I’m a fan of the Kate Daniels series, so it was a natural that I would try their other stories. On the Edge is the first book in a series of four books set around the Edge, an area that intersects the worlds of The Broken, our current world, and the world of the Weird, the magical. While it has many of the wonderful trademarks of the Andrew’s writing talent, including fascinating world-building, humor, and interesting creatures, it also has a number of romance tropes. Enjoyment will depend on tolerance.
In this first book, Rose is living a hand-to-mouth existence taking care of her two younger brothers after everyone but their grandmother has died or disappeared. She’s working as a maid in the Broken, trying to earn enough money to keep them fed, with gas for the car and new shoes for school. One day, a handsome noble from the Weird appears at the edge of her property. They make a bargain that if he successfully completes three tasks, Rose will come with him as a bride. Meanwhile, evil creatures are appearing in the Edge, attacking magic users. There’s a new man in town who wants to date Rose and her past is continuing to haunt her.
My objections had nothing to do with the world, and everything to do with the standard romance frame of Rose as a prickly, independent and hard-headed woman with a troubled past (through no fault of her own), and the arrogant, handsome and talented man who intrudes on her life. True to romance tradition, Andrews wastes far too much word-count on his chiseled shoulders, narrow waist and aristocratic demeanor. She attempts to drive him away by being rude, he protects her family, she realizes she was making assumptions, she wins his admiration and respect with her skills and drive, vice versa, sexual entendre, twue love. It’s sweetly done but the staple twist–just as she is coming to trust him–only reinforces the predictability. As a result, the characters of Rose and the romantic interest are fairly standard, although the repartee elevates it a bit. (view spoiler)
That said, other characters seemed well developed. The Big Evil was standard crazy but still menacing. Rose’s younger brothers George and Jack were fascinating, and even better, sounded like young boys. The complicated relationship dynamics of the Edgers seemed believable. In many ways, it echoes all the things I enjoy about Kate Daniels, though it lacked the fullness developed in that series over multiple books. Those who have read that series first may find that this version is essentially Kate Daniels Lite. The HEA was predictable, but generally sweet.
Ultimately, not a bad way to spend an hour or two.