On the Edge (The Edge, Book 1) Mass Market Paperback – Sep 29 2009
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"Ilona Andrews just keeps getting better." -- Jeaniene Frost
"A fascinating world combined with pulse-pounding action and white-hot romance makes On the Edge a winner!" -- Jeaniene Frost
About the Author
Ilona Andrews is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing team. Together, they are the coauthors of the #1 New York Times bestselling Kate Daniels urban-fantasy series, including Magic Rises, Magic Slays, and Magic Bleeds and the romantic urban-fantasy novels of the Edge, including Steel's Edge, Fate's Edge, and Bayou Moon. They currently reside in Texas with their two children and numerous pets.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Andrews creates complex settings for her stories but stays in control of her universe.She has created fully realized, appealing characters and a fascinating story. She never relies on magical references to pad her stories although magic fills every page of her books.
Even her most minor characters are distinct and compelling. Turning the pages is like looking into a series of paintings in which words are made flesh.
I definitely recommend this book and have already ordered everything else available by Ilona Andrews. She is one of the most skilled and best fantasy writers I have read.
But as the action started, the story got better, and I will read the next book in the series.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I picked up On the Edge knowing I was in for good writing, but I thought I'd be able to read a couple of chapters and then put it down to make dinner. As it turns out, the spouse was subjected to frozen pizza for dinner that night, because I could not put the book down. When I finally had no choice (work, what a pest!), I thought about it when I wasn't reading. I couldn't wait to pick it up again and get back to the characters and the world. From the moment Rose and her two young brothers, changeling Jack and necromancer George appear on the page, I'm completely hooked.
Some world building background: The Weird is a world that mirrors our own, but with magic instead of technology. For example, their Airforce flies wyverns, not jets - but they do have an Airforce. They even have special forces. Our world, called the Broken, has no magic at all, and if an Edger stays in it for too long, they'll lose what magic they have, permanently. Edgers like Rose and her family are mixed blood descendants of both the Weird and the Broken. Many of them have magic, but not enough to be welcome in the magical Weird, and too much to want to give it up and go live a "normal" life in our world, the Broken. (If they even could - many of the Edgers weren't born in the Broken, and therefore don't have things like birth certificates or social security cards.) They survive on the Edge, a strip of land between the Weird and the Broken, stealing electricity from across the Border and using Ward stones to keep out the worst of the dangerous creatures the Weird deposits in their Wood.
Rose and her two brothers, Jack and Georgie, are among the most powerful of the people on the Edge. In fact, bluebloods from the Weird have been showing up for years, trying to steal Rose away so she can pop out highly magical babies for them (power seems to be a big part of the pecking order in the Weird.) But Rose isn't having it. When Declan shows up, she tells him what she told all the others - no, I won't sleep with you, I won't marry you, go away. But Declan is different. He doesn't try to force his way past her Wards - he offers her a challenge. Give him three tasks, and if he can complete them, she will belong to him. If he fails, he'll leave the Edge and never return. Rose reluctantly agrees.
But coming up with tasks guaranteed to make Declan fail is soon the least of Rose's problems. Evil, terrible hounds have started showing up and trying to eat people, particularly magical people, which puts Rose, her brothers, and their paternal grandmother Éléonore at the top of the list. Together, Declan and Rose have to stop them, or soon there won't be any Edgers left.
As with the Kate Daniels books, the worldbuilding here is top notch. You gain a very clear understanding of what things mean and how they work without a lot of big infodumps of exposition. It's just woven seamlessly into the story, like Rose having to pack up the guns to drive to Wal-Mart. Rose is the primary POV character, so much of what is revealed comes through her eyes. But occasionally we switch to someone else - one of her brothers, her grandmother, one of the other residents. These are invaluable glimpses as well. I particularly enjoy the switches to George or Jack. Although they are 8 and 10 years old, Andrews doesn't "dumb down" for the kids. They are intelligent, normal kids with heartbreaking problems - George can't stop himself from raising things he cares about from the dead - puppies, birds, cats, his Grandfather - even though it's slowly killing him to keep them all animated. Jack is a changeling; he can change shape into a cat, and he's subject to the instincts and whims of how a cat would think.
