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Friday, October 22, 2010

'Bayou Moon' The Edge #2 by Ilona ANDREWS

From the BLURB:

Cerise Mar and her unruly clan are cash poor but land rich, claiming a large swathe of the Mire, the Edge swamplands between the state of Louisiana and the Weird. When her parents vanish, her clan’s long-time rivals are suspect number one.

But all is not as it seems. Two nations of the Weird are waging a cold war fought by feint and espionage, and their conflict is about to spill over into the Edge—and Cerise’s life. William, a changeling soldier who left behind the politics of the Weird, has been forced back into service to track down a rival nation’s spymaster.

When William’s and Cerise’s missions lead them to cross paths, sparks fly—but they’ll have to work together if they want to succeed ... and survive

‘Bayou Moon’ is the second book in Ilona Andrew’s paranormal romance series, ‘The Edge’.

The ‘Edge’ universe is a complicated one. It is our world infused with magic and with other dimensions and universes. There is the ‘Weird’ and the ‘Broken’ - alternate universes that are mirror images of each other. Same continents, same oceans – only slightly skewed. Then there is the ‘Edge’ – a thin strip of universe that divides the Weird and the Broken. It is in the Edge that those with little or no magic exist – aware of the alternate universes, and having longer life spans, but most of them are unable to cross over to the more magical Weird.

It is in the Edge that Cerise Mar lives, on a bit of swamp land called the Mire – with the state of Louisiana on one side, and the Weird on the other. Cerise is the eldest daughter of the Mar clan – called ‘rats’ by the locals for their family numbers but poor social status. The Mar’s are a rag-tag family of gamblers, ex-soldiers and mad scientists and for as long as anyone can remember they have been in a family feud against neighbouring land-owners, the Sherillee’s.

The blood feud is heating up when Cerise’s mother and father, Genevieve and Gustave, go missing and the Mar’s suspect the Sherillee’s of foul play. . .

Meanwhile, an ex changeling soldier called William is residing in the Broken, having escaped the Weird and military service. But all that is about to change – he will be forced to leave his cosy trailer, action figurines and CSI-watching when he is compelled to exact vengeance on an old foe. A man called Spider works for secret organization, ‘The Hand’. . . he hates changelings and has been murdering changeling children for his own blood sport. But worse than that, Spider is looking for something in the Mire that could gift him with great power and strength. . . and it’s up to William to stop him.

While travelling the Mire’s oozing swamplands, William and Cerise cross paths and reluctantly join forces when they discover that William’s nemesis and Cerise’s parents are linked to the same mission. . .

Ilona Andrews have done it again, much to nobody’s surprise. This husband and wife writing team are an urban fantasy juggernaut and with each book release they get better and better.

‘Bayou Moon’ comes on the heels of first book ‘On the Edge’, in which William was first introduced but lost the girl and exited with his tail between his legs. William was a cagey conundrum in that first book, but fans sensed something deeply dark and compelling about him nonetheless. Fans were right to be fascinated. William is a complex character, with a tragic background and the weight of the world on his shoulders. He is Heathcliff-tragic, but never ‘woe is me’. William is fiercely independent and accepting of his hard lot in life (a childhood spent in a military training facility!) and as a result he has a very ‘get the job done’ attitude that is a teensy-bit psychotic, but still impressive. Above all else though, William’s fascination lies in his secret desires. He wants a family. He is dumb-struck by the very concept of ‘family’, and cannot fathom what that sort of unconditional, supportive love would feel like. I loved William! And I especially loved his very befitting romance with Cerise Mar. . .

Cerise is one ballsy chick. When her parents are kidnapped she becomes the leader of her family clan – but really, Cerise has been in the pilot seat for many years now ever since her father quietly handed the financial reins over to her. Cerise has the weight of her family on her shoulders, but she shoulders the burden with aplomb and hardly a bitter word. She is so strong and independent, but underneath her armour is a young woman denied a life – denied a chance at love and marriage. Hell, the closest Cerise has come to ‘love’ is fighting her enemy, the eldest brother of the Sherillee clan, Lagar Sherillee.

Together Cerise and William are a complicated romance, but completely compelling. . .
I thought Curran and Kate had an auspicious first meeting with “here kitty, kitty” but William and Cerise take the cake for best first impressions;
The girl showed him her stained finger and reached toward him slowly, aiming for his face.
“No,” William said. “Bad hobo.”
The finger kept coming closer.
“You touch me, I’ll break it off.”
From there on in William and Cerise experience light-heartedness with one another that they don’t exhibit with anyone else. And from antagonistic flirtations to a heated repartee, these two are an impressive match. Even more so for William’s often strange courtship ritual;
They swarmed her. She whirled, cutting through them, slicing limbs in half, severing muscle and bone. Blood sprayed, she paused again, and the fighters around her fell without a single moan.
Four seconds and the deck was empty. Nothing moved.
She was the most beautiful think he had ever seen.
He would have to fight her before this was over, just to find out if he could beat her.
The ‘Edge’ series, much more so than ‘Kate Daniels’, offers a lot of intricate politics and subplots. While the series overall is more romantic than ‘Kate Daniels’, the political underpinnings are crucial to the book universe and story. There’s a lot of double-talk about the Hand, and the Mirror – secret organizations. And if you aren’t concentrating, then a lot of vital information will be lost. At times all the information about back-door dealings and crazy political villains tires when what you really want is William + Cerise. But Ilona Andrews are masters of world-building, and as tedious as the inundation of information can be, it pays off in the end.

I loved ‘Bayou Moon’. I thought Declan in ‘On the Edge’ would be my definite favourite of this series, but William takes the cake. I love this series as much as ‘Kate Daniels’ and I can’t wait for more ‘Edge’ in 2011.

5/5

5 comments:

  1. Yay - so glad you like it! I liked On the Edge but loved Bayou Moon. Cerise and Declan were both fabulous characters.

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  2. I agree with every word. I LOVED their first meeting...LOLOL.

    This writing team comes up with the BEST characters. Just awesome.

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  3. Great review Danielle. :) I enjoyed On the Edge - but absolutely loved Bayou Moon. I can't wait for more.

    M

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  4. Loved the review! William & Cerise make such a great couple.

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  5. awesome review!!! My copy must have arrived in Brazil, so I can only read it when iM back =/

    Love their books! sooo good!

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