Review: Steel's Edge
The hero of the story is Richard Mar, Kaldar's brother, who we first met in Bayou Moon. He is on a mission to destroy the slave trade thriving in the Weird. The slavers nearly destroyed his niece, Sophie, and now he won't rest until he finds the head of the serpent and cuts it off.
Charlotte is the Healer of her generation. Her gift helped her become magic nobility. But even her skills could not help her conceive a child --or keep a husband who married her for all the wrong reasons. His betrayal of their marriage drove Charlotte to use her gifts to harm... and as a result, she fled to the Edge to start a new life.
The two cross paths when slavers chase Richard into the Edge nearly killing him. Charlotte saves his life, but his attackers follow him to her home and kill a dear friend of hers. That starts Charlotte on her own path of revenge against the slavers, and she is willing to use any means necessary to take them down. She and Richard join forces --and end up falling in love.
First I'll tell you what I liked. The world building in this series is fantastic and unique. I love the idiosyncrasies of the Edge and the Weird. I love the complex social class system and the magic. I love how all the books and characters are connected, and while each book features a different love story, the bigger picture remains. Last but not least, I love the characters. Richard is a solid hero, with just a touch of that "I'm not good enough for her" vibe going on. Charlotte is refined, broken, and powerful all at once. She is almost impossible not to like. And --of course-- there are Jack, George, and Lark (Sophie.) Damn you, Ilona, for making me love them without ever giving me a look at their adult lives.
This wasn't my favorite book in the series, however. The love story was too fast and the romance too easy. I think Richard and Charlotte were declaring their love in about two days. The real angst was in the external conflict. --My other issue was that it felt like the book was forced into an end-of-series role. It tacked on the Spider and the Hand elements almost as an afterthought... which is a shame considering they were worth their own big story arc.
Overall I did enjoy it. Definitely worth reading for any Edge fan.
UPDATE: Ilona says she may indeed give us Jack, George, and Lark's story --but in a different format than the current Edge books. A trilogy, perhaps. Someone... cue the party music!!
*ARC Provided by Ace
Steel's Edgeby Ilona AndrewsRelease Date: November 27, 2012Publisher: Ace