REVIEW: Fate’s Edge

Ilona Andrews
Fate’s Edge (The Edge #3)
Ace
ISBN-10: 0441020860
ISBN-13: 978-0441020867
Fantasy
November 29, 2011

Blurb via Goodreads:

Audrey Callahan left behind her life in the Edge, and she’s determined to stay on the straight and narrow. But when her brother gets into hot water, the former thief takes on one last heist and finds herself matching wits with a jack of all trades…

Kaldar Mar-a gambler, lawyer, thief, and spy-expects his latest assignment tracking down a stolen item to be a piece of cake, until Audrey shows up. But when the item falls into the hands of a lethal criminal, Kaldar realizes that in order to finish the job, he’s going to need Audrey’s help…

Like pretty much all of you out there, I looooove me some Ilona Andrews writing. The Kate Daniels series rests quite comfortably at my number two favorite series spot. I looked back at book two in this series, though, Bayou Moon, the refresh my memories of it, and I’m dismayed to realize I might like Fate’s Edge less than that one, which was an OK read for me.

I really don’t like to do this on a book’s release day and I usually wait a couple of weeks if I have issues, but the book is fresh in my mind and I don’t want to lose that either. I found myself wondering why I love the Kate Daniels series so much, but the Edge series is steadily declining. It occurred to me that maybe it’s because the Daniels books are developing at a more believable pace, a more steady one where everything doesn’t hinge on completing within one book, whereas the Edge books, despite a series arc, pretty much try to finish off a main couple’s journey in one lump sum. Plenty of series do this. I think I might just not be a fan of Andrews’ methods for doing so. This time everything felt a little rushed and, as a result, too underdeveloped.

But here’s what I did like before I wallow in the gloom. Kalder and Audrey are, at times, a very funny couple. Their interactions, thanks to their similar pasts, play well off one another.  I think Kalder plays very true to the form we originally saw in Bayou Moon; his personality carries over well into this installment. He’s charming, witty and clearly a rogue. Audrey sees his rogue and raises him a hells naw, you hot grifter con artist. Audrey is easy to sympathize with – to a point – due to her tragic family past. She’s smart – to a point – capable and she can go head-to-head with Kalder any day and still have time to kick a little ass. The way her particular magical talent works is pretty interesting and different (only serving to make Kalder’s look a little…lame). I did enjoy how she ends up helping Kalder in the end.

The boys, Jack and George, all the way from book 1, figure in this time, too. Through their actions and dialogue is an interesting view of the world Andrews has created within the Edge and the Weird. Both boys carry the stigma of being Edgers (akin to someone being called white trash, etc.), but both also manage to show that maybe Edgers hold the better edge over of any Weird..er (?) anyway. In fact, I’ve yet to see a holier-than-thou Weird resident hold a candle to any of the Edge characters, Declan from book 1 being the only one that comes to mind who can.

For all that I enjoyed these characters, there’s some definite downsides, too. Audrey, for one, with her immediate decision to aid her father and brother at the beginning of the book, the TSTL type actions that start it all. Really now – why? Audrey felt pretty darn final about some damn good reasons not to help them, but she does so with little to no resistance. Even before she said yes, I knew she would and I never got why it was necessary to have the heroine commit the infamous TSTL mistake this time. She berates herself for it later, but this didn’t really make up for it – and neither did the fact that a ruthless organization of killers  – The Hand – was after her either. More on that in a few.

Kalder, oh sexy, charming Kalder. I like his motivations best. Revenge is understandable after the events of the last book. But I hate to say it…the romance almost muddies it all up. I love me some smexy times in ye old fantasy that blends elements of the urban, but Kalder’s feelings for Audrey seemed to come out of nowhere. This was one of the aspects of the book that felt the most rushed to me, the most underdeveloped. I actually stopped when Kalder comes to a full realization of his feelings, went back a few pages, but didn’t see why the transition at that point. Suddenly the two are thinking naughty thoughts about the other amongst dangerous times when their attention was clearly needed elsewhere. Hello, these are some of the biggest mistakes in a lot of romance books. They’re annoying. Grown adults can and do think rationally when in a serious situation. Kalder and and Audrey trying and needing to do so, yet interspersing it with seemingly helpless sexy thoughts, felt a little cheese-tastic.

Now, at times, when moving past those initial instances, Kalder and Audrey are smokin’ hot. Like, office-thumping smokin’ hot. And it was goooood. But again, I think the romance overall would have seemed more sincere and….more believable had it been just a bit more developed. As is, it seems mostly based on the fact that both had difficult pasts, therefore both are amazing for having survived, let’s fall in love. And because they’re both hot, physically gorgeous people. There’s not enough of the in-between peanut butter to supplement the sweet jelly. Good grief, the prologue parts dedicated to them were so sweet I almost expected the pages to explode into clouds of powdered sugar. It was too pat, too neat.

