Another urban fantasy contribution by Ilona Andrews, part of their Edge series which I find especially attractive. The Edge is a semi-magical no-holds-barred dumping ground that lies between the Broken, a land of shopping malls and ordinary unmagical lives like ours, and the Weird where powerful magic rules and those with the strongest magic and/or the most exalted lineage rule. Charlotte de Ney is an unequalled physician from the Weird who broke the cardinal rule of healers like herself, and so fled into self-exile in the Edge where she was living a mostly contented life until Richard Mar, a mortally wounded swordsman, literally collapses in her path and changes her life forever.
Richard is a violent, obsessed, but morally righteous man who has dedicated himself to hunting down the slavers who prey on all three worlds and capture or kill with abandon under the protection of very high-level aristocrats in the Weird. When her quiet life is irreversibly ended, Charlotte joins forces with Richard to destroy the slave trade. Doing so requires her to deploy her magic in a way that corrupts her soul and promises to eventually cost her life, but she pushes on prepared to sacrifice all for a higher cause.
There are fewer magical monsters and many more human ones in Steel’s Edge, which makes for a more intriguing plot than others of Ilona Andrews’ novels. Her writing is exciting, her characters well developed, and the action non-stop, including the apparently de rigeur sexual escapades between our two lead protagonists. All in all, a good story with a decidedly anti-elitist political tinge to it.