I defy you not to fall head over heels in love with them!
Rose has the rarest gift of all, something that makes her so coveted, she has to deter "suitors" with a shotgun. With their mother dead and their father long gone, it's up to Rose and her grandmother to raise the boys and give them the best life they possibly can. Rose has sacrificed her own dreams in the process.
But don't worry. Declan wants to give her new ones - of him! Gorgeous, arrogant, and powerful, Declan could easily be a stereotypical alpha male character, but he's not. Just as 3-dimensional as Curran or Raphael (of the aforementioned Kate Daniels series), he has his own story to tell, and his own agenda beyond Rose. There's also the mysterious William, a man Rose meets in the Broken who wants to date her, and not for her power. Each of them have secrets that are dangerous and important to the Edge's survival - and Rose's.
I can't say much more about On the Edge without giving too much away. But the writing is fantastic, gripping, and it's hands down one of the best books I've read this year. I can't recommend it enough.
The premise, while interesting, does not develop into a plot that is captivating. The characters are all one dimensional, and the book is at times painful to read because it far too often sounds like its written from some awkward and unattractive teenage girl's dream diary. The way men pursue and treat Rose is borderline unbelievable. Declan has absolutely no flaws of which to speak, unless you consider earned confidence a flaw (which Rose does, for whatever reason). I know Ilona Andrews is supposed to be a male/female team, but wherever the writing from a former Army sergeant is supposed to be, I don't see it... unless he is charged with describing the battle scenes, which are almost as bad as the "fauning over Declan" scenes. Essentially, every combat scene can be summed up by Declan cutting a "hound" in half with his sword.
That said, I read the book in its entirety. It isn't horrible, it just isn't good. It's a formulaic female romance novel that just happens to be set in a fantasy world. I write this review because that just wasn't made clear enough when I saw the rating and read some of the reviews when deciding to purchase this book. I wouldn't recommend this to any male readers, or for any woman who isn't constantly day dreaming about a Prince Charming coming along and rescuing her from all of life's troubles.
Unfortunately, I bought all 3 available books in the series, but I won't be reading the second two. Within 15 minutes of starting the 2nd book I already realized I am about to read the same novel all over again, only with two different characters taking on the roles of Rose and Declan. A quick glance at the cover of the 3rd book showed me all I needed to know as to what exactly this series is and will continue to be.
Rose Drayton lives on the Edge--the narrow strip of land between the Broken and the Weird. Yes, you read that right. She and the two little brothers she's raising live a dangerous half-life in between a world where magic is myth (the Broken) and another where it is king (the Weird). Edgers, as they are known, have their feet in both worlds but don't seem to belong to either. They, unlike, the denizens of the Broken are aware of the Weird in all its incomprehensibility. And, unlike the inhabitants of the Weird, they are awkwardly connected t0 (even long for at times) the banality of the Broken. When she was eighteen, Rose was effectively ostracized by the whole of the local town for letting loose a stream of magic and then refusing to marry one of the hometown boys. With her parents out of the picture, two half-magical little boys to take care of and train, and determined to control her own life, Rose takes an illegal job in the Broken and attempts to fly under the radar. And it works. Sort of. Until Lord Declan Camarine appears on her porch step, sword strapped to his back absolutely reeking blue blood Weird, announcing she will be his come hell or high water. Rose responds...less than favorably. And we have ourselves a story!
