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William sipped some beer from the bottle of Modelo Especial and gave the Green Arrow his hard stare. The Green Arrow, being a chunk of painted plastic, didn't rise to the challenge. The action figure remained impassive, exactly where he'd put it, leaning against the porch post of William's house. Technically it was a shack rather than a house, William reflected, but it was a roof over his head and he wasn't one to complain.
From that vantage point, the Green Arrow had an excellent view of William's action figure army laid out on the porch, and if he were inclined to offer any opinions, he would've been in a great position to do so. William shrugged. Part of him realized that talking to an action figure was bordering on insane, but he had nobody else to converse with at the moment and he needed to talk this out. The whole situation was crazy.
"The boys sent a letter," William said.
The Green Arrow said nothing.
William looked past him to where the Wood rustled just beyond his lawn. Two miles down the road, the Wood would become simply woods, regular Georgia pine and oak. But here, in the Edge, the trees grew vast, fed by magic, and the forest was old. The day had rolled into a lazy, long summer evening, and small nameless critters, found only in the Edge, chased each other through the limbs of the ancient trees before the darkness coaxed predators from their lairs.
The Edge was an odd place, stuck between two worlds. On one side lay the Broken, with no magic but plenty of technology to compensate. And rules. And laws. And paperwork. The damn place ran on paperwork. The Broken was where he made his money nowadays, working construction.
On the other side lay the Weird, a mirror to the Broken, where magic ruled and old blueblood families held power. He was born in that world. In the Weird, he'd been an outcast, a soldier, a convict, and even a noble for a few brief weeks. But the Weird kept kicking him in the teeth the entire time, until he finally turned his back on it and left.
The Edge belonged to neither world. A perfect place for the man who fit in nowhere. That was how he first met the boys, George and Jack. They lived in the Edge, with their sister Rose. Rose was sweet and pretty and he'd liked her. He'd liked what they had, she and the kids, a warm little family. When William watched them together, a part of him hurt deep inside. He now realized why: he'd known even then that a family like that was forever out of his reach.
Still, he tried with Rose. Might have had a chance, too, but then Declan showed up. Declan, a blueblood and a soldier, with his flawless manners and handsome face. "We used to be friends," William told the Green Arrow. "I did beat the shit out of him before he left."
The joke was on him, because Declan left with Rose and took the boys with him. William let them go. Jack required a lot of careful care and Declan would raise him well. And Rose needed someone like Declan. Someone who had his shit together. She had enough trouble with the boys as it was. She sure as hell didn't need another charity project and he didn't want to be one.
It had been almost two years since they'd left. For two years William had lived in the Edge, where the trickle of magic kept the wild within him alive. He worked his job in the Broken, watched TV on weekends, drank lots of beer, collected action figures, and generally pretended that the previous twenty-six years of his life had not occurred. The Edgers, the few families who lived between the worlds like he did, kept to themselves and left him alone.
Most people from either the Broken or the Weird had no idea the other world existed, but occasionally traders passed through the Edge, traveling between worlds. Three months ago, Nick, one of the traveling traders, mentioned he was heading into the Weird, to the Southern Provinces. William put together a small box of toys on a whim and paid the man to deliver it. He didn't expect an answer. He didn't expect anything at all. The boys had Declan. They would have no interest in him.
Nick came by last night. The boys had written back.
William picked up the letter and looked at it. It was short. George's writing was perfect, with letters neatly placed. Jack's looked like a chicken had written it in the dirt. They said thank you for the action figures. George liked the Weird. He was given plenty of corpses to practice necromancy on and he was taking rapier lessons. Jack complained that there were too many rules and that they weren't letting him hunt enough.
"That's a mistake," William told the Green Arrow. "They need to let him vent. Half of their problems would be solved if they let him have a violent outlet. The kid is a changeling and a predator. He turns into a lynx, not a fluffy bunny." He raised the letter. "Apparently he decided to prove to them that he was good enough. Jack killed himself a deer and left the bloody thing on the dining room table, because he's a cat and he thinks they're lousy hunters. According to him, it didn't go over well. He's trying to feed them and they don't get it."
What Jack needed was some direction to channel all that energy. But William wasn't about to travel to the Weird and show up on Declan's doorstep. Hi, remember me? We were best friends once, and then I was condemned to death and your uncle adopted me, so I would kill you? You stole Rose from me? Yeah, right. All he could do was write back and send more action figures.