Much to my quickly-being-used-up dismay, I was confused by the worldbuilding. I fully admit, this could have been all my fault. Maybe I misread or accidentally skipped some things, but the worldbuilding was one of the things I raved about in book one. It was so deftly intertwined in that book. In book two, I missed the sense of that amazing world since it all took place in a swamp. So it seemed as if all my wishes were coming true when I realized book three takes place in or mentions not only that Mire swamp place, but also the Edge, the Weird AND Broken. Only, the Weird, which mirrors the Broken (basically is our world as we know it now), has many places and names that are the same as those in the Broken, but they’re not the same in the Weird. For example, the state of California in the Broken is referred to as the Democracy of California in the Weird. Florida is actually Egypt in the Broken. I quickly started getting confused if the places being mentioned were in the Broken or in the Weird. I lost track of whether they were even in the Broken or in the Weird. I quickly began to feel a little frustrated. And not a little stoopid. Methinks I got my wish for a more expanded view of this worldbuilding I thought was so amaze-a-balls, but either I’m not smart enough for it or it resembles one of those funhouse mirror mazes a little too much.

I could see a series arc for the first time in this book, which pleases me. I wasn’t really sure if this was supposed to be an intertwined series while reading the last book. I will say that the previous couple, Cerise and William now look like a better developed couple than Audrey and Kalder, although I didn’t recognize Cerise and William this time when they make their cameos in Fate’s Edge. Their personalities were so generic they could have been any number of the nondescript background crowd characters. All I could tell is that, given their names on the page, these were meant to be characters from a previous book. That’s about it. They make George and Jack’s development look loads more detailed.

Speaking of those two mischief-making boys, they probably had the most believable relationship of the book. Their shenanigans rang true of children in their position and therefore them being in the middle of all the stranger danger made sense. What did not make sense was how far they did eventually figure in. Without revealing too much, I can only say that it’s incredible to say the least that they could ever stand against The Hand, the ruthless organization of magically altered assassins that almost wiped out Cerise and Kalder’s family in the last book. Suddenly, along with Audrey, Kalder and Kalder’s nephew, George and Jack are these unstoppable fighting machines/spies. Me does not get. Me must have missed something. In fact, I don’t get how their group could stand against The Hand at all – hello, once again with the Ruthless Magically Altered Insane Clown Posse Freaks…that built their rep on annihilating their enemies. I guess revenge really is some powerful stuff. Some seriously bad stuff happens to our merry band of heroes, but compared to the last book, they really got off light. I guess what I’m trying to say is that main conflict of this story wasn’t that conflicting or gripping.

I think I’ll continue with the series to see what happens eventually with that overall series arc. There is potential hiding in there, and one just has to ride it out to see if it will be worth it in the end. While I enjoyed some aspects of this one, it was less than I’d hoped to enjoy and too much of it just didn’t make sense to me. We’ll see what the series brings next.

Rating: Three Scoops

(- due mainly to the book maintaining my interest in the series as a whole)

 

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8 comments

  1. Hi,

    Thanks for the review. I like smart UF heroines. Kate Daniels is my all time favourite (No:1), although I was a bit disappointed with the pacing of book 5.

    I’ve read Declan and William’s stories and they were more meh than wow books for me. Seeing you review helps; if this one is not as good as the earlier ones, then I’ll pass thanks.

    Sad, though. Based on the snippets from the author’s site, Kalder seemed yummy :(

    TT

    • Actually, you got the right impression – Kalder really is pretty yummy! :)

      I guess it’s just that, as a whole, the book didn’t come together for me like I hoped it would. I’m pretty sure, though, that it will appeal to many readers.

  2. I enjoyed the book a bit more than you, but I completely agree with the William and Cerise issue. They felt off, even less developed than some of the other secondary characters. Maybe it’s because we’re not used to see them from the outside.

    Also the amount of exposition bothered me. Andrews usually does a smoother job with the “telling” parts of the book and they are not as long.

    • Exposition – thank you! That’s the technical word I can NEVER remember. Drives me bonkers. I have to resort to stuff like “that long-winded part” and “thingy”.

      I also got tired of hearing about Audrey’s difficult past and her using it as an excuse to keep Kalder away. Although her worry about his grifter status was more believable. It’s not that I didn’t feel for her problems with her family, it’s just that they felt hastily put in without much real development. Maybe it’s because there’s very little interaction seen presently between her and her family.

  3. Sad that you didn’t enjoy this one as much as Ilona Andrews’ other novels. I actually like that each Edge book focuses on a different couple because that makes it different from the Kate Daniels book. Still pretty excited to read this because I enjoyed the snippets posted on their blog.

    • I usually like books that focus on different couples, too (though I remember being disappointed that Rose and Declan’s story wouldn’t be expanded in the second novel). It just depends on how they’re done. This time it just felt underdeveloped to me. But I do hope you enjoy it as much as you have the others. :)

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