I kicked off the year with Bayou Moon from Ilona Andrews’ The Edge series. This novel follows William, an ex-military changeling werewolf loner. He was a supporting character in the first book, On the Edge.
William retired to The Edge, a liminal zone between the “Broken” (our world devoid of magic) and the “Weird” (a mirror earth dimension full of magic). In this reality, werewolves are either killed at birth or forced into the military. His forest cabin solitude is interrupted when two agents from The Mirror, his homeland’s version of the CIA, re-enlist him for a dangerous mission. They want him to spy on a group of agents from The Hand, the rival country’s intelligence agency. He isn’t really given much choice on accepting the assignment. He sets off deeper into the Edge to the Mire: a swampland border to the Weird. His target is Spider, a sociopathic military leader, who is hell bent on using monster mercenaries to find the ultimate magical weapon. William must seize the weapon before the enemy does. Simple, right? Maybe if he hadn’t stumbled upon Cerise Mar and her cajun family feud!
Cerise crosses path with William when they find themselves on same guided boat through the Mire. She assumes he is a blue blood and dubs him “Lord Bill” to annoy him. She keeps her guard up and avoids small talk. She is too worried about arriving home with an important deed to settle a blow up between the long feuding families of the swamp. The Hand shows up before they get very far and forces them to team up. Unbeknownst to either, their lives will become more dangerously intertwined as Spider believes his weapon was hidden by Cerise’s family.
From the first chapter, this book had me hooked. I was instantly curious about the Mire and Cerise’s family. Why did they leave the Weird? I was also intrigued about William’s changeling history and the political motivations of his land. Why is The Hand their enemy? As for the love story, Ilona Andrews perfectly paired two lonely, guarded but strong protagonists together. Their attraction was electric, but didn’t take the seat of the narrative. It is a slow burn since William is afraid to reveal his inner wolf for a fair amount of the book. Cerise has a powerful flash magic, which has alienated her from other suitors. When they both finally break down their walls, sparks fly.
I would definitely recommend this book for paranormal romance fans and especially those who love the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews.