Friday, April 1, 2011
On the Edge by Ilona Andrews
I've been wanting to try some of Andrews books for a while now, and I just happened to run across the first book in what may be a new series for her at the library bookstore, so I grabbed it and gave it a try. Andrews has put together an interesting set of "worlds" here. There's our normal everyday mundane world, called the Broken, and the world of magical beings, called the Weird, and sandwiched between them is a place where people who are capable of living in either world live, the Edge. Beings from the Weird have a tough time crossing all the way over to the Broken, but they drift in and out of the Edge occasionally.
This story has a little Cinderella quality to it that was rather amusing. A woman named Rose, whose parents are long gone, is raising her two younger brothers in a town in the Edge. Rose has some pretty strong magic for someone who lives in the Edge, and it's caused her some problems with the other locals. One day, Prince Charming (not exactly, but close enough) rides out of the Weird looking for a bride, and sets his sights on her. Rose has been burned by a couple of relationships before, and she's not all that thrilled about his suit, so she sets him up with a series of three challenges that he must pass before he can win her hand, if not her heart. Typical fairy tale stuff, right?
But Prince Charming, aka Declan, Earl of Camarine, had other things on his mind when he entered the Edge than wooing and winning a lovely bride. One of the other nobles from the Weird, Casshorn, has gone crazy, stolen a device which creates "hounds" that seek out and consume anyone who has magic, and come to hide out in the Edge. Casshorn's hounds have attacked several people, and when they come after one of Rose's brothers, Declan is there to keep him safe.
Rose's brothers each have a totally different magic than their sister. Jack is a changeling, who is able to become a forest cat of some sort at will, and Georgie has the ability to re-animate the dead, though each one of the living dead he creates drains a little more of his life force away, and eventually if he doesn't stop raising more creatures, it will kill him.
This book is an interesting blend of fairy tale and comedy, like The Taming of the Shrew, and provides a pretty good foundation for some more tales to follow.