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On the Edge by Ilona Andrews
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On the Edge

by Ilona Andrews

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Series: The Edge (1)

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There’s the Broken (with big box stores, vehicles, and the IRS), there’s the Weird (with nobility, magic, and a strict hierarchy), and then there’s the Edge where those that are a bit of both reside. Rose Drayton and her young brothers live in the Edge: Rose works as a cleaner in the Broken while the boys go to school. Then Declan Carmine shows up from the Weird putting Rose to a challenge even while they deal with strange creatures turning up in the Edge. All sorts of sparks fly as Rose is pushed to her max magical abilities, Declan’s patience is tested half a dozen ways, and the Edge residents will either stand together or fall prey to these creatures.

This was a very fun book. I really liked the world building, even though it was pretty straight forward once laid out. The Edge is a place without a law presence, so family ties and alliances usually work as the backbone for solving grievances. I especially like how guns are treated as a necessity in the Edge and not toys nor for sport. Rose has trained her brothers to respect guns at all times which I really appreciated. Some few folks in the Broken know about Edgers and they know they can exploit them, such as Rose’s boss paying her under the table and demanding crazy work hours. We learn some little about the Weird through Declan later in the book and I hope the Weird is explored much more in later books in this series.

Much of the story is told through Rose’s eyes and she’s only experienced the Edge and the Broken. Her parents aren’t in the picture so she has had to work extra hard to keep the boys clothed, fed, happy, and in school. Her grandmother lives nearby but Rose has her pride and will only accept so much help. Her strong magic has made her a target in the Edge, where the only law is that which the residents apply through might. We learn in little snippets throughout the story why she is so distrusting of nearly everyone. Being hunted, kidnapped, tricked, and trapped for your magic tends to make one a little skittish.

Declan also has his secrets and traumas. He was interesting to begin with – from the Weird, of noble birth, and what brings him to the Edge is a bit of an unknown. At first, Rose is very concerned about her brothers’s safety around him, but once he saves them once or twice, she starts to wonder if it is possible for him to be of noble character as well as birth. Declan has quite the history, some of which comes into play in this story, but I did find that his Supper Commando background was a little over kill and really wasn’t necessary to keep me interested in his story arc. Through him, we learn some interesting things about the Weird – such as how differently shape shifters are treated there versus the Edge. At times I felt that poor Declan as suffering from culture shock, which made him more human and endearing.

Jack and George, Rose’s two brothers, are my second favorite characters. OK, maybe they come before Declan. They were very well written as each has their own challenge in life, and at a young age! At first, we aren’t too sure what’s going on with either of them. Jack is always distracted by shiny or flittery things. Meanwhile, George seems to have such a big heart that any little deceased critter nearly makes him cry. As the story unfolds, we learn more about each and their challenges seem scary, cool, and a little sad all at the same time. Rose is doing the best with the knowledge she has, but luckily Declan has forced himself into their lives. He has some insights that might prove key to lightening the load for each of the boys. There’s several side characters that shine out as well: William, a stranger new to town that also has an interest in comic books; a neighbor’s daft granma and her teddy bear collection; the resident pretty boy/bully; Rose’s coworker in the Broken. All together, it’s a very interesting cast.

The plot was riveting. We have this intriguing world, these fascinating characters, and now the author gives them all a potentially devastating foe! Of course, our heroes Rose and Declan don’t know at first this is truly what they are up against. There’s some random monsters lurking about the forests of the Edge, and at first folks are able to deal with them on their own. But when the bodies start showing up, and Rose gets a direct threat from the person behind it, that’s when the Edgers start to consider coming together to defeat this intruder. The story builds and builds until we get a big fight at the end that takes more than just Rose or Declan to win. It was impressive!

Sadly, there is only one sex scene in this book. Now it is a hot sex scene, even if it is short lived. It was fueled by the possibility that their little part of the world would end, so it was firey and desperate.

All together, this was a fun urban fantasy romance and I look forward to enjoying more Ilona Andrews novels. I hear the Kate Daniels series is especially good.

Narration: I liked Renée Raudman’s performance for this book. She was great with Rose’s voice and I really liked her kid voices for Jack and Georgie, though I did sometimes get them confused. She had a hard edge of masculinity for Declan, especially when he was being a bit of a stuffed shirt. ( )
  DabOfDarkness | Aug 14, 2016 |
Why did I wait this long to read this?! ( )
  Aneris | Aug 12, 2016 |
3.5 - didn't hook on to the characters right away but they grew on me. Got a little impatient with some of the action later but the ending was stellar sweet. Review soon. ( )
  ErinPaperbackstash | Jun 14, 2016 |
On The Edge
4 Stars

Readers expecting a Kate Daniels type Urban Fantasy are bound to be disappointed as On the Edge is more paranormal romance than UF even though the writing style, world building, humor and characterization are all trademark Andrews.

Although set in modern times, the book has an almost historical romance vibe to it perhaps due to the construction of parallel dimensions and the conflict established between the main characters.

The setting consists of three co-existing realms: The Broken, a technological world like our own, the Weird, a feudal like society with nobles and retainers where magic abounds, and the Edge, a ribbon of land in between whose rustic inhabitants possess magic to varying degrees and are able to move between worlds with ease.

The heroine, Rose, is an Edger struggling to support her younger brothers in a society that views her as a commodity due to her powerful magic. In contrast, the hero, Declan, is a peer or "blueblood" from the Weird whose sense of entitlement and superiority immediately set Rose on edge. Their relationship gets off to a rocky start but the sparks are definitely there and he becomes more likable once his actions, motivations and personality are fleshed out.