William pulled the box to him. He'd put in Deathstroke for George—the figure looked a bit like a pirate and George liked pirates, because his grandfather had been one. Next, William had stuck King Grayskull in for Declan. Not that Declan played with action figures—he'd had his childhood, while William spent his in Hawk's Academy, which was little more than a prison. Still, William liked to thumb his nose at him, and King Grayskull with his long blond hair looked a lot like Declan.
"So the real question here is, do we send the purple Wildcat to Jack or the black one?"
The Green Arrow expressed no opinion.
A musky scent drifted down to William. He turned around. Two small glowing eyes stared at him from under the bush on the edge of his lawn.
The raccoon bared his small sharp teeth.
"I've warned you, stay out of my trash or I will eat you."
The little beast opened his mouth and hissed like a pissed-off cat.
"That does it."
William shrugged off his T-shirt. His jeans and underwear followed. "We're going to settle this."
The raccoon hissed again, puffing out his fur, trying to look bigger. His eyes glowed like two small coals.
William reached deep inside himself and let the wild off the chain. Pain rocked him, jerking him to and fro, the way a dog shook a rat. His bones softened and bent, his ligaments snapped, his flesh flowed like molten wax. Dense black fur sheathed him. The agony ended and William rolled to his feet.
The raccoon froze.
For a second, William saw his reflection in the little beast's eyes—a hulking dark shape on all fours. The interloper took a step back, whirled about, and fled.
William howled, singing a long sad song about the hunt and the thrill of the chase, and a promise of hot blood pulsing between his teeth. The small critters hid high up in the branches, recognizing a predator in their midst.
The last echoes of the song scurried into the Wood. William bit the air with sharp white fangs and gave chase.
William trotted through the Wood. The raccoon had turned out to be female and in possession of six kits. How the hell he'd missed the female scent, he would never know. Getting rusty in the Edge. His senses weren't quite as sharp here.
He had to let them be. You didn't hunt a female with a litter—that was how species went extinct. He caught a nice juicy rabbit instead. William licked his lips. Mmm, good. He would just have to figure out a way to weigh down the lid on the trashcan. Maybe one of his dumbbells would do the job, or some heavy rocks…;
He caught a glimpse of his house through the trees. A scent floated to him: spicy, reminiscent of cinnamon mixed with a dash of cumin and ginger.
His hackles rose. William went to ground.
This scent didn't belong in this world outside of a bakery. It was the scent of a human from beyond the Edge's boundary, with shreds of the Weird's magic still clinging to them.
He lay in the gloom between the roots and listened. Insects chirping. Squirrels in the tree to the left settling down for the night. A woodpecker hammering in the distance to get the last grub of the day.
Nothing but ordinary Wood noises.
From his hiding spot, he could see the entire porch. Nothing stirred.
The rays of the setting sun slid across the boards. A tiny star winked at him.
William edged forward, a dark soft-pawed ghost in the evening twilight. One yard. Two. Three.
The star winked again. A rectangular wooden box sat on the porch steps, secured with a simple metal latch. The latch shone with reflected sunlight. Someone had left him a present.
William circled the house twice, straining to sample the scents, listening to small noises. He found the trail leading from the house. Whoever delivered the box had come and gone.
He approached the building and looked at the box. Eighteen inches long, a foot wide, three inches tall. Simple unmarked wood. Looked like pine. Smelled like it, too. No sounds came from inside.
His figures were untouched. His letter, pinned down by the heavy Hulk, lay where he'd left it. The scent of the intruder didn't reach it.
William pulled the door open with his paw and slipped inside. He would need fingers for this.
The pain screamed through him, shooting through the marrow in his bones. He growled low, shook, convulsing, and shed his fur. Twenty seconds of agony and William crouched on human legs in the living room. Ten more seconds and he stepped out on the porch, fully dressed and armed with a long knife. Just because the box seemed benign didn't mean it wouldn't blow up when he opened it. He'd seen bombs that were the size of a coaster. They made no noise, gave off no scent, and took your leg off if you stepped on them.
He used the knife to pry the latch open and flip the lid off the box. A stack of paper. Hmm.
William plucked the first sheet off the top of the stack, flipped it over, and froze.
