Literature / The Edge
Go brush your teeth, brush your hair, put on dry clothes, and get the guns. We're going to Wal-Mart.
Rose Drayton, On the Edge
is an urban fantasy/romance series written by husband and wife team Ilona Andrews, authors of the New York Times bestselling series Kate Daniels
. The series is finished and has four books, each written from the perspective of different characters.
The Broken is the world we live in, where technology reigns supreme and most people believe that magic is no more than a fairy tale. The Weird is the world where magic flows freely and the aristocracy is alive and well. They overlap in the Edge, with a little of both worlds.
Each book follows a different couple with one of them being a side-character from a previous book. George and Jack also show up in the third and fourth books.
In book one Rose Drayton's powerful magic has made her a target in the past. Now she tries to live under the radar in the Edge, raising her two younger brothers, Jack and George, and struggling to make ends meet. A Broken man named William is romantically interested in her, despite her gentle dissuasion. Then a flood of magic-eating creatures invades the Edge, and Rose knows she can't protect her family by herself. At the same time, a blueblood from the Weird named Declan Camarine shows up, determined to marry her.
Book two follows Declan's friend William, a wolf changeling in The Edge's version of the Louisiana bayou, and Cerise Mar, who's just become head of the poor but land-rich Mar clan after the mysterious disappearance of her parents. It turns out that they have common cause—William has been employed by the Weird spy agency the Mirror to retrieve a valuable journal before the Louisianian Hand can, and guess who the Hand kidnapped in order to get the journal first?
- On the Edge
- Bayou Moon
- Fate's Edge
- Steel's Edge
- Absurdly Sharp Blade: In Bayou Moon, the Mar clan can all do this by extending their flash along the edge of their blades. It's called the Path Of The Lightning Sword and never fails to be badass in it's use.
- Alternate History: The Weird's history is significantly different from the Broken's. For one thing, their version of North America has multiple kingdoms the size of a few states, like the Republic of Texas. Also, it was indigenous American nations who conquered the Europeans
- Alternate Universe: The Weird is a mirror universe to the Broken, mirrored so that Florida is in the west and California in the east. None of the characters are duplicated, though.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Rose and Declan like each other in spite of themselves.
- Berserk Button: Spider can't deal with being scalded since his abusive father dumped boiling water on him when he was a child.
- Blessed with Suck: Rose's powerful flash makes her stand out from the crowd and makes her an attractive prize to those even more powerful than herself.
- Born Lucky: Kaldar Mar has this as a natural magical talent, being able to do some fairly incredible stuff, so long as it's a bet. For example "I bet you a kiss I can reach your porch without you shooting me"
- Blue Blood: The hereditary aristocracy are called bluebloods. However, bluebloods are different from nobles in that they must first earn the noble title.
- Engagement Challenge: Declan proposes "the traditional solution" to their dilemma: three engagement challenges. If he loses any of them, he will leave and never bother Rose again; if he wins them all, she must come with him and be pleasant and agreeable. Rose accepts.
- Fantastic Racism: Changelings are widely viewed as vicious, inhuman monsters. In some countries they're strangled at birth; in others (like William's home country) they are forced into hellishly abusive academies from infancy (if their mothers even care enough to hand them over to the government) and then drafted into the military.
- Feudal Future: The Weird. Present day, but an alternate dimension.
- Hidden Depths: Declan is just another loudmouthed, arrogant bully determined to have his own way, right? Then why is he protecting the children, cooking them dinner, refusing to leave the Draytons unprotected, and defending their neighbors from the monsters?
- Knife Nut: Declan owns a huge spread of knives, and at one point manages to bait and then bribe Jack with a knife.
- Loophole Abuse: The interrogation/torture technique "fusion" makes a human/plant hybrid who must follow orders. Usually, they're docile, but strong-willed people retain some part of their personalities, and if they aren't explicitly told not to attack their captors, guess what they'll do?
- Love Triangle: Declan is an arrogant, demanding earl who drives Rose crazy. William is a pleasant blue-collar worker who sparks nothing in her. She doesn't want either of them, but they still see each other as competition.
- Magic Versus Science: Magic works in the Weird, technology works in the Broken, and they both have limited efficiency in the Edge.
- Meaningful Name: Rose is prickly and standoffish to outsiders, but to her own family she is sweet, gentle and loving.
- Nobles Who Actually Do Something: Before a Weirdling blueblood can inherit a title, they must serve ten years in either the military or the civil service, and pass the associated exams. Even then the noble title has as many responsibilities as it does privileges.
- Our Werewolves Are Different: Changelings can change from their human form to a specific animal form at will. In the Weird, the magic is plentiful and the change is instantaneous. In the Edge, the magic is weaker and the change can take several minutes. However, in the Weird changelings are treated like second class citizens, taken away from their families, and considered barely more than animals.
- Our Zombies Are Different: George, as a child necromancer, cannot bear to let things die. Not even his grandfather, who has to be kept chained in the shed so he doesn't eat dog brains. Keeping so many dead creatures alive is slowly draining the life out of George, but he still can't bear to let go.
- Parental Abandonment: Mom died, Dad ran off to hunt treasure.
- Promotion to Parent: After their father ran off Rose was left to raise her two younger brothers, barely managing to make ends meet.
- Sibling Rivalry: Declan and his adopted cousin, who served in the military with him. They were closer than brothers but became estranged in the backstory.
- The Magic Versus Technology War: Mentioned briefly, when Declan remarks that the Weird military has trained their elite soldiers in industrial sabotage, in the rare chance that war between the dimensions should break out.
- The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: George no longer tries to pilot his zombies, as he gets lost in their minds and forgets who he is.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Jack is a lynx changeling, and William is a wolf changeling. Since changing in the Edge takes several minutes and is quite painful, Jack has to learn self-control to not react instinctively and change when presented with a threat.
- Was Once a Man: The Hand magically alters some of its agents to be killing machines. The problem is that the amount of magic needed warps them so totally they're not human anymore and makes them so incredibly vicious they have to be babysat to make sure they don't do something like eat the target.
- There's also an interrogation technique called "fusion": a human and a specific type of plant are forcibly joined, to make a hybrid that has all the human's memories but is unable to lie or disobey a direct order. It happens to Cerise's mom.
- Weapon of Choice: Jack is offered either a trailing point knife that slashes or a yatagan clip that stabs. He chooses the stabbing one, since he does more damage with his teeth than his claws.
- Would Hurt a Child: Spider. Particularly changeling children.