Is anyone other than me surprised to find out that Ilona Andrews is actually 2 people? Technically the author of the Kate Daniels novels and The Edge books is actually Ilona herself and her husband, Gordon. Crazy, right? I love little-known facts like that about authors. Although, it seems I’m usually the last one to know. Typical.
Jumping right in…
Book: Bayou Moon (The Edge, Book 2)
Genre: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy
Cerise Mar and her clan are cash poor but land rich, claiming a large swathe of the Mire, the Edge swamplands. When her parents vanish, her clan’s long-time rivals are suspect. But all is not as it seems.
Two nations of the Weird are waging a cold war fought by feint and espionage, and their conflict is about to spill over into the Edge-and Cerise’s life.
Great Characters, Amazing World
For fans of the first Edge series book, On the Edge, this story picks up with William, the misfit, wolf changeling. He’s an all-black wearing, ex-military reject who lives in the Edge, a in-between land on the border of the Broken (the non-magical world) and the Weird (a land bursting with power).
I’m sure many women will appreciate that William’s not a squeaky clean “good guy”- he’s got some temper issues and can get crazy wild when lets his wolf loose. He’s got a chip on his shoulder, and for good cause as most of his kind has been hunted down in the Weird and forced into military school from an early age.
At the start of the novel, William’s just accepted (well coerced into really) a mission to find and kill the changeling murderer Spider. He ventures into the deadly swamp called the Mire to find him and invoke sweet justice. Along the way, he meets Cerise and from the there the story really heats up.
I really love the world Andrews has created in these books. I’m relatively new to reading paranormal/urban fantasy novels. I never really feel like I know what I’m getting myself into when I try a new book in this genre, but Andrews’ books ring-true with a believable grittiness. The Edge books give me enough reference points from “real” life to make me feel comfortable but add just enough twists and surprises to keep me interested.
Take the Mire for example- it’s a festering swamp with labyrinthine streams and murky depths. Oh and, did I forget to mention the giant eels controlled by necromancers that swarm the waters? Fun.. And, although it isn’t visited often in this book, the whole idea of the Weird is really interesting. It’s an alternate version of the United States that uses magic instead of technology and is complete with its own alternate history where Louisiana has a Dukedom. Yeah, I’d say the Weird is aptly named
Oh, the Dysfunction!
Andrews is great at capturing the give and take of relationships, too. Cerise has a large family that couldn’t be more dysfunctional if they tried. Although all 30-something of them band together when her parents go missing, they still manage to yell and claw at each other along the way.
Her parents disappearance forces Cerise to become the head of her clan. She’s a strong woman who has a few insecurities. She’s been used by men for her clan’s money (not that they have much of it) and land advantages before, and she’ll never let it happen again. She’s lovable but tough and sweet yet very, very sassy. To my relief, her personality is very different from Kate Daniels, who’s constant retorts and smart remarks rubbed on my nerves after a few books.
The plot does seem a bit predictable, but the journey along the way is entirely worth a guessable ending. The dynamic between William and Cerise is packed with tension and false-steps, and I found it to be a bit more exciting to read than Rose and Declan’s romance in On the Edge. The pages always turn quickly in Ilona Andrews’ books, and I think Bayou Moon is her best work yet.
One Warning= With Ilona Andrews, you HAVE to be ok with some occasional scenes of graphic violence. She spares no details. All blood, guts and gore is laid bare. You can easily skim over these parts, but they seem to crop up fairly often in her books. I’m personally not a fan of reading about intestines falling out of stomachs and blood spurting across corpses, but Andrews’ endearing characters and fascinating worlds more than make up for the more gory battle scenes.
Overall: An easy, fun read that will keep you glued to your bed/couch until it’s finished! I cannot wait to read more of her books!
Up Next- I’m currently reading the book-that-will-never-end, i.e. The Ship of Destiny by Robin Hobb. Who knew my reading list for January would already set back my 100-Books-in-a-Year goal? Gah!! Oh well.
As soon as the behemoth I’m reading is finished, I plan on cracking open The False Princess by Eilis O’Neal.