A small mangled body lay in the green grass. The boy was barely ten years old, his skin stark white against the smudges of crimson that spread from a gaping wound in his stomach. Someone had disemboweled him with a single vicious thrust and the kid had bled out. So much blood. It was everywhere, on his skinny stomach, on his hands, on the dandelions around him…; Bright, shockingly red, so vivid, it didn't seem real. The boy's narrow face stared at the sky with milky dead eyes, his mouth opened in a horrified O, short reddish hair sticking up…;
It's Jack. The thought punched William in the stomach. His heart hammered. He peered closely at the face. No, not Jack. A cat like Jack—slit pupils—but Jack had brown hair. The boy was the right age, the right build, but he was not Jack.
William exhaled slowly, trying to get a handle on his rage. He knew this. He'd seen this boy before, but not on the picture. He'd seen the body in the flesh, smelled the blood and the raw, unforgettable stench of the gut wound. His memory conjured it for him now, and he almost choked on the phantom bitterness coating his tongue.
The next picture showed a little girl. Her hair was a mess of blood and brains—her skull had been crushed.
He pulled more pictures from the box, each corresponding to a body in his memory. Eight murdered children lay on his porch. Eight murdered changeling children.
The Weird had little use for changelings like him. The Dukedom of Louisiana killed his kind outright, the moment they were born. In Adrianglia, any mother who'd given birth to a changeling child could surrender her baby to the government, no questions asked. A simple signature on a piece of paper and the woman went on her way, while the child was taken to Hawk's Academy. Hawk's was a prison. A prison with sterile rooms and merciless guards, where toys and play were forbidden; a place designed to hammer every drop of free will out of its students. Only outdoors, the changeling children truly lived. These eight must've been giddy to be let out into the sunshine and grass.
It was supposed to be a simple tracking exercise. The instructors had led the children to the border between Adrianglia and the Dukedom of Louisiana, its chief rival. The border was always hot, with Louisianans and Adrianglians crossing back and forth. The instructors allowed the kids to track a group of border jumpers from Louisiana. When William was a child, he had gone on the same mission a dozen times.
William stared at the pictures. The Louisianans had turned out to be no ordinary border jumpers. They were agents of Louisiana's Hand. Spies, twisted by magic and powerful enough to take out a squad of trained Legionnaires.
They let the children catch them.
When the kids and the instructors failed to report in, a squad of Legionnaires was dispatched to find them. He was the tracker for that squad. He was the one who found them dead in the meadow.
It was a massacre, brutal and cold. The kids didn't go quick. They'd hurt before they died.
The last piece of paper waited in the box. William picked it up. He knew from the first sentence what it would say. The words were burned into his memory.
He read it all the same.
Dumb animals offer little sport. Louisiana kills changelings at birth—it's far more efficient than wasting time and resources to try to turn them into people. I recommend you look into this practice, because next time I'll expect proper compensation for getting rid of your little freaks.
Sincerely yours, Spider
Mindless hot fury flooded William, sweeping away all reason and restraint. He raised his head to the sky and snarled, giving voice to his rage before it tore him apart.
For years he'd tracked Spider as much as the Legion would permit him. He'd found him twice. The first time he'd ripped apart Spider's stomach and Spider broke his legs. The second time, William had shattered the Louisianan's ribs, while Spider nearly drowned him. Both times the Hand's spy slipped through his fingers.
Nobody cared for the changelings. They grew up exiled from society, raised to obey and kill on command for the good of Adrianglia. They were fodder, but to him they were children, just like he had once been a child. Just like Jack.
He had to find Spider. He had to kill him. Child murder had to be punished.
A man stepped out of the Wood. William leapt off the porch. In a breath he pinned the intruder to the trunk of the nearest tree and snarled, his teeth clicking a hair from the man's carotid.
The man made no move to resist. "Do you want to kill me or Spider?"
"Who are you?"
"The name is Erwin." The man nodded at his raised hands. A large ring clamped his middle finger—a plain silver band with a small polished mirror in it. The Mirror—Adrianglian Secret Service—flashed in William's head. The Hand's biggest enemy.
"The Mirror would like a word, Lord Sandine," the man said softly. "Would you be kind enough to favor us with an audience?"
Posted August 30, 2010
The Adrianglian Secret Service asks William Sandine the Changeling to stop Spider from possessing a weapon of mass destruction that will lead to war. Loathing his long time enemy, William agrees to go to the Bayous of Louisiana to challenge Spider and his insidious ring of operatives.
