Publisher: Ace Fantasy, part of The Penguin Group, 2009
Page count: 309 pages
“On the edge” is the first novel in a (for me) new urban fantasy series called The Edge. The series got its name from the Edge, a smallish strip of land caught between the Weird, a country filled with magic, and the Broken, a non-magical universe very much like our own. Residents of the Weird and the Broken seldom pass into each other’s respective universes, so the Egers residing in-between are usually the only ones to move between worlds. That is why Rose Drayton, an Edger with unusually strong magical abilities, is so surprised when she meets Declan, a haughty blueblood warrior stemming from the Weird.
Rose is instantly suspicious of Declan’s intentions, as well she might: not only has she grown up in poverty and ridicule with a mother who slept around and a father who left her to care for her younger brothers, but also Rose’s white flash (a sign of her inner magic power) has attracted nothing but trouble from families wanting her to breed with their sons to produce strong heirs. Consequently, when Declan shows up on her doorstep declaring that he won’t leave without her, Rose sets him three seemingly impossible challenges that he will have to overcome before she will agree to leave. Soon, however, it becomes apparent that foul monsters want to kill Rose and her brothers to consume their magic powers, making Declan something of a bodyguard despite Rose’s strong objections. Together (to quote the blurb), they “must overcome their differences and work together to destroy [the monsters], or the beasts will devour the Edge and everyone in it…” (cheesy, I know, but that’s basically what happens next).
So, for the review part: After breezing through the Kate Daniels series this summer, I expected the Edge-series to run in the same vein. And in some ways it does: both series are urban fantasy novels featuring a universe with elements of magic as well as the mundane, and both series have an evolving romantic relationship between the two protagonists. That said, it is blatantly obvious that “On the edge” was written by two authors with far more experience than when they published “Magic bites”, the first novel of the Kate Daniels-series. Where “Magic bites” showed promise in constructing a decent fantasy universe but failed miserably at creating any semblance of a plot, “On the edge” scores equally well for the urban fantasy setting but delivers far better goods in terms of plot and characters.
That is not to say that the reader is ever left in doubt as to whether or not Cinderella will end up with Prince Charming; after all, the nascent romance is pretty much implied from the blurb. But, to their eternal credit, Andrew and Ilona Gordon make the characters’ journey in getting there supremely entertaining and that, to my mind, is the whole point for this genre. I laughed out loud multiple times while reading this book, and am already looking for an excuse to re-read “the good bits” (writing this review was one of them). Assuming you like urban fantasy mixed with romance, I think you will laugh, too.