Friday, February 17, 2012

Book Review: On The Edge

On The Edge (The Edge #1)
Narrated By: Renee Raudman
Published By: Tantor Media
Publication Date: December 2009
Audio Length: 12 hours, 8 minutes
Buy it at Amazon or IndieBound
Source: Library
Audience: Urban Fantasy

On The Story & Writing:

This is my first experience with the husband and wife writing team of Ilona Andrews. I have heard great things about their Kate Daniels series which I plan on reading soon, but I stumbled upon this series in audio at the library one day while I was browsing the stacks and decided to give it a shot. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the writing flows well in spite of this being a writing partnership. There are no awkward moments where the two styles do not flow. Its all quite seamless.

I also found this to be an extremely creative series launch. There are three universes that exist - The Broken, The Edge, and the Weird. The Broken is pretty much normal society that we all live in. The Weird is a parallel universe to The Broken with the same landforms, but a vastly different history and settlement pattern. People in The Weird are considered to be high society and often contain vast amounts of magic. They feel that their society is the best and are often referred to as Blue Bloods as a result. Finally, there exists The Edge. This is a small segment of universe that lies between The Broken and The Weird. People living in this realm also have magic, at times it is quite potent, but they are considered to be mongrels from the perspective of the Blue Bloods and those in The Broken are rarely privy to the knowledge that The Edge exists at all. I found all the intrigue and politics between these universes to be fascinating. However, it was slightly overwhelming to go through so much world building. I am assuming this will be easier with future novels since so much is laid out and explained in this book.

On The Edge tells the story of Rose and Declan. Rose, a native of The Edge, is a young twenty something who is raising her two younger brothers and trying to make ends meet in her poverty stricken household. She has a powerful magic streak that causes her to be a target of fear and greed. Many know she can destroy them with a single flash, but they also know that her magic makes her valuable. Men come from far and wide to try to lure Rose into marriage so she can provide them with powerful children. Its not quite the life a girl dreams of, but that all changes when the handsome Declan arrives from The Weird. After saving Rose's youngest brother, Jack, from a strange and brutal creature, Rose must learn to show gratitude to a Blue Blood in spite of her better judgment. This decision will alter both of their lives and send them down a path to protect The Edge from a crazy man bent on killing them all and stripping the magic from their flesh.

I really liked the cultural aspects of this one. It speaks true to the clash between the haves and the have nots that is running rampant through American society today. Rose's life and experiences spoke true to the experience of those who live in poverty in the South. (This book is set in rural Georgia - not too far from Savannah.) It was interesting to see how those with wealth and power treated Rose and her family. There is so much value to Rose, her brothers, and her grandmother; it broke my heart to see them treated as second class citizens due to the balance in their back account. However, lots of people are struggling to make ends meet these days and they will relate to Rose's experience.

In addition, I loved the characters in this one - even the supporting ones. Each character has so much personality. Rose is a strong, intelligent heroine who is not afraid to kick a little ass. Declan could be quite annoying and arrogant from time to time, but he does reach a point of redemption. I most enjoyed Rose's brothers, Jack and George, and her grandmother. They reminded me in many ways of my own family. 

Finally, the steamy rating of this one comes in around PG-13. There is one intimate moment toward the end of the book, but its very well done and doesn't last a lengthy amount of time. It is certain to produce a blush, but the sex is certainly not the focus of the book. I prefer it this way, but I know some of my other Dark Larks like a bit more bedroom activity than I do.

Bring on book two - Bayou Moon!

On the Audio:

Renee Raudman did a decent job narrating this one. I did find myself daydreaming at times because she had moments where she became a bit too monotone for my tastes. This is one of those stories that would have been awesome if done by a full cast, but was just okay when done by only one narrator. It wasn't that Raudman isn't a good narrator - it was just such a huge story with so many components that it was hard to listen to only one voice for that length of time. I would probably recommend picking the book up and skipping the audio version of this one if are trying to decide between the formats. However, due to the time restraints of my reading list, I will be listening to book two on audio with the same narrator. Sometimes, I prefer to listen to the audio even if its not amazing because otherwise I would have to wait awhile before I could get to the next book.

One Last Gripe: Declan could be quite the pompous ass.

My Favorite Thing About This Book: The creative world that Rose inhabits

First Sentence: "Rosie!" Grandpa's bellow shook the foundation of the house.

Favorite Character: Rose

Least Favorite Character: Brad

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 the beasts will devour the Edge and everyone in it . . .

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