When Spider abducts her parents, Cerise Mar becomes the clan chief. To save their property the Mire swamps of the Edge, Cerise visits the Broken. Returning to her home, Cerise and William meet. The outsider realizes she and her kin may be the tool to prevent Spider from achieving his nefarious scheme and perhaps ending his terrorism all together. However, William's biggest problem is his attraction to his hostess; a foreign feeling to the Changeling who belongs nowhere and to no one.
This is a powerful swamp romantic fantasy starring a harassed heroine, a hermit hero, a vile villain and the mad Mar mob. The story line is fast-paced with a sort of Scottish historical Highlander feud feel to the Mire while the Spider weaves his web. However, the fun in this delightful tale is the return to Ilona Andrews's Weird world of the Edge (see On the Edge) where malls and magic converge.
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Posted October 4, 2010
Hoping to basically fade into the woodwork living in working in the Broken (the non-magical world) for the last few years, William is startled when he is approached by an agent of the Hand - a group of spies who serve Adriaglian in the Weird - to once-and-for-all destroy the ruthless killer known as the Spider. Having dealt with the Spider before, William absolutely understands the importance of taking down the deranged killer for good. The Spider's trail leads William directly into the Mire - a portion of swampland that separates the Weird and the Broken called the Edge - and straight into the path of the warring Mar clan. At the head of her rag-tag family is Cerise Mar and she's currently only holding her rough and tumble family together by sheer determination. Cerise's parents were kidnapped and as the oldest and best-trained fighter, it's now up to her to make sure her fiercely proud family of Edgers can protect themselves. So even though she knows it's a bad idea to bring William into her family's conflict, she can immediately see him for the trained fighter he is and knows that he just might be the only chance her family gets.
Thank heavens Ilona Andrews decided to return to the fascinating world of the Edge, this time with a story for William. William played a bit part in ON THE EDGE as Declan's shape-shifting army buddy and I just knew from the start that he'd be buckets more interesting than Mr. Perfect Declan could ever hope to be. For starters, William is a bit damaged. He's got these dark corners in his past and already is a bit behind emotionally due to his being born a changeling -- in this case a man who shifts into a wolf. But man, is he ever so likable. For the outset, it's obvious William's got himself on this tight leash -- he refuses to become the 'animal' so many people believe he is.
And then that's not even going into how much I loved Cerise and her off-beat family. Their magical talents range from deadly flashing sword skills to limitless good luck which can only be tapped after a bet has been placed upon the outcome. And once again Ilona Andrews showcase their trademark wit in the character of Cerise. She's smart and tough and I immensely liked her. I could have spent much more time in the Mire with the Mars family but was still immensely pleased with what I got. Whereas ON THE EDGE often felt a little too formulaic and fluffy, BAYOU MOON has some grit and substance to it -- The Spider and all of the Hand's minions are some scary dudes -- plus it's hefty. 447 pages hefty people! I'm not one to complain about that sort of thing. All total, BAYOU MOON is a fabulous second novel with plenty of good things to recommend it. I for one am already waiting to see where Ilona Andrews will take us in the Edge next.
Even if, once again, Ilona Andrews got shafted in the cover department. Admittedly, BAYOU MOON is light-years better than the artwork for ON THE EDGE, but this one would be greatly improved by the removal of the pensive floating head of William.
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Knowing the quality of Ilona's work I was very excited about this book and I wasn't dissapointed. There are so many books out there that seem to be the same story over and over again. Ilona manages to take urban fantasy (or in this case, what they have taken to calling "rustic" fantasy) and make it feel like something new and fresh. The world she creates is so different from anything else I have read and her characters are superb. They are well developed and real. The villians in this story were done very well and they are very distubring. They definatly gave me the creeps!
The romance was also very well done, there are so many romance/fantasy books out there that seem to just be focused on the "girl meets boy, girl and boy have sex" and that gets old, REALLY fast. With Bayou Moon, you could actually take the romance and smex out of the book and you would still have a superb plot. The romance only serves to enhance the plot and the well written characters.
In the end I was cheering for the characters, especially William, he was my favorite. I very highly recommend this book. Ilona's imagination will blow you and away and keep your attention the entire time.
