I’m not a dedicated fan of Ilona Andrews – her stories are too edgy for me – but I can say that for her: she is reliable. I can count on her. Her writing is always solid, and the adventures are always engrossing. I know that if I pick up one of her books I’ll be entertained.
This book is no exception. It is the first in the series and it introduces a fascinating universe. There are two worlds side by side in it. One is our world, called Broken, with electricity but no magic. Another, a parallel world, called Weird, has magic but no modern technology. And then there is the Edge, a narrow ribbon of land between both worlds where both electricity and magic coexist... kind-of.
The Edgers live outside of either world. Some of them have magic, while others don’t. Some can cross the boundary either way, while others can’t. Their society doesn’t have a government or a police force, and mostly every family fends for itself, but they have built a tenuous balance, a community of sorts. When a magical, power-hungry madman moves into the Edge from the Weird and starts praying on its people, the Edgers have a choice: flee to the Broken or fight.
The plot of this novel is a fast and dangerous quest which brings together two vastly different individuals. Rose is an Edger, a dirt poor young woman, gifted with magic. She cleans offices in the Broken for a living, lives from paycheck to paycheck, and raises her two young brothers on her own. Declan is an aristocrat from the Weird, rich, powerful, and extremely well trained, both in martial arts and in magic. While they battle their dangerous foe together, their cooperation is mandatory, if they hope to survive and protect those they hold dear. They argue, and they bicker, and unexpectedly, their mutual love springs to life, no matter how much they both resent and fight it.
Rose and Declan’s interactions are interesting to watch, and Rose’s two young brothers add a humorous note to the story that otherwise thrums with tension and deadly perils. My only objection to this book lies with the protagonists. Actually, I have the same problem with every book of this author. I can’t feel an emotional connection to her characters. They are distant, a bit abstract, not exactly alive. They are good, as fantasy characters go, but can I imagine them in real life? No. They are literary constructs, and their artificiality prevents a deep sympathy. I don’t feel for them. I just want to know how their adventures end.
Otherwise, an engrossing read. I’m going to read other books of this series. I want to know how those other adventures would go too.