Malin gave me this book several years ago in the CBR Book Exchange, promising that I would like it. And then I proceeded to not read it for a very long time. In my defense, it’s one of 215 (as of June 2018) books on my physical and digital bookshelves that I own but have yet to read. One of my reading goals for 2018 was to make a serious dent in my already-owned books, and that included reading all of the books I’ve gotten in the CBR Book Exchange over the years. So far I am making okay progress, but I still have six months to go, so I’m not beating myself up too much.
I went for this one as one of the first in this project because Malin gave it to me like four years ago, and also because I knew I could zoom through it. And sure enough, I did. And I figured I would like it, since Malin has excellent taste, but a part of me also I think expected not to like it, because oh my god that cover is terrible. Just look at that guy in the corner with his big stupid face, and he’s clearly not wearing a shirt, but you can’t see his nipples so what is even the point. NIPPLES OR IT DOESN’T COUNT. Or you know, he can just be wearing a shirt. I think I am going to print out an attractive man who matches my mental picture of Declan and paste him over that guy. The rest of the cover is okay, but the magic swirlies coming out of Rose’s hand make me laugh.
So this is basically a paranormal romance, one of my first, I think. It’s equal parts romance and fantasy/adventure (it felt like a hybrid urban and traditional fantasy). That makes sense, because the entire premise of the book is that Rose and her family (two younger brothers and grandmother) live in a place called the Edge, which is an in-between place on the borders of our world, which they call the Broken, and the magical land they call the Weird. Rose is the main source of income for her family, as she finds work in the Broken, being paid under the table to work as a maid. They are very poor, and Rose is constantly on the verge of financial disaster, wondering how much money she can afford for new shoes for her brothers, or their food, or gas for their truck (which she regularly has to abandon on the side of the road when it’s on empty). Many people in the Edge are born with magic, and that includes Rose and her family. Rose actually has powerful magic, but it has made her as much a target as it has helped her, and one of her brothers is a shifter. He was born as a cat, and has a hard time maintaining human form over his natural lynx form. I’m not usually a fan of children in books, but I found myself falling in love with Rose’s brothers, who felt like real small humans to me. I especially loved the shifter, Jack.
The plot really gets going when Declan Camarine, a noble from the Weird, comes to Rose’s property and initiates a chain of events that will mean she either has to go with him to the Weird and marry him, or face the weird magical villain who he seems to have chased out of the Weird. At first, I thought Declan was a real bag of dicks and I was not happy that Rose would be falling in love with him. But something happens midway through to change the reader’s initial impression of him, and Rose is so feisty and protective of her brothers and her way of life, it was satisfying to read even when I thought Declan should go shove his head up his own buttocks.
Immediately after finishing this, I went out and put a hold on the next book, and got very excited about having so many Ilona Andrews books to read in my future. She* really is extremely prolific. And this supposedly isn’t even her best series.
*Ilona Andrews is a penname for a husband and wife writing team.