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Posted March 7, 2011
I Also Recommend:
I don't find it extremely necessary have read the first book in the series (On the Edge) prior to reading this book. This is the second "Edge" book, however, IMHO it can also function as a standalone. I really procrastinated when it came to reading this second installment. I wasn't overly impressed with Williams character from the first book and had my doubts that this installment could be any good. However, the author did a great job at delving into the sleek and edgy side of Williams character. At first I had a hard time getting into story. I was fearful that this book would consist purely of the romantic aspect but I could not have been more wrong. The story reeled me in slowly, as oppose to drawing me in right away. Once the story hooked me, I was completely immersed into it. I couldn't put this book down and at the odd times when I was forced to put this book down, I couldn't wait to pick it up again. I enjoyed this installment a bit more than the first book. One negative though, at times all the different zones between the different worlds were very confusing. Besides that issue, this story was darker with more action and mystery and I love that the heroine was as sharp and deadly as a razor. SF fans, even though this story takes place on two other worlds, with "The Broken" being the earth we know, I wouldn't necessarily called this a hybrid between dark urban fantasy and Sci-Fi. However, it is still a great and exciting read. I highly recommend this book to fellow dark urban fantasy fans, and look forward to the next book Fate's Edge due out in 2012.
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Posted December 5, 2013
This book is a stand alone sequel to "On the Edge" set in the same world. One should read it first to get the background of the Edge. I am an Ilona Andrews fan and read all of their books.
I have been reading sci fi and fantasy since the late 50's so I have read a few books. Bayou Moon is one of a few books I reread often. This is a "can't put down" page turner from front to back.
Posted August 1, 2013
Posted June 14, 2013
Posted May 17, 2013
Amazing author and books! Highly recomend! I read them all and cant WAIT for more! Suspense, romance, violance and action all set in a modern world with the fantasy mixed in. Must read, origional love it!!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 9, 2013
Posted January 5, 2013
PB/Rural Fantasy: I saw all the great reviews about book two and book one was a page turner with new ideas. So, when the first 120 were more like a traveling novel with the two main characters deigning any interest they had in each other, I was confused. It really was more like a romance novel and I wondered if it was going to get any better.
As soon as William and Cerise make it to The Mire and you really meet her nutty family, it got so much better.
The plot was really interesting. In book one, you met Rose who lived in The Edge. The Mire is part of the Edge, the poorer whiter trash part. William from book one has a job to do and travels to the mucky, yucky Mire to find his nemesis.
The beginning was too long and too romancey, but the next 3/4 of the book makes up for it. A good addition to the series.
Posted October 16, 2012
Posted July 30, 2012
Posted April 29, 2012
Posted January 18, 2012
I have really enjoyed all of this author's books. She makes me laugh and I really enjoy that when I read. I especially like her paranormal Universe.
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Posted June 14, 2011
Ilona Andrews floored me with the amazing characterization in this book. William was so complex! He is a changeling-both human and wolf. There are times when he acts and thinks like a human. However, with every strong emotion, the wolf comes out-maybe not physically, but mentally. Whenever this happens his thoughts go from normal and rational to "I want...." and "Must have....." Very primal. Cerise notices when he switches to wolf-mode. She can see it in his eyes, but she doesn't know that he is a changeling. Andrews juggles the two mind-frames very well. Changelings, in their fundamental nature, act on instinct, not thought. William always has to remind himself that he is also human and he cannot just take what he wants; he has to ask for it and be ready for rejection if it comes. This was very sad yet admirable. He really wanted to be with Cerise for most of the book. He always reminded himself that women didn't want him; he was a monster that could not be loved. William had to deal with a ton of inner conflict, besides the wolf/human one. He was always scared that once Cerise found out who he was, she wouldn't want him anymore. Before he can be with Cerise, he has to come to terms with his past and that it does not define him-his actions define him.
I felt so bad for Cerise. After her parents are kidnapped she has to lead the family in a battle not only against their rival clan, but also Spider. Meanwhile, her younger sister is slowly going insane-thinking she is a monster who deserves to live in the woods. Because she is the new head, she has to hold her emotions in so that the family respects her. The only person she truly lets in is William. She trusts him, and loves him. Because he looks like a Blueblood, noble of the Weird, she calls him Lord Bill when she first meets him. Even though it was just used to mock at first, she continues to call him this as the story progresses. I love the nickname, its so cute. It has a teasing/flirty edge to it in the book.
