60 of 61 people found the following review helpful
A mundane fairytale,
This review is from: On the Edge (The Edge, Book 1) (Mass Market Paperback)
Once upon a time there was a girl named Rose who lived on the Edge between two worlds... the Broken and the Weird. The Broken is our world, a place where magic isn't real. The Weird is a realm of magic where blueblood aristocrats rule. The Edge is a strip of land between the two worlds where people who belong to neither congregate -- the worldbuilding is rather complex and it took me a little while to keep all the worlds straight, but after a few chapters I was fine. Those who live in the Edge have their own traveller like community and social rules; plus their own touch of magical power.
The novel opens with Rose attempting to keep together her fragmented family; having been left to fend for herself and her two little brothers, Georgie and Jack. Aside from their somewhat batty (but awesome) grandmother they're all alone in the world. Rose is the bread-winner and the pressure of responsibility weighs heavily on her shoulders. Something she spends much of the book dealing with internally. Compounded by the usual mundane issues Rose has magical ones too: Georgie can't help but raise the dead and Jack is a changeling who frequently runs off into the Wood not to be heard from again for days. Talk about problems. Rose is a worrier. She worries about money, about the boys, about her horrid job -- she is a heroine who can't seem to catch a break. It seems to be one bad thing after another for her. Indeed, she's barely keeping their heads above water when things suddenly go to Hel in a hand basket. A flood of magic-hungry creatures start attacking the inhabitance of the Edge and to make matters worse, a blueblood (Declan Carmarine) from the Weird has chosen this precise moment to trample into Rose's life determined to have her.
'On the Edge' is a well written novel that I would say is more of a romantic fantasy than an urban one. It's quite high fantasy-ish in places, which I liked. The characterisation is superb and the worldbuilding is absorbing and intricate. I particularly enjoyed hearing about the Weird, and the concept of the Red Legion makes me hopeful that these areas will be further fleshed out in the future.
The book is written in third person and swaps around to various perspectives throughout the narrative which I felt added a nice layer of complexity. Even though I adored Rose, found her life and past both sympathetic and interesting I liked hearing from the other colourful inhabitance of the Edge as well as her. In fact, I really loved Rose's little brothers Georgie and Jack -- the stars of the novel in many ways. Two boys who both grow wonderfully during the course of the story. Another character I liked was William who remains an enigmatic presence throughout. Apparently the sequel will be his story. Grandmother Drayton was the voice of reason and I enjoyed her reminisces; the words of a woman who one could tell had lived and loved and hurt and seen it all.
If you're expecting something similar to the Kate Daniels series then you'll be disappointed. The two are very different despite one or two shades of similarities. There's a lot more romance in Edge compared to the Kate series -- even though I love the highly unusual relationship between Kate and Curran, I really disliked Rose/Declan. I'm not much of a romance fan so I found the romantic parts to be quite the chore. I also never warmed to Declan. I didn't see anything in him that made him stand out/different from the myriad of other male characters like him. With Curran it never felt as if the authors were afraid to tow the line... to have him say and do things that might make you hate him. With Declan it was as if everything was designed to make you love him; it just didn't work for me. Rose is tough, self-aware and self-sacrificing like Kate. But they never felt like the same character to me: Rose isn't as vulnerable/loner-ish and snarky as Kate. She's a woman with familial obligations and people who depend on her. Also a lot of her issues are more mundane. While this book was lighter in tone than the Kate Daniels series it lacked the abundance of humour so prevalent in the Kate books. Edge is more rustic and fairytale like than gritty and dark like KD.
The writing itself was tight and all the plots wove together into a satisfying whole. I could have done without the romance, personally, but that was as integral to the progression of the overall arc as the magic eating villain. Overall, I enjoyed this book and read it quickly! Always a good sign. There's no way this series will replace the Kate series in my heart but I look forward to the sequel about William!
P.S. the first chapter of 'Magic Bleeds' the fourth Kate book is included at the end of the book.
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Initial post: 22 Oct 2010 15:06:30 BDT
Thanks Persephone - I can always rely on your reviews to help me decide whether a fantasy book is worth buying ;)
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