Review: Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews

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October 10, 2012 by Heidi

Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews book coverTitle: Bayou Moon [Amazon|Goodreads]
Author: Ilona Andrews  [Website|Twitter|Facebook]
Standing: Book 2 in The Edge series.  Can be read as a stand alone.
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Romance
Published: September 28th, 2010 by Ace
Format: Paperback; 447 pages.
Source: Borrowed from my local library.
Spoilers!: There are only the tiniest spoilers for On the Edge in Bayou Moon and this review, the book can easily be read as a stand alone.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I requested Bayou Moon from my library.  It’s the only one of Ilona Andrews’ books lacking the words “Magic” (Kate Daniels) or “Edge” (The Edge series) in the title, and I’ll be honest, my eyes got pretty big when I saw its girth and noted that it was a good 100 pages longer than any of her other books.  I certainly didn’t expect Bayou Moon to completely capture my heart as my favorite Ilona Andrews book yet, but it did so handily.

Bayou Moon has us returning to the Edge–that weird strip of land running along the border between the Broken and the Weird where magic exists, but not in full force.  William, who has spent the last two years having a pity party and drinking beer in his trailer is recruited into duty by the Mirror, a special ops force from Adrianglia.  Presented with the opportunity to kill his (and all Changelings’) oldest enemy, Spider, William agrees to uncover whatever weapon it is Spider’s attempting to recover for his country, kill him, and provide Adrianglia with intel.  He leaves his thin strip of the Edge to enter the Mire–a portion of the Edge that stretches for hundreds of miles between the Broken’s Louisiana and the Weird’s Louisiana.

“It’s sweltering and damp.  It smells of rotting vegetation, and fish, and stagnant water.  It shifts constantly.  Nothing is what it seems: the solid ground is mud and the fish have legs.  It’s not a proper place.”

Sounds lovely, doesn’t it?  Cerise Mar has lived her entire life in the Mire, where family is everything and deadly feuds rage for generations. When her parents disappear and the Sheeriles–the family the Mar’s have been feuding with for generations–produce a deed signing over to them a chunk of the Mar land, Cerise finds herself in charge of contesting the deed in court, killing the Sheeriles, and finding her parents.  Knowing only that they were taken by the Hand, an elite force of magically mutated fighters, Cerise begrudgingly agrees to team up with William who has a convenient knowledge of the Hand and fighting skills that rival her own.

Ah! My enthusiasm for Bayou Moon is practically dripping.  We first met William the Wolf in On the Edge where the poor misguided soul tried very hard to convince Rose to love him even though they were very wrong together.  More than anything, William wants a family, wants to be loved, but he knows that he doesn’t deserve these thigns.  I love that in Bayou Moon we get to see inside of William’s head and get to know both his excited puppy and really scary wolf sides.  He falls hard for Cerise not because he feels he should (as with Rose), but because he can’t help himself.  It isn’t her family (because they’re their own piece of work), it’s the fact that Cerise is strong, self-assured, and can mow through ten men as easily as slicing butter.  Watching Cerise fight is the most beautiful thing William has ever seen.  He respects her as a fighter, doesn’t honestly know if he could beat her, and lets her fight her own battles.

Cerise, on the other hand, gives us an outside perspective of just how dangerous an attraction to William can be.  She realizes slowly that he’s a bit broken inside, but instead of viewing him as such she just sees him as something she wants very badly for her own.  She doesn’t pity William, which would hurt him, instead she chooses to love every crazy bone in his body, and she relishes his sharp edges.  If only wolves understood things like flirting and hints (or any nuanced social skills for that matter) and a relationship with one didn’t have to be all or nothing.

She had to admit and accept the reality: William with his amber eyes and his wolfish laugh, crazy, lethal William, made her head spin.  He was like a dangerous puzzle box full of razor blades–press the wrong switch and the blades would slice your fingers to ribbons.  And she was the fool who couldn’t wait to press the switches and find out the right one.

The third person multiple narratives works so well in Bayou Moon.  I enjoyed On the Edge immensely, but here we got to see Cerise and William in equal parts in a balance that really added to the story.  The plot was jam packed full of dangers both close to home and completely exotic, and the pacing was so spot on perfect that it was quite difficult to put down.  The story here with its layers of villains and motivations seemed much more rich and deadly to me than the plot of On the Edge.  Added darkness aside, this installment was still full of Ilona Andrews’ snarky and wonderful humor that had me laughing out loud constantly while reading.  I fell completely for William and Cerise, but as they were caught up in the world around them, so was I.  Bayou Moon was slightly more Urban Fantasy than Romance in its balance, but I liked it that way and wouldn’t change a thing.

My only problem/confusion stemmed once again from my inability to keep names strait.  The Mar clan is pretty dang big, not to mention the list of villains between the Mire and the Hand.  We knew there was likely a turncoat within the Mar family, and for the longest time I was convinced it was Kaldar because I had his name confused with Karmash, Spider’s second in command.  This bummed me out as I really liked that scoundrel, but then I realized that I was just confusing myself again.  *sigh*  At least at no time did I feel that Bayou Moon called for a Deliverance banjo duel.

Likelihood that I’ll be back for more:  Um…I did stupid excited girly little hand flails of excitement when I looked up the blurb for Fates Edge and saw that the male lead is Kaldar Mar. Yep, yep, sign me up for that.

Recommended for:  I adored this book, I’ll pretty much shove it on anyone willing to read some great Urban Fantasy whether they want to bother with On the Edge first or not (but they should because it was also awesome).