There were a lot of different elements mixed into Bayou Moon. First, there was a lot of gore, violence, and family feuding going on. The action is suspenseful and bloody. The fight scenes were depicted with a great attention to detail. I felt like I was in the middle of them. There were times when I was definitely shutting my eyes and muttering "ew." Second, there was romance. William and Cerise's relationship was intense. There were a lot of "almost" scenes. They were both obviously attracted to each other. Cerise even admits to her family that she loves him, but he can't take a hint. William is very straightforward and doesn't understand flirting. He also doesn't believe she wants him so he always pulls himself back when he wants to kiss her (or more). This leads to many tension filled scenes that had me screaming "Just kiss her already!"
I liked On the Edge a bit better than Bayou Moon. Not too sure why, but Bayou Moon is still a great book. It's emotional, action-packed, and romantic. The other characters, besides William and Cerise, are for the most part three-dimensional. There were so many, I thought I'd get confused (especially within Cerise's big family) but Ilona Andrews did such a great job writing them, that it never was the case. Rose, Declan, and the boys from On the Edge appear briefly at the end-which was nice. All in all, I thought Ilona Andrews crafted an excellent book.
Posted March 20, 2011
It's official: Bayou Moon is one of my favorite reads this year!
I have a confession to make. Sometimes when I read UF, I'm not always able to follow along with all the plot specifics. I get characters or their motivation confused, especially if there are similar names or the plot is too complicated. This book was beautifully penned - I feel like Bayou Moon was written specifically for me. The characters and settings were wonderfully and descriptively composed, I could see each character in my mind's eye as I read the book. The plot moved along at a quick pace, but I was able to follow and understand what they were doing and why. I liked the way one thing led to another but it made sense and didn't jump all over the place.
Cerise is a fabulous heroine - she's strong and compassionate. Family oriented. Smart. All the things I look for in a heroine. While I liked her from the get-go, it was near the end that I just sat back and thought, "Thank you, Ms. Andrews, for writing such an amazing heroine." Let's just say she's a woman of her word and doesn't run from anything.
William, *sighs* oh William, I heart you so much! I really liked William in The Edge (my review here), and was glad he was getting his own book. He's definitely a broken hero: he's feeling sorry for himself since Rose left with Declan, combine that with his horrible childhood and he has a very low perception of himself, except where his fighting skills are concerned. He's attracted to Cerise, not exactly at first sight, but when it happens - BAM!
Strangely enough, the thing that did it for me regarding William was not related to Cerise at all. I'm not giving away spoilers, but it was his actions on pages 247-249 that did me in. Of course, when you add that to the overall hotness of his character and the way he understands and interacts with Cerise....book boyfriend status was inevitable. The back and forth between Cerise and William was riveting (and humerous) - especially when Cerise's family stepped in to "help".
I know I'm gushing about the awesomeness of the hero/heroine, which is important, but the secondary characters were great too - I liked Cerise's family. They were a very eclectic group and had their own weird ways of showing their love and support for Cerise.
Now, on to the bad guys - they're bad. They're pretty gross, actually. They've got all this extra "stuff" that makes them almost impossible to defeat. Luckily William has a history that involves knowledge of their "extras" and how to deal with them.
Bayou Moon is the second book in the series, but can be read as a stand-alone. I think Ms. Andrews gives enough background at the beginning of the story that you would have no trouble jumping right in. Bayou Moon should go straight from your bookstore to "Now Reading", let it skip the TBR pile, you won't be sorry!
Posted December 5, 2010
I bought this book.
I admit I was a little sad when I read the blurb on the back of this book and I realized it wasn't a direct sequel to the first Edge book, On the Edge. But Andrews is one of my auto-buys so I snatched it up on release day nonetheless. Am I glad I did.
William is a changeling, reviled and abused by the fae-ish bluebloods from the magical Siamese sister to our world called the Weird. After playing a secondary role in the first book William, crushed at the loss of Rose to his friend Declan, hides out in the non-magical "real" world, the Broken. Between the Weird and the Broken is the Edge, where the descendents of exiled, abandoned or escaped Weird families now live.
Tempted by one more job from his military background, and a chance to kill a long time mortal enemy who's know for slaughtering changelings, especially children, on principle, William ventures back into the Edge. The Mire is a swamp that's not just filled with Edgers trying to survive, but also with exiles from the Weird who are too strong magically to survive the crossing to the Broken. In the Mire William stumbles right into an old blood feud between two swamp-folk families that makes the Hatfields and the McCoys look like a squabble. One side has just teamed up with William's enemies and the other...is headed by the brilliant, beautiful and deadly Cerise.
