Sunday, December 30, 2012

On Eels: A Reveiw of Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews

Bayou Moon (The Edge, #2)This was an important book. It's book number 112 in 2012 for me, the last book I needed to finish to complete my year long goal. It's less impressive in that, by the end, I had to declare it a 3 star book.

William is a shapeshifter and a loner, but he's reluctantly talked into a quest to track down Spider, a ruthlessly villainous villain. This puts him in league with Cerise, who's parents have been taken by the Spider. Before Cerise can track down her parents, she must end a family feud that's stood for three generations, and take back a house that belonged to her grandparents.

So, yeah, 3 stars. It's a bit odd, because I sing the praises of Ilona Andrews often and loudly when it comes to the Kate Daniels books, and even Andrea's book, but I think it's now safe to say that I don't care for The Edge series nearly as much. What's missing here? Well, I think it's partly to do with world build and partly to do with plot. But, let's start with what I did like.

I liked William and Cerise. William has a social awkwardness and vulnerability about him that I found charming. It really fit his status as a shapeshifter who has been shunned more often than not. I also really liked Cerise--I liked her toughness and her loyalty and her way of viewing the world. The tow have excellent chemistry. I think it's safe to say that Andrews writes characters you want to embrace. Even the secondary characters are appealing.

The world building, while better than a lot of the sludge we see on the UF market now, is still not as strong as the Kate Daniels books. Perhaps it's unfair to compare the two, but that's reality. With Kate's Atlanta, I have a really clear idea about the rules and how things work, and what the organizations are and where loyalties lie. And the way magic works in that universe is so freaking clever. The Edge, on the other hand, feels a lot more vague and less inspired. I'm not that clear on who belongs where and why, and I can't say I'm motivated to figure it out. I'm not really sure, for example, if William's shapeshifting is based on magic or nature or some hybrid of the two, and I don't know why he's able to work in magic free Broken if he is indeed magical.

The plot has it's merits, and it's passably interesting on the surface, but as the story proceeds I found that many stretches were decidedly meh. Things I felt were really interesting--Cerise's grandfather and his life restoring formula, for one--got very little page time. Things I don't care about, like the family feud, went on and on. As a result, for much of the book my enjoyment level was at or just above neutral, with a few periods of outright frustration.

All told, while it's still an above average book, I must honestly admit that there are better books out there. I cautiously recommend this one, but I highly recommend the Kate Daniels books. 3 stars. 

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