Fate’s Edge is the third in the EDGE series by husband-and-wife duo Ilona Andrews. While the EDGE books feature recurring characters and plot threads and can all be categorized as paranormal romance, each book so far has a different “feel.” On the Edge was a fairy tale; Bayou Moon, with the dark mad-science secrets at its heart, had something of the Gothic about it. Fate’s Edge is a caper story. Sure, the protagonists have some personal demons to face, but for the most part the book is sheer rollicking fun.
The hero is Kaldar Mar, whom we met in Bayou Moon as Cerise’s cousin, a gambler and something of a con artist. The heroine is Audrey Callahan, herself an accomplished thief and grifter. She’s about to leave behind her life of crime when she lets family guilt drag her into one last heist. Kaldar, now working for the spy agency the Mirror, is assigned to recover the artifact Audrey stole. But her father has already sold it, and in the wrong hands it could spell the end of both the Edge and the Broken. Now Kaldar and Audrey have to work together to steal it back.
The bare bones of the plot remind me a bit of those quests you’re assigned in video games: Kaldar and Audrey go to someone for an item they need, that person agrees to help them if they’ll do this one little favor, then they need money to pull off that favor, and before you know it, they’re swindling every lowlife scumbag in the Edge on their way to the main prize. But unlike those video game quests, these adventures aren’t annoying. Instead they’re exciting and often side-splittingly hilarious (watch for Audrey playing an airheaded socialite), and the “victims” are such horrible people that it’s easy to root for their ruin.
Also helping to crank up the excitement is the growing attraction — and amusing banter — between Audrey and Kaldar. The Andrews excel at writing this type of relationship: two stubborn people whose rough lives have made them fiercely self-sufficient, neither of whom wants to give up an inch of autonomy, falling in love in spite of themselves and having to figure out how to get along instead of pushing each other away.
George and Jack, the lovable kids we first met in On the Edge, play a major role in Fate’s Edge as well. Several years have passed between books and now they’re fourteen and twelve, and you know what that means… adolescent angst! Actually, some of the most adorable adolescent angst I’ve ever read. Later, each of the boys has his chance to be a hero. In the space of a few more installments, these two could become adults and have their own books! (I hope so!)
The climactic scenes play out in the most fairy-taley of all imaginable fairy-tale castles — you could imagine this confection being in a Disney movie — but the twist is that the man who owns it is slime and his castle is built with blood money. It helps keep readers on their toes while admiring those gorgeous descriptions of the place…
If you’re looking for a paranormal adventure that’s pure fun, Fate’s Edge is it. It’s got swashbuckling and thieving and magic and humor and hot chemistry; what more could you want?