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Friday, February 8, 2013

'Fate's Edge' The Edge #3 by Ilona Andrews

From the BLURB:

Audrey Callahan left behind her life in the Edge, and she's determined to stay on the straight and narrow. But when her brother gets into hot water, the former thief takes on one last heist and finds herself matching wits with a jack of all trades... 

Kaldar Mar-a gambler, lawyer, thief, and spy-expects his latest assignment tracking down a stolen item to be a piece of cake, until Audrey shows up. But when the item falls into the hands of a lethal criminal, Kaldar realizes that in order to finish the job, he's going to need Audrey's help...

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.

‘The Edge’ is the third book in Ilona Andrews’s urban fantasy series, ‘The Edge’. 

Audrey Callahan was destined for burglary. She has a magical gift that allows her to open any lock, crack any safe . . . get behind all closed doors. She is a most valuable asset – as her family can attest to. Coming from a long line of thieves and grifters, Audrey’s family put her skills to use many times throughout her childhood. But when her older brother became a drug addict, they started putting her life in danger in order to steal enough money to continually send him to ineffective rehabilitation facilities. 

And then Audrey had enough, she ran away and abandoned her family

Or, at least, she thought she did. 

When Audrey’s father turns up on her doorstep, with an idea for one more heist to help get her brother clean, Audrey agrees. But only on the condition that he forget he ever had a daughter.

Unfortunately for Audrey and the Callahan clan, what they stole was priceless . . . and dangerous. And now a very powerful organization wants it back. 

Enter Kaldar Mar – a thief himself, he has recently turned into a spy and now works for the very powerful organisation that want the stolen item returned. He must work with Audrey to retrieve the item, prevent all hell breaking lose and save her neck. 

I have been very bad. I have not read an instalment in Ilona Andrew’s fantastic ‘The Edge’ series since 2010. This, despite absolutely loving both ‘On the Edge’ and ‘Bayou Moon’. And I really don’t have an excuse for my long absence from this series – I even had ‘Fate’s Edge’ patiently waiting on my shelf since 2011. I was excited to read ‘Fate’s Edge’ (possibly because I kept thinking that floating-head on the cover was Richard Armitage . . .  PHWOAR!). I really have no reason for being away this long . . .  but my deserved punishment is what a fantastic book ‘Fate’s Edge’ is, reminding me what I've been missing and why I should hurry up and finish the series with ‘Steel’s Edge’.

Something I've loved about this entire series is the heroines. I honestly can’t choose a favourite amongst them – but Audrey Callahan is probably edging (ha!) close to the top spot. She’s not had a great life, especially after her brother became an addict and her parents all but forgot about her (except when they needed her skills). She had no childhood to speak of, and in adulthood she has really been abandoned. But she never feels sorry for herself – she is hard-working, independent and when Kaldar Mar turns up to tell her what a complete catastrophe her theft has caused, she takes full responsibility and is keen to make amends. 

All of ‘The Edge’ heroines – Rose, Cerise and now Audrey – have been these great, tough, down-but-never-out women. They’ve all come from hard background for various reasons, but they rise above their situations, take control and reveal themselves to be pillars of strength to those around them. 

And, all of the women have had prickly beginnings with their hero’s. Audrey and Kaldar are no different – in fact, she both tasers and shoots a crossbow at him within a few hours of meeting him. Audrey knows Kaldar’s type – the slick Casanova conman who’s too handsome for his own good. Audrey knows his type, because she grew up with it. 

This man was a rogue, not because circumstances forced him to be a criminal but because he was born that way. He was probably conning his mother out of her milk the moment he could grin. He’d charm the clothes off a virgin in twenty minutes. And if the poor fool took him home, he’d drink her dad under the table, beguile her mother, charm her grandparents, and treat the girl to a night she’d never forget. In the morning, her dad would be sick with alcohol poisoning, the good silver would be missing together with the family car, and in a month, both the former virgin and her mother would be expecting.

Kaldar, for his part, tries treating Audrey like all the other women he’s ever come across – but he quickly discovers that she is nothing like any other woman he has ever met, and what starts out as a flirtation with ambition to conquer, turns into genuine affection and a desperation to win her heart.

Two characters from ‘On the Edge’ also feature heavily in this book - Rose’s brothers; necromancer George and changeling, Jack. Not really fitting in at their new home as young royalty ‘edgers’, Jack is coping particularly badly – his inner beast wants to break out and the confines of civility and politicking are grating on his last, wild nerve. So they both stow away with Kaldar and become part of his spying team, much to his chagrin and without Rose and Declan’s knowledge. 

I kinda forgot about Jack and George for a while there – but their appearance in ‘Fate’s Edge’ reminds readers of how far these characters have come since book one, and that there’s still plenty of surprises in store for them as they get older. George, in particular, is developing a reputation as a dashing young man who catches girl’s eyes. But it’s Jack I have a soft spot for; he feels so out of place and unwanted, and he can’t grasp girls yet or figure out how to make friends with people. I have high hopes for these two, I really do. The same way I’m hoping for a Julie spin-off in the ‘Kate Daniels’ world, I’m now hoping for a George & Jack young adult spin-off series in ‘The Egde’ world.

‘Fate’s Edge’ was a fantastic kick in the butt – just what I needed to remind me why I love this series and wish I hadn’t taken quite so long to get back into it. 


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