Review: On the Edge by Ilona Andrews


September 17, 2012 by Heidi

On the Edge by Ilona AndrewsTitle: On the Edge [Amazon|Goodreads]
Author: Ilona Andrews [Website|Twitter|Facebook]
Standing: First in a series of companion novels.
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Romance
Published: September 29th, 2009 by Ace
Format: Paperback; 309 pages
Source: Borrowed from my local library.

At this point I’m unsure whether I’m just incredibly biased towards the husband and wife writing team that is Ilona Andrews, or if they really are as awesome as I believe them to be.  You’ve seen me talk repeatedly about my love for the Kate Daniels series on this blog, but that was a love that grew from a tempered enthusiasm for its beginnings.  Thus, going into their series of Urban Fantasy Romance novels, The Edge, I expected great pacing, a fun plot, a nice romance, and generally happy if not amazing times.  I got all of these things, but strike the ‘generally’ from before happy and ‘not’ from before amazing.

On the Edge was the book that solidified for me that I dig romance–especially if it comes with a big dose of plot, particularly with an Urban Fantasy setting.  The world created by Ilona Andrews in On the Edge was well constructed, believable, and every bit as much fun as the futuristic Atlanta I’ve come to know.  Living on (or rather in) the Edge, Rose and her brothers subside in a struggling existence, literally between two worlds.  On one side lays the Broken–the world as we know it.  This is where the citizens of the Edge shop, go to school, and earn their living, but largely as illegal aliens.  Without proper papers identifying her as a United States citizen, Rose is stuck working below minimum wage jobs at whatever facility with enough ties to the Edge will hire her.  This wouldn’t be such a struggle if her mother wasn’t dead, her father gone, and her two young brothers left depending on her for their future and survival.  The other side of the Edge butts up against another world–the Weird.  A world fueled by magic and entirely different from our own.  Living on the Edge where the Broken and the Weird overlap means the Edgers have magic, but not much.  They lose it when in the Broken, and don’t often have enough to survive in the Weird.  Rose, however, has plenty.

Flashing is the Edgers main way of showing and using their power.  Like fire, different colors signify its heat and ability to destroy.  The strongest Edgers flash blue or green, but Rose flashes white.  Her sheer power and control is unheard of among the Edgers, and what she thought would impress and gain her freedom has brought nothing but pain and strife.  Desired for breeding, Rose has spent years fighting off those men who would take her, use her, even sell her for her power.  When Declan, an obvious blueblood from the Weird, shows up outside her house, Rose greets him with threats and disdain.  He’s determined to win her, but Rose may have bigger things to worry about than losing her freedom when a new and strange threat moves in on her community.

On the Edge was refreshingly different from any Ilona Andrews novel I have read thus far.  Not only was it a new world, new characters, and new story, it was also a single volume neatly compact tale with multiple perspectives.  That said, there were also the features I mentioned earlier.  The world building was top notch, the pacing grabbed me and never let up, the characters were the prickly head-butting stubborn but good hearted idiots I love to root for, and the romance was just the right amount of intense.  Rose is that self-sustaining female lead who has been through so much, but hasn’t let it break her where many others would.  She is ultimately loyal to her brothers, and puts their well being before all others, making herself that dependable figure all kids need whether or not their parents fill that role.

What struck me the most about On the Edge and its characters was how real they all were.  Rose isn’t a chosen one, she’s not from money or a good family, and it doesn’t matter how hard she works, life’s always going to be hard.  This is the reality for so many people out there, and yet it’s not something we often see in books.  Rose has to make those unspeakable decisions between buying her brother new shoes so that he doesn’t get picked on in school and filling her truck with gas so that she can get to work the next day.  Her brothers depend on her entirely, and she shines in their eyes.  A necromancer who is slowly draining himself of life energy, and a shapeshifter who has worked hard to gain mastery over his nature, Georgie and Jack are some of the best young characters one could find in adult fiction.  Rose and her brothers exhibit the importance of family when you have nothing else, and this theme that is shared with Kate Daniels books among the Pack makes me love Ilona Andrews all the more (not to mention more subtle Princess Bride love).  Rose has no trust or room for men in her life, and won’t let herself be caught dead relying on one.  I love that I struggled with Declan and his motivations nearly as much as Rose did herself.  I didn’t know if I could trust him, wasn’t sure what he wanted, and couldn’t understand where he was coming from.  I tip my hat to Ilona Andrews’ ability to answer all of my questions but only in the story’s own time; it’s rare that I close a book such a completely satisfied reader.

