As my last hurrah before starting a new semester, I read Fate’s Edge. Of the authors who are currently producing new books, Ilona Andrews is my favorite. However, she has two series and I prefer the other one.
The Edge series has a wonderful premise: There are two worlds, the Broken (our non-magical world) and the Weird (the magical realm), with the Edge as a thin stretch of land that divides the two realms. The Edge is essentially the gateway between both realms and is largely invisible to both as well. Plus, it’s the poor backwoods residents of either land who actually live there.
In this series, they’re our heroes.
This is an awesome premise!
I like it a lot.
A lot of the plot comes in from the fact that various lands in The Weird have rather tense relationships. It’s kind of Cold War-ish, with spies fighting spies and neither side wanting to really declare outright war unless they have a better chance of winning.
So there’s spies and magic and a long stretch of land that is best known for it’s violently clannish population and smuggling operations.
There is oodles of fun to be had there.
The weakness of the series is in the characters, who come across as fairly cookie-cutter standard romance-novel love-interests. However, each book in this series is slightly better than the one preceding it, and Fate’s Edge is the third book in the series, so it’s characters are the best yet.
One reason for the increasing complexity of the characters is that so far the pattern is that the next male protagonist is introduced as a side character in the preceding book. As a side character can’t be allowed to upstage the main hero of a book, the side characters are given flaws that make them lesser than the hero but also a lot more interesting and realistic. If Audrey and Kaldar, the pairing in this book, had been the main pair in the first book, I would have been a lot happier.
However, since a lot of the characters are introduced in the preceding books, I’m not really sure how well this book can stand on its own. To get a full sense of the world building, you definitely need to read the first two books.
So over all, it’s a good, fun read, and I do recommend it, but you have to choose between reading the first two first two books with their character issues or missing out on some of the awesome world-building.
I have to respectfully disagree – in my opinion “Bayou Moon,” the second book in the series is the best. My heart belongs to William (the hero), and there are more crazy peripheral characters than in either of the other two books.
“Fate’s Edge” had some of my favorite scenes of the series (those with side characters George and Jack, a couple of magical adolescents) and some of my least favorite scenes (I’m afraid the main characters were my least favorite of the series, personally).
I hadn’t picked up that each book centers on a side character from a previous book, but I am therefore even more hopeful that the next book will be all about George and Jack. An added bonus would be if there weren’t sex scenes since they are still so young. (The past couple of posts have talked a bit about the blurred line between fantasy books and romances, and I think for me, the distinguishing factor is whether I have to read some sex scene bristling with anatomical euphemisms, and I hate them!)
William is pretty awesome. Part of my problem with “On the Edge” is that Rose rather incomprehensively chose Declan over William. But I kind of feel like “Bayou Moon” smoothed out too many of William’s character quirks and made him more standard-hero material. On the other hand, I can’t really remember the book all that well, so…
Anyway, I’m thinking maybe Gaston will be the next hero, but I can’t imagine that Jack and George aren’t going to get their own books eventually. I bet they’ll be set when they’re each old enough to have sex, though. I think this series is too romance-centric to include a book without a sex scene, alas. Unfortunately, sex sells and a lot of authors get told to insert a sex scene if at all possible because it will up their sales regardless of the genre. Young adult or children’s books are pretty much the only exempt genres for that.
One of my coworkers and I came up with a solution to that, actually – we think that for books that aren’t strictly romance genre, the sex scenes could all be included in a separately printed insert, kind of like Cliff Notes, with a little marker in the actual book at each point where you could go reference the sex book, if you feel like it, but otherwise, the book will sort of seamlessly gloss over it, like a movie’s “fade to black.” (I realize that for all practical purposes this isn’t a solution – added printing costs, etc. – but the idea of it amuses me.)
Hah! That would be awesome. And you just know that people would then go out and just buy the “sex book” without buying the portion that included the plot.
“I just read War and Peace and I thought it was pretty short, actually.” “But it’s incredibly long and all the politics and plot and …” “Oops, I must have just read the sex part.”