the MC), think you know exactly what’s going on, prove there’s more to this story. I’m delighted to know that a sequel exists, even if one was never intended.
A more detailed reaction is waiting for you below the fold:
The writing team that makes up Ilona Andrews once again shows incredible talent in On the Edge. They have a habit of starting with a character who is both incredibly normal (though sometimes that’s camouflage) and incredibly exceptional. This pattern holds true for Rose Drayton, though in a unique way so this does not seem like a slightly changed retelling of the Magic Bites series.
Rose Drayton went to school like any normal kid, except that she required bribes because she doesn’t have a birth certificate. She was bullied and discounted like many of us, and was powerless to stop it.
And yet, because she’s an edger–a person who inhabits the slender strip of land between the world of magic (the weird) and our world (the broken)–she has one chance to prove herself on graduation day. Only Rose did so a little too flashy and a little too well, which both isolates her and makes her into a target for edgers and weirds alike.
What I’ve told you up to here is backstory, blended carefully into the current tale in which this remarkable woman is trying to raise her two brothers with only the help of her grandmother, who doesn’t live with them. She works a menial job because she has no papers, being born on the edge rather than down in the broken, and everything is a struggle. The hardest part is watching one of her brothers weaken as he gives his life force to the wrongfully dead (or even just those he’ll miss) from his grandfather to a puppy that bullies kicked until dead.
This novel is rich and complex with personal, magical, and external conflicts. The characters are all too human (for not being exactly so). They make assumptions, make mistakes, and if they’re lucky, they’ll survive the consequences.
When I originally started the book, I classified it as more of a romance than the others I’ve read from Ilona Andrews. Having reached the end, I don’t know if that’s a fair assessment, though there is a romantic thread that starts at the very beginning when Declan Camarine shows up at her doorstep, bringing back the worse of her memories after graduation. I do know this is a skillfully written novel with characters, both bizarre and surprisingly mundane, that I was able to identify with and come to love.
I was sad to read on their blog that this was intended as a standalone, though it succeeds in bringing its story to a full and complete conclusion, because I’m going to miss the characters. They made me fear for them, laugh with them, and even laugh at them in places, but all in good fun.
The good news is that standalone concept didn’t hold up as a secondary character in this one demanded his own story, but I think I’ll discover it’s a much different tale than On the Edge just simply because of William’s nature. There’s no question that I will be finding out though. If it’s a smidge as good as On the Edge, I’ll happily give myself over into Ilona Andrews’ hands yet again.
For more about the book: Click here. And please post your own thoughts in the comments. You don’t have to agree with me either. Differences in reactions are fascinating.