William Wolf didn’t get the girl in last year’s On the Edge, but he certainly won over plenty of us readers. In Bayou Moon, the second Edge paranormal romance by the husband-and-wife team that makes up Ilona Andrews, William gets his turn to shine and to meet his match in a scrappy Edge woman.
Cerise Mar has just become de facto head of her wild but tight-knit family after the disappearance of her parents. At first it just looks like the Sheerile clan, the Mars’ sworn enemy, are stirring up trouble again. But Cerise soon learns that a sinister organization called the Hand is behind the kidnappings. William wants revenge on the Hand’s leader for reasons of his own. On a journey through the Mire, a treacherous Edge swamp, William and Cerise’s paths (and schemes) converge.
The trip through the Mire moves a little slowly, uncharacteristically so for Andrews. It’s not that it’s devoid of action. Quite the contrary, Cerise and William encounter plenty of spine-tingling and stomach-turning bad guys along the way. It’s just that the “shape” of the story isn’t quite visible yet. It feels like it’s meandering from one fight to the next. If you get bogged down here — pardon the pun — I urge you to keep going; Andrews is sneakily laying lots of groundwork for the William/Cerise relationship and for the mystery plot, and it all does come together terrifically in the end.
This being Ilona Andrews, there’s a substantial humorous streak to temper the horrific and violent elements. Snarky banter arises almost instantly when the hero and heroine meet, and there are further laughs when the other members of the Mar family become more prominent in the story.
“Bet me something.”
“I don’t have anything.”
Kaldar grimaced. “Pick up that rock.”
Gaston swiped the rock off the ground.
“Now you have a rock. I bet this five bucks against your rock.”
(By the way, I really hope Kaldar gets his own book someday.)
Bayou Moon has a little bit of everything: horror, comedy, romance, heartwarming family relationships, tons of creepy swamp atmosphere, and a twisted blend of magic and mad science. I loved the way everything dovetailed together eventually, and the way the Mars’ past was slowly revealed. There’s not much more I can say without spoiling some of the best surprises, but I’ll just say that I highly recommend Bayou Moon and hope the Gordons keep writing Edge books for a long time to come.