Once again Ilona Andrews plunges me into a fully realized world without a by your leave. And I love it. Like Kate's Atlanta it is full of complexity and contradiction and a wonderfully messy history. But it is also wilder, in a sense. Rose carries a rifle and she has to use it more than she'd like. The people in the Edge are almost clan-like in their politics. Feuds happen and they last for decades. Payment is harsh and exacted when and where the wronged party decides it will be. This series has a different focus than the more traditionally urban fantasy Kate Daniels series and, though in the end I didn't love it quite as much, I loved the world building and the children who actually seemed real to me. ON THE EDGE is definitely heavier on the romance side of the urban fantasy spectrum and, as a result, Rose and Declan's relationship is more central than Kate and Curran's in the Magic series. Occasionally the descriptions and general admiring of each other's forms got a bit cloying for me, but the nice thing is that they are both well-rounded, compelling characters. At first I wasn't sure about Declan. He does start out a bit looming, take no prisoners, you will be mine for my taste. But there is more there than brawn and arrogance. And it is a very intriguing more. As far as Rose goes, she's had it rough and is still full of fire--just the way I like my UF heroines--but (and this is key) she has the creds and the depth to back it up. She's tough and at the same time she longs for education and training to harness and develop her powers. But instead she spends her days flogging her guts out to support her little brothers. She loves them unconditionally and is determined their lives will be better than hers. I love how full she feels as a character. I believed in her and I liked her. As for the boys, Jack and Georgie, you won't stand a chance against their charms and that is all. There is that trademark humor throughout the story as well and it really held the whole thing together, especially when the particularly creepy elements started rearing their ugly heads.
Try imagining reading and getting ready for work at the same time--quite hazardous, don't recommend it with coffee lol--. From the very start, On The Edge, kept my attention engaged. The world-building was fabulous, you aren't inundated and suffocated with facts--somehow it just flowed. I loved the romance, the interesting characters, and the awesome villain---not to mention the hero! The heroine is more than a match for him! I love how she HAD TO WORK for her powers (just like Kate!!), she trained for it--it's a bit annoying that most of the books out in this genre comes with effortlessly-super-powerful heroines. I'd love to be Wonder Woman too but it just doesn't make it as believable when you know the heroine WORKED for it. I'm not going to give you an in-dept review of the story, I want you to read it and see it for yourself. The only thing I complain about is that now I have two series of Illona Andrews that I'll be jonesing for! Ahh!
The idea of the world was interesting. The Broken, The Weird, The Edge... all very interesting ideas. Now, I didn't really enjoy the characters or the execution of the book, but kudos for a unique world! The biggest drawback of this story was the romance. It was ridiculous!
Poor emo girl is hunted for her special magic. She trusts no one and must protect herself and her brothers from the hateful world that is against her. Enter big strapping man... He's a blueblood so of course he's a jerk. Rose certainly treats him that way. She runs her mouth making assumptions and basically making herself look like a harpy.
Now, Declan is no prize. He takes Rose's assumptions and runs with them. He swaggers around with a puffed up chest acting like the man. I know he does this partially to irritate Rose, but a lot of it is his own personality too. I'm sorry, but that much ego running around is more repellent than not. It's like the author read a bunch of bad romances and decided to incorporate all those irritating traits.
Rose is so not the type of heroine I was hoping to read about. She's bitter and prideful to the point of having tunnel vision. Anyone who talks to her brothers has to be a child molester because no one likes kids right? She's constantly denying anyone the ability to do a nice thing for her family because of the "Drayton pride". I got tired of reading about their pride.
For all Rose's supposed role as head of the family she sure didn't have any control over her brothers. Now, I understand that children will misbehave, but her brothers displayed a willful disregard for the situation that Rose was in. If there had been real danger in the situation Rose would have been screwed. Rose thought there was real danger though, why didn't she take control of them? She babied them and didn't tell them how things really were because she didn't want to scare them. As a result her brothers ran wild and acted like brats. I think it was supposed to be cute but it wasn't.
Added to the irritating characters was the sheer fluffiness of the world. Nothing seemed to be taken seriously and everything seemed to be easily solved. Even the nobles of The Weird that Rose met (who were very high ranking) weren't the least bit arrogant. They didn't look down on Rose at all! Everything was fluffy bunnies and kittens and rainbows by the time the book ended.
I would have given the book only one star if wasn't for the world. I really liked the idea of it, but the actual story was not for me.