Cerise has been the head of her family for only a few days, since her parents disappeared, the first act in the flaring of an old blood feud that she'd rather move past. In fact, she'd like to move past the swamp, being poor and having to deal with the deadly (and crazy) blueblood she found in the swamp, but to do so she'd have to abandon her family, an act that would make them targets for the stronger land owners in the Mire.
Bayou Moon is a thick book, pushing 500 pages. But it's a solid filled read, with tons to catch a reader's interest. The hot-blooded romance is tempered (a lot) by wicked fight scenes, more enemies than you can count and a surprising almost-science fiction twist. Its a fast ride, compelling with a pitch perfect take on non-human characters and a plethora of truly imaginative fantasy elements. Humor, attitude, action and some really sexy leads, Bayou Moon is an awesome addition to the urban fantasy (rural fantasy? Swamp fantasy?) genre and a great place to start for readers wanting to know what all the buzz is about.
Posted November 21, 2010
The world of The Edge is an interesting one. Modern-day life is juxtaposed with an almost wild-west setting and also with a more traditional fantasy setting. The Broken is mundane earth - technology rules and there is no magic. Then there is The Weird - full of magic and shape shifters and mystical creatures. Sandwiched between is a sort of buffer zone - The Edge. People who live in The Edge have some magic, but not enough to keep them from entering The Broken. They forge a life for themselves much as did our pioneer ancestors.
The setting of Bayou Moon intrigued me from the beginning. Being a Louisiana girl, I appreciated the swamp setting and I knew exactly what she meant when she said it had an almost primeval beauty. Something I've liked about both Edge books is the almost "old world" setting - if you back-stab an Edger or renege on a deal they aren't likely to call the law, but might shoot you, instead. It just seems like a simpler world, in some ways - even though a more dangerous one.
The hero of Bayou Moon is William Wolf. William is a changeling - a lot of his thought processes aren't like a "typical" man's. Well, maybe they are... he does tend to be pretty straight-forward. Regarding his feelings toward Cerise, the heroine, he's just adorable. Cerise, on the other hand, is tough, a great fighter, and every bit a match for William though she does need to work on trust issues.
The over-arching story is one of betrayal and revenge. Another Mire family, the Sheeriles, has sold out Cerise's parents to agents of The Hand from Louisiana (a territory in the Weird, not the state) and is planning on annihilating her family. Not only does Cerise have to worry about putting an end to a generations-long feud with the Sheeriles, but she's also got to rescue her parents from the ruthless Hand. The clock is ticking.
Andrews does a great job of mixing action, danger, humor and romance in this book. I thoroughly enjoyed it. As a note, I think it's possible to enjoy Bayou Moon even if you haven't read On the Edge (Book 1), although as part of a series reading the previous books always adds to the experience. I originally thought these books were going to be Urban Fantasy similar to the Kate Daniels / Mercy Thompson books, but it looks like they are going to fall into the Paranormal Romance category since it seems like we'll be getting a new Hero / heroine in each installment. I have no problem with that, personally, and would recommend this book to any fan of Paranormal Romance or an Urban Fantasy fan who doesn't mind a bit of romance in the mix.
Posted November 7, 2010
Look at the cover.....when the author's name is as big as the title, if not bigger, then I think it means that the publishers are pretty sure that name recognition is pretty good here....people are going to be looking for the name of the author as much as they're going to be browsing for books. I think - it's not like any publishers have come to me to explain this, maybe I'm just making things up. maybe I'm just guessing...but I'm also speaking for book-buying experience. Unfortunately, I think this also means that it's just a matter of time before we start seeing Ilona Andrews' books come out in hardback....you know, as soon as an author gets popular, we have to (don't HAVE TO, unless you want to read the books before the spoilers are all out) buy hardbacks. Which is one of those bittersweet things about authors you love to read getting popular. I don't mean to sound petulant or bitter, but as a long term book buyer - I know what's coming.... Happy for the authors, but sad for my pocketbook.
I like the cover - the swampy background - the sword.... the dark hair and different looks to the woman on the cover. They guy is kind of blond (The darker the better for my tastes), but he looks okay. Like the long hair. Wild.