Real life repercussions of reading this book:

Not gonna lie, the first part of this book really read like that amazeballs episode of Archer:

Archer - Pipeline Fever

Get a second opinion:
Book Harbinger – “They’re not Kate and Curran but I adored them both and with the unpredictably imaginative concept of the Edge I look forward to any additional books in this series.”
Angieville – “Bayou Moon is even wilder than its predecessor, if you can believe it. And since, in many ways, William and Cerise are wilder than Declan and Rose, I relished how the landscape, the villain, and the entire storyline reflected that.”
Chachic’s Book Nook – “Another awesome urban fantasy novel from Ilona Andrews – espionage set in an interesting swampy landscape with broken but lovable main characters and distinct secondary characters in the form of the Mars – highly recommended to all fans of the genre.”
Janicu’s Book Blog – “The Edge series straddles genres to create a world that’s unlike any other, and I found Bayou Moon a rare book that entertains so well, I was lost to everything else.”
See Michelle Read – “Whereas On the Edge often felt a little too formulaic and fluffy, Bayou Moon has some grit and substance to it”

I’ve also reviewed:

On the Edge (The Edge 1)

A Questionable Client (Kate Daniels .5)
Magic Bites (Kate Daniels 1)
Magic Burns (Kate Daniels 2)
Magic Mourns (Kate Daniels 3.5)
Magic Bleeds (Kate Daniels 4)
Magic Dreams (Kate Daniels 4.5)

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15 comments »

  1. Chachic says:

    I remember how excited I was for Bayou Moon to be released! I kept bugging the local bookstore to ask if they had copies as soon the release date rolled around (books usually arrive late in the Philippines, same here in Singapore). I was curious about William when I first read about him in On the Edge and I wasn’t disappointed in his story. :) Ilona and Gordon really are auto-buy, auto-read authors for me.

    Hope you enjoy Kaldar’s book. Now I’m kind of sad that there’s only one more book in the series.

    • Heidi says:

      I KNOW! I’m already sad that next month marks the probable end to this series (at least for the foreseeable future), because I am in love with this world. Honestly, I get almost every book I can from the library, but with Ilona Andrews I’m too impatient to wait and buy them. I need to buy this one because I know I’m going to want to reread it.

      • Chachic says:

        Haha yeah, I remember you mention that you get the books that you read from the library except for Ilona Andrews novels. I feel the same way! I rush out and get copies of their novels as soon as they’re available because I can’t wait. I want more of their romantic sci-fi novellas.

        • Heidi says:

          I haven’t read those yet at all, but I’m excited to!

          I’m actually sad I borrowed Bayou Moon, I’m going to have to purchase a copy asap so that I can bookmark and reread all of my favorite scenes. 😛

          • Chachic says:

            Don’t be sad! You can always just buy a copy of any book that you fall in love with. That’s what I do whenever I borrow a book from a friend and end up loving it. I’ll probably do that as well over here, if I fall in love with a book I borrowed from the library.

  2. I feel like you keep recommending these to me and I still have yet to pick them up. I just checked the library and basically NO ONE owns it so..I guess my question is…should I buy On the Edge for the Nook? Is it worth it? I desperately want to read these (and oh, wolfie <3) and I am not sure that I can wait for ILL!!

    I love men with "sharp edges!!!"

    • Heidi says:

      I know you do! You’d love William, seriously. Honestly, I think these are worth buying, this is probably my favorite UF series thus far–I love it. I’ve been known to buy Ilona Andrews books with ILL is just too dang slow, and Ilona/Gordan have become instant buy authors for me when new books come out.

  3. WAIT! Did you just say this was your favorite Ilona Andrews book? FAVORITE? *faints* Seriously, I need to pick this up in that case. I feel as if you’ve read practically all of her novels so coming from you, that’s HUGE, Heidi! Of course, I still need to get around to Kate Daniels…hehehe. I will though…soon! I can’t wait to see what you think of the rest of this series, Heidi! I definitely need to start reading more of this author for sure…you’ve convinced me! 😀

    • Heidi says:

      Yay! Yes, you do, especially since I know you do like Urban Fantasy! Most Kate Daniels fans would probably be scandalized, but I do have to say that I like the world of The Edge even better, and as a single novel this one takes the cake. Though really we’re comparing apples to apples, or rather awesomeness to awesomeness here.

  4. Urban fantasy is not really my thing (or at least I don’t think that it is), but I must admit after reading so many of your reviews for Ilona Andrews’ works, I’m more than a little curious. I am looking to expand my reading list to include more adult fantasies, so maybe this is a direction I should take. Her huge body of works is a little daunting, however I’ll definitely start looking more into detail on her works.

    • Heidi says:

      I hope that you do give Ilona Andrews a shot, Amanda! Urban Fantasy might really not be your thing, but it’s also possible that there’s some out there you’d really enjoy and you just haven’t found the right fit yet. I love turning to urban fantasy, Ilona Andrews in particular, when I’m looking for an adult fantasy that’s on the lighter side.

  5. Angiegirl says:

    Love William. Love, love.

    Also the world in this one was stone cold creepy awesome.

    • Heidi says:

      I’m so in love with William I can’t even stand it. And I love how they were able to set something in the bayou and not have it fall prey to a ton of cliches.

  6. […] #8– Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews #7– Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta #6– Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews #5– The Lost Conspiracy by Frances Hardinge #4– A Conspiracy of […]

  7. […] Edge by Ilona Andrews: SO SAD that this is the last book for The Edge series, which I have absolutely adored.  I may save this when I need some emergency Mar in my life.  At least I’ll have the […]

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