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Monday, November 09, 2009:
"On The Edge" by Ilona Andrews (2009) - review
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). Only Edgers like Rose can easily travel from one world to the next, but they never truly belong in either.

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 . . .

When I first read the back cover blurb, I admit, I was not all that impressed. It sounded like some post-Apocalyptic "Terminator: Salvation" nightmare (I thought the movie pretty much sucked) and I was hesitant to buy it. But I had loved the "Magic" books so much, and a lot of cool people had raved about "On the Edge", so I let go of my inhibitions and before I could change my mind, I bought it. Let's just say that sometimes it's really a good thing to be proven wrong :)

Much like the "other" series, this book is about magic. But other than that, the similarities end. Here, you've got the Weird, that is all magic, all the time. Then there's the Broken, where there is no magic, and anyone thought to have magic would be pretty much considered out of their ever-lovin' minds. Next up is the Edge, which is where Rose and her family lives. The Edge is a strange mixture of magic and non-magic, and those of the Edge can travel between the other realms, in a way, though not without discomfort on some level, and it all depends on their level of magic. Not everyone can cross over.

Now the things about Rose is that she has a lot of magic. And people want it, or they want to benefit from others who will pay for her powerful magic. They are not so nice about how they go about getting it, either. Rose has 2 younger brothers to look after, George and Jack, who each have their own abilities, and she would walk to hell and back to protect them. To make matters even more complicated, living on the Edge and working in the Broken barely keeps their heads about water. Rose and her family are barely getting by, but she is stubborn and hard-working and refuses to give in. She fights to keep her brothers safe.

Declan, much like everyone else, wants her magic for himself. He's willing to be noble and make her his bride, but to Rose, a trap is a trap, no matter how pretty you make it look. However Declan is the one that helps protect her brothers and fights side by side with her when an evil of great strength tries to take her magic through violent and horrifying means, so while she doesn't trust him, she agrees to have him challenge her for her hand. Only she has no intention of giving in and letting him win, no matter how masculine and attractive he is. But sometimes the heart refuses to listen to logic, and you end up falling in love, no matter how hard you try not to...

My thoughts:

Despite my initial reservations, I was completely blown away by this book. LOVED it. Ilona Andrews manages to make a bleak and oppressive world come alive, and peppers it with colorful, unique characters that have you wanting to get to know them better. Despite her magic, Rose is a young woman faced with raising her two younger brothers on her own, and at times she's so afraid that the only way to get past it is to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I could completely understand where she was coming from, and it made me respect Rose, despite her hardness at times. Rose didn't have a lot of options, and sometimes she had to be tough to survive. It's a bleak, lonely existence she leads, and it's heartbreaking to watch her live this way.

Despite Declan's various reasons for coming to the Edge, I found much to like about him. He was demanding and arrogant, but also protective of Rose and her family, and whether it was for his own benefit didn't make much of a difference to me. He could be compassionate and understanding, and still managed to push Rose's buttons. One of my favorite things is that while he would put himself into the role of protector, he didn't discount Rose's abilities completely, even if it bothered him on a very basic level to let her be right in the thick of the danger alongside him. He recognized that she was a survivor, and wasn't someone who backed away from difficult situations. In fact most times, she didn't have a choice.

I loved Rose and Declan together. They worked well as a team, and after a time earned the other's respect, if grudgingly, which forged a stronger attraction between them. I liked that neither of them fell all over each other once they fell in love. Rose was just as stubborn as she was from day one about not caving into Declan's demands. She stayed true to herself, and I think that's exactly how it should have been.

So despite the bleakness of these worlds, and the constant dangers, there is much to adore in "On The Edge". I'm excited to see there's a 2nd book coming out. In my opinion, Ilona Andrews just keeps getting better and better. Despite my reluctance, I was sucked right into the pages and didn't want to put it down. Now that's talent for you. The story is rich and colorful and compelling, and I cannot wait to visit the Edge again, because I'm not quite ready to leave yet.

Rating: ***** out of *****

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  1. I really need to get me a taste of Ilona Andrews and I think it is On The Edge that will do it for me. Your review is just another incentive to do it a bit sooner *grin*

  2. I have yet to pick up Ilona Andrews, Stace, but you've certainly tempted me. She's going to get a lovely royalty check from your glom, I think. :wink:

    I'll have to remedy the lack of Ilona Andrews books in my life. Which series do you suggest starting with?

  3. Rose is a great heroine..I love that she never shirked on her responsibilities to her brothers..yet balances a relationship with Declan.

    Can't wait to read about William!!

  4. What an awesome review, Stacy! I have this book... I hope I get to it soon. So many readers are really loving it.

  5. I totally agree with you. I loved how strong Rose is and that Declan is so protective.
    Great review- totally on spot!

  6. Great review Stacy. I knew you would like On The Edge.

  7. Fantastic review Stacy - thank you! I've got this book on my TBR list, but the fact that the heroine was very talented dampened my enthusiam a little (no, I don't understand why), but one line in your review has completely sold me:

    ...and at times she's so afraid that the only way to get past it is to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

    I can so relate to that, particularly if you add in the word tired. Am looking forward to reading it, although I might read the second Kate Daniels book first :)

  8. Ok, I'm sorry. I now understand how you felt when I was shamelessy tweeting about Skin Game. I don't have this one yet {pout}. I'm a big fan of Terminator Salvation (I heart u Marcus) and post apocalyptic type stories, so this seems right up my book alley.

  9. I can't to start this one! I think I'm one of the remaining few who hasn't read On The Edge yet. Nice review!

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