The Book - What can I say? Thoroughly enjoyed the book. There was just the right amount of wildness in the characters. Just the right amount of crazy. Just the right amount of steamy....(normally, I can do without the steamy, but Gordon and Ilona do a good job of not going overboard, and yet getting the point across that two characters are pretty hot and bothered for each other...) Bayou Moon is set in the swampy area of The Edge, and features a character from the novel The Edge. William is a changeling that has been living in the Edge, ever since the events in the novel (previous novel featuring Rose and Declan). He's approached by the special ops of the Weird's citizens to help capture...or rather KILL an operative of the opposing country in The Weird. If you've read The Edge, you know a bit of the background, if you haven't then you'll learn a bit when you read Bayou Moon. William travels to find and kill this operative (Spider) and has a run in with Cerise Mars...
...and later her crazy family. I LOVE her crazy family. I love the way they are brought to life by Ilona Andrews. The dialogue, the narration, the different points of view....all blends so well together that there is not one boring or "down-time moment" in this novel. I love the edgy, dark personalities of Cerise, her family members, and William. There's a scene set in the town that just gives a glimpse of the different ways of the Edge families.
I also love the different animals that are described in both Bayou Moon and The Edge (the book). There are some seriously strange animals and wildlife in this series. Plants also - there are some crazy plants that come into play throughout this series.
William finds that his mission and Cerise's family issues have a lot in common. Cerise, with her crazed clannish family is the perfect fit for William, which brings us a dark and mildly twisted romance - the best kind of romance to have. (lol). Part of the courtship of Cerise and William is swordplay - real swords.
As with their other novels, Gordon and Ilona Andrews gift us with entertaining narration, great dialogue, twisted plots and some great fight/action scenes. They can also write very good &quo
Posted October 24, 2010
William's life is one giant void. He's left the Weird (the magical world where he's been a soldier, an outcast, and a noble, but mostly a feared and hated wolf changeling), he's working in the Broken (the mundane world of Wal-Mart and McDonalds), and living in the Edge (the half-magic borderland between the two places), but no matter where he is in the worlds, he's 100% alone. And though solitude is William's default state, he's not a loner by nature. He'd love to have friends and a family, but he knows that they aren't meant for people like him because in the Weird, he was treated like scum and raised in a brain-washing military facility, like all changeling children in the dukedom of Adrianglia. No matter how amazing a warrior William is, he maintains a hearty dose of self-loathing; he doesn't actually hate himself, but he doesn't believe he's worthy of any of the good things in life. So he sits at his home in the Edge with only his flat screen TV and his horde of collectible action figures to keep him company, until agents of Adrianglia's secret service come to recruit him to hunt down the baddest of all bad dudes: Spider, the leader of the assassins and spies of Louisiana's Hand, who is, among other atrocities, a child murderer. At last William has a purpose to drive him.
Cerise's life is one giant mishap. She lives in the Mire, the swampy part of the Edge between regular Louisiana and Weird Louisiana, and the property values are at an all-time low. The Weird dumps its criminals and exiles into her neighborhood, a decades-old feud between her family, the Mars, and the Sheeriles has flared to life again, and her parents have been kidnapped by the Hand, leaving her to lead the 50+ members of her family. The Mar money has dried up, and because of their poverty, toughness, and abundant numbers, the other Edgers refer to them as the Rats, to the point that their huge family residence is called the Rathole. Their life is stagnant, with no hope of advancement, and Cerise doesn't mind stealing to keep the kids fed and warm. If her family weren't too magical to survive the transition to the Broken, she would move them all in a heartbeat, but it seems that they're all irrevocably bound to feuding, scrounging and scraping out a life in the Mire. But then she finds herself on a days-long trek through the swamp with a steely-eyed blueblood from the Weird. His name is William, and they may need each other temporarily, to navigate the Mire and oppose the Hand, but there's no way she can trust him. Or is there? Perhaps something good is finally happening to Cerise, even as her world is crashing down.
I've heard this series called rustic fantasy and romantic urban fantasy, and Bayou Moon fits both terms and more. The great mix of technology and magic is definitely UF, but the swords and monsters add a high fantasy flair. Certain important inventions could easily be found in science fiction, there are some Southern Gothic elements, and the story's so ominous in some places it has a definite H.P. Lovecraft feel to it and could qualify as dark fantasy. Whatever it is, it's tremendous. It's an ambitious longer book with a more epic scope than the previous volume, but every page has a payoff and the journey is in every way worth the time spent.