More than anything, On The Edge by Ilona Andrews is like reading a good old Russian fantasy: thick woods, strange magic, deadly curses, crazy villagers, scary witches, awesome grandmas, overly excited parents, other not necessarily sane family members, hilarious dialogue, three tasks and insane marriage proposals. Except this particular fairytale also has rifles, Wal-Marts and zombie dogs. Yeah, I’m totally digging this.
The thing you need to know about Ilona Andrews is that she’s not a babysitter nor a teacher. She does not spend paragraphs after paragraphs explaining things, no matter how complex they are. No, she thrusts her readers right in the middle of a brilliant yet strange world and after that, you’re on your own. There will be no one to hold your hand and guide you through this maze of urban fantasy. You will have to make your brain work, absorb every tiny detail and connect the dots afterwards. Andrews will not be there to help you. She’s awesome like that.
Another thing you need to know about Ilona Andrews is that she writes the best heroines. They don’t blindly trust an attractive male, no matter how much sexual tension is in the air. Hell, Rose, the main character, even admitted to herself that she wanted Declan like crazy yet she did not trust him, despite believing that he’s a good and honourable man. Because unlike attraction, trust has to be earned and eyes can be deceiving. But neither do these heroines question every little thing because they’re too paranoid for their own good. They’re independent and they kick ass, but they also realise that they need a man in their lives. Not to be a knight in shining armour, but to just be there. To love, to protect and to cure the loneliness. They don’t do angst. They face their problems head on no matter how scary they might be and if there’s something standing in the way of their happiness, they fight it with everything they have. If you like Kate Daniels, you will like Rose. They’re not siamese twins, but the similarity is definitely there. And if you like Curran/Kate, you will most likely enjoy Declan/Rose.
And the last thing you need to know about Ilona Andrews is that her side-characters are as dazzling as her main ones, if not more. Rose is not one of those heroines whose world spins around her prince charming. She doesn’t have friends but she does have a family, a true one. First, there’s Eleanore. Let’s just say you don’t encounter grandmas like this often, which is a shame. A wise woman like this could do worlds of good in some UF cases. Then there’s Jack and George. This is where I declare that Ilona Andrews can do magic. I don’t like kids much. I see some of them as little devils that run around screaming and breaking things. Yet I am hopelessly in love with these two hooligans. Heck, she makes me wanna adopt them! They are so vibrant that they feel real. Little Jack, who likes his blankets because they smell like Rose and who wants to be the man able to protect his family. Little George, with a heart so kind and pure that it destroys him. They fight, they cry, they laugh, they get distracted by things, they worship Declan and they are ready to die for their family. They are amazing.
On the Edge by Ilona Andrews is a great fantasy for those who are tired of swimming in the vast sea of vampire/werewolf/fae romances and want something different. Give this book a try. You won’t regret it.
On The Edge by Ilona Andrews
The Edge #1
Published by Ace on September 29th 2009
Romance, Urban Fantasy
→ Add on Goodreads
Rose Drayton lives on the Edge, between the world of the Broken (where people drive cars, shop at Wal-Mart, and magic is a fairy tale) and the Weird (where blueblood aristocrats rule, changelings roam, and the strength of your magic can change your destiny). Only Edgers like Rose can easily travel from one world to the next, but they never truly belong in either.
Rose thought if she practiced her magic, she could build a better life for herself. But things didn’t turn out how she planned, and now she works a minimum wage, off the books job in the Broken just to survive. Then Declan Camarine, a blueblood noble straight out of the deepest part of the Weird, comes into her life, determined to have her (and her power).
But when a terrible danger invades the Edge from the Weird, a flood of creatures hungry for magic, Declan and Rose must work together to destroy them—or they’ll devour the Edge and everyone in it.
Have you encountered any original urban fantasy stories? Do you crave originality in your favourite genres after a while? Or do you like some genres precisely because of certain tropes?