The underlying plot revolves around a dangerous threat from the Weird which forces Rose and Declan to work together to save the people of the Edge. As is the norm for Andrews, the villain is a seriously nasty piece of work, the action scenes are exciting and the secondary cast is well written from Rose's obnoxious ex-boyfriend to her adorable brothers as well as Declan's troubled friend and the people of the village with their unique quirks and mannerisms.

All in all, On The Edge is an entertaining read with excellent world building, great characters and an engaging storyline. Looking forward to continuing with the series. ( )
  Lauren2013 | Jun 1, 2016 |
Living on the Edge, Rose lives very much between worlds, desperately trying to scrabble an existence while living between worlds and with scant resources.

Even her magic did little but make life more difficult – drawing her to far too much negative attention. The latest of which is Declan, magical aristocrat who has his own agenda and is definitely going to draft Rose into it.

While Declan is a problem, the beasts also moving into the Edge are a far more lethal threat demanding attention.

Another Ilona Andrews series, so much glee! Given some of the books I’ve been reading lately, I think I deserve this. Of course, I risked disappointment – but I’ve never read a book by Ilona Andrews I didn’t love. And this is no different

I love the world building of this. The whole concept of the three worlds – Earth (Broken), the magical world (the Weird), rich in magic and, clinging between the two, able to travel to each but not part of either, The Edge

The people of the Edge have magic, but rarely anything like enough magic to compare with The Weird. They eke a living on the edge of both realms, trading with both, working in the Broken without the resources that could access as full members of the society. They live on a tiny sliver of land with very little resources, desperately trying to scratch a living. And with magic – which is not always benevolent as curses and odd creatures can abound. For people on the very edge of their resources, the extra randomness that magic can bring just makes life even harder

This is really well shown with Rose’s siblings – George has the awesome power of reincarnation: except the cost of it and his compassion is killing him. It’s a terrible conflict – how do you tell a child not to care? While, a shapeshifter, doesn’t quite think like a human which Rose has to gently work round (which awesomely contrasts with yet more in depth and complicated world building from how The Weird treats their shapeshifters).

As ever with an Iona Andrews novel, we have a lot of detail – into how magic works, into the world building of both The Weird (I love their concept of how aristocracy as an almost meritocracy – it’s such an original little concept), into the politics and into the daily lives of the people of The Edge. There’s so much detail so well conveyed but none of it delivered via clumsy info dumping. We have so much here but none of it is delivered awkwardly or in a way that feels unnatural. It works, like it.

Rose’s story is also an excellent one. Her struggles raising her brothers. Her relationship with her grandmother. Her difficult childhood and parents (yes, she’s a semi-orphan and yes that’s a tired trope. I also don’t like how her mother was portrayed – it was sympathetic and surprisingly non-judgemental given her mother’s mental illness contributed to her sleeping with other women’s husbands, but it also served to really create Rose’s story of burden and sorrow rather than actually flesh her out into a character or person in her own right).

She has great power, but that makes her desirable and useful – it makes her a resource to exploit in a place that has few resources and fewer defences. People tried to kidnap her, force her to become a broodmare: she’s wary but she’s also young and actually wants a life. I like the conflict and complexity of her

The problem is that that complexity comes with a whole lot of her hating a lot of the women of the community which is sad to see – but she does build a rapport to a degree through the book

I was extremely leery of romance in this book. Declan arrived on the scene and there’s a whole lot of coercion there. But the way it’s handled does an excellent job of breaking a lot of the tropes I hate when we see romances that involve “dubious consent.” There was a lot of effort to ensure that Rose’s own wants and desires were depicted and communicated while Rose herself was very careful to leave herself with protections and safeguards. Even when affection developed she never trusted him and I really appreciate that. I appreciate a protagonist who doesn’t throw caution and common sense to the wind because her heart and/or loins have spoken. Especially when they’re a protagonist on whom other people rely. Common sense and romance can exist at the same time! No, really!

The whole concept of The Edge zone is used to excellently depict class differences. People living in straddle worlds but straddling those worlds leaves them with very little opportunity. They have no legal existence in either world and not enough resources or structure in their own world to build more than the basics of their own society. They are incredibly vulnerable. On Broken they have few to no legal rights (something they often pay huge amounts of money for in order to get even the limited protection that legal existence brings them). The people of The Edge in general, and Rose specifically, work minimum wage jobs, often under the table and desperately try to scrape by. Rose’s poverty and the pain is causes her in raising her two younger brothers, the things she can’t provide them, the shortages they have and the constant worry and negotiation she has to live with as she juggles their scant resources and has to make hard choices with what they have

Read More ( )
  FangsfortheFantasy | May 25, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ilona Andrewsprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Raudman, ReneeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To my husband. I bet you didn't see that one coming.
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"Rosie!" Grandpa's bellow shook the foundations of the house.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Rose Drayton lives on the Edge, between two worlds: on one side lies the Broken, a place where people shop at Wal-Mart and magic is nothing more than a fairy tale; on the other is the Weird, a realm where blueblood aristocrats rule and the strength of your magic can change your destiny. Only Edgers like Rose can easily travel between the worlds – but they never truly belong in either.

Rose thought that if she practiced her magic, she could build a better life for herself. But things didn’t turn out the way she planned, and now she works an 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 Rose (and her power).

But when a terrible danger invades the Edge – a flood of creatures hungry for magic – Declan and Rose must overcome their differences and work together to destroy them, or the beasts will devour the Edge and everyone in it…
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Rose Drayton lives on the Edge, between two worlds: on one side lies the Broken, a place where people shop at Wal-Mart and magic is nothing more than a fairy tale; on the other is the Weird, a realm where blueblood aristocrats rule and the strength of your magic can change your destiny. Only Edgers like Rose can esily travel between the worlds, but they never truly belong in either.… (more)

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