Somewhere in the midst of my grad school stuff, I actually found time to read the new Ilona Andrews book (Steel’s Edge, if you couldn’t tell). So it’s a little late, but I’ve finally gotten there.
And I certainly feel like I’ve earned it, at the least.
Ilona and Gordon Andrews are more well known for their straight urban fantasy series, Kate Daniels. This book is from the Edge series, which is more of a mix of urban fantasy and paranormal romance. As a genre, I pretty much never go for romance.
I’m not proud of it, but in my younger days, I’ve even been a bit of a genre snob when it comes to romance. I know, I know. Any genre can be well done in the right hands. I got over it. That said, I still feel like the romance genre is rife with people taking shortcuts. Or being melodramatic, which isn’t my thing just as a matter of preference.
But this series is one of very few examples that I’ve come across that I can point to for examples of well done romantic fiction. Urban fantasy is a bit more my style, but I actually think I prefer this series to their first one. Why? Because of the creativity and variety in it.
First, the world building. I love the world building here, and how it starts narrow in one book, and then keeps exploring other parts of the setting in other books. The idea is that there are kind of three levels to reality–the Broken, which is our world. The Weird, which is a parallel world to ours but with magic instead of technology. And the Edge, which is kind of in between. There’s variety in the powers of the characters: necromancy, shapeshifting, cursing, healing, and so forth. The authors even manage to make the shapeshifting in these books different from in their other series.
And of course, the cast. All of the characters have characterization. Not just the main leads, but the secondary characters as well. It’s believable, and those characters become as interesting as what’s going on in the main storyline. And the stakes are high here. The bad guys are very bad and very dangerous. I should warn that these writers like to skew a little dark sometimes. I’m pretty sure one of the villains eats people. You have been warned.