Likelihood that I’ll be back for more:  Shortly after finishing On the Edge I found myself thinking about the character William, and wishing that he had a happy ending story of his own.  So I go to Goodreads and check, sure enough!  That’s what Bayou Moon is bound to give me, and you can be certain I’ll be reading it soon.

Recommended for: Anyone who’s enjoyed the Kate Daniels series, or if starting that series is a bit intimidating, this is a great book to try out the authors!  This is my kind of romance…with a huge dose of Urban Fantasy thrown in.

Get a second opinion:
Janicu’s Book Blog
See Michelle Read
Book Harbinger
Chachic’s Book Nook
The Book Smugglers

I’ve also reviewed:
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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  1. Angiegirl says:

    *grins widely* Wasn’t it great?!

    I really loved William as well and was so pleased to get his story in BAYOU MOON.

    • Heidi says:

      Yes! I don’t know why I was shocked, but I really just wasn’t expecting this to be that good!

      I can’t wait for William to get his own HEA. He deserved one, and wasn’t a bad guy, just wasn’t right for Rose. Requesting through ILL today! 😀

  2. They’re a husband and wife writing team?!?! I HAD NO IDEA!! I’ve seen the Kate Daniels series around for a while, I even have the first book, but I had no clue. Lol I hope to get to that series soon…then later this one. Awesome review, Heidi!!

    • Heidi says:

      They are! Gordon and Ilona are pen names, so she ends up getting the bulk of the credit, but they do work on all of their books together and they’re all the better for it! I am loving the Kate Daniels series so much, and sad that I’m finally all caught up. This series works great to tide me over! 😀

  3. Holly says:

    You liked it! Yay. I hope you enjoy them all! I love the world a lot and how each book follows different characters.

    • Heidi says:

      Yeah, I love series like The Edge that take place in one world but follow different characters for each book. I love how different this world is from Kate Daniels, and I can’t wait to read the next couple!

  4. VeganYANerds says:

    I really do want to get into more UF and this sounds really good. It sounds like the authors have a knack for creating genuine characters and I have a feeling I’ll enjoy this. Great review, hun!

    • Heidi says:

      Thanks, Mands! I’ve really gotten into UF this year. I hadn’t read it before I started blogging, but it’s probably the genre I’ve read the most of in 2012. These are great ones because they work as stand alones, whereas a lot of UF series you really have to read a couple of books to get into.

  5. I really enjoyed this one too, and your review reminded me that I need to pick up the next book! I can’t believe I dropped the ball and haven’t read it yet.

  6. janicu says:

    Yay, you liked it. This is a book I am not sure people will like because of the romance bits, but I think I fall on the same side as you: I LIKE the romance bits.

    Ilona Andrews is one of the few authors that can do Paranormal Romance in a way I like. I don’t seem to have much luck in that PR because things can get too “sexy” for me, and I want more plot than sometimes happens (where the plot seems to propel the Romance, and doesn’t stand well on its own).

    • Heidi says:

      Yes, yes, yes! That’s exactly how I feel about it. I do like the romance bits, but I like them to stand up with the plot, not take it over. A lot of people have described Ilona and Gordan as timid with the sexy times, but honestly, they’re as sexy as I like and anything more is too much for me. That made the book pretty much the perfect balance for me, I’m so excited about the rest of the series (but sad that it’s ending–for now anyway–in November).

  7. Christina says:

    I liked this book a lot too, and it was my first exposure to Ilona Andrews, so it’s not just your bias talking! :) I enjoyed Bayou Moon quite a bit too, and I have Fate’s Edge on my shelves just waiting to be read.

    • Heidi says:

      Hehe, I’m glad to find someone who read this first! I really did feel like this series was great right out of the gate, so I’m glad to know I’m not alone. I’m picking up Bayou Moon from the library this afternoon!

  8. Chachic says:

    Yay, so glad you loved this. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved it – this series is my second favorite urban fantasy series (the first is Kate Daniels, of course). And yep, I’m biased when it comes to Ilona and Gordon – will read everything they write. Looking forward to hearing what you think of the rest of the books in the series! Oh and they also have romantic sci fi novellas, which I also loved.

    • Heidi says:

      YES! I can’t wait to read those novellas, I’m just about to the point where I’m going to need to. I love love love The Edge series, and I just finished Bayou Moon earlier this week. We’ll see by its end, and I feel insane saying it, but if the series keeps up like this I may like it more than Kate Daniels. Bayou Moon was my favorite Ilona Andrews novel yet, and I do like Cerise and William even better than Kate and Curran (I love Curran, but he’s a bit overbearing which bugs me). I just love this world so much!

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While the source for each book I review is posted within its review, please assume unless otherwise stated that books reviewed on Bunbury in the Stacks were received free from the author or publisher in exchange for an honest review.