On the Edge: Ilona Andrews’ protagonists are true heroes

fantasy book reviews Ilona Andrews The Edge 1. On the Edgeurban fantasy book reviews Ilona Andrews The Edge 1. On the EdgeOn the Edge by Ilona Andrews

As I started reading On the Edge, my biggest question was, would lightning — or magic — strike twice? Could Ilona Andrews write something just as great as her Kate Daniels series, in a completely different universe? The answer, it turns out, is yes!

The world-building is a little more familiar, but Andrews puts an original spin on it. There’s an Otherworld full of magical beings, called the Weird, and there’s our mundane world, called the Broken. Andrews’ twist is the Edge, a realm that lies between the two. “Edgers” can travel freely among the three worlds, but are second-class citizens in the Weird and the Broken. They often have magical abilities, but these abilities are usually not as strong as those of Weird-dwellers.

The heroine, Rose, is an Edger. As an outcast teenager, she put in years of grueling practice to develop her magical ability to an astounding degree. She did it to thumb her nose at the bullies who tormented her, but her skills just brought her more trouble instead. For years, she’s been fighting off slimy Edge and Weird men determined to use her for breeding stock.

Rose is also raising her two brothers, Georgie and Jack, ages ten and eight, each of whom possesses a dangerous magical talent. The boys are delightful, and bring to mind Phédre no Delaunay’s description of Imriel as a boy: “heart as vast as the plains of Jebe-Barkal and twice as fierce.”

Then, Declan, an arrogant blueblood from the Weird, walks into Rose’s life, declaring that he intends to marry her. Obviously, she wants none of this. He promises to go away if she can stump him with three challenges. But before long, Rose has more on her mind than outsmarting Declan. Horrifying beasts are stalking her Edge village, threatening to devour Rose and her brothers. Only by working together can Rose and Declan hope to defeat them.

On the Edge combines a suspenseful fantasy plot with a terrific love story. It’s a little more “romancey” than Kate Daniels, but I don’t say that as a complaint. The romance is lots of fun, and sometimes hilarious. Rose and Declan may come from different worlds, but they’re well-matched in spirit, brains, and courage. (Note: if you find Declan insufferable at the start, hang in there.)

Speaking of courage, one of the things I loved about On the Edge, and that I’ve also noticed in earlier books by Andrews, was the bravery of the central characters. Some urban fantasies feature protagonists who can’t really be termed “heroes.” Andrews’ protagonists can. Their willingness to risk their lives for their loved ones is admirable and moving. I had tears in my eyes more than once.

There’s a twist to the ending; I saw it coming, but it was gratifying anyway. It’s familiar like a fairy tale is familiar, not the way a cliché is familiar.

On the Edge stands satisfactorily on its own but also leaves room for sequels. I’d love to see further Edge books; there are several characters just dying to have their stories told!

~Kelly Lasiter

urban fantasy book reviews Ilona Andrews The Edge 1. On the EdgeI’m a big fan of Ilona Andrews‘ Kate Daniels series. In fact, Andrews is one of my favorite urban fantasy authors, so my expectations were high when I picked up On the Edge, and I was not disappointed.

On the Edge is set in a world like ours where magic and our reality are separated by a mixed area called the Edge. Magic works there, but so does technology, so it’s an interesting blend and a real no-man’s land. (I felt like I was looking into some really rural area where people knew about the outside world, but were not very interested in it.) The Edge is threatened by a force that seeks to steal all the magic, and kill everyone who has magic in the process.

On the Edge features a lot of the usual urban fantasy themes and characters. The main character, Rose Drayton, is super-talented, very pretty, selfless, but twisted by life’s misfortunes and her family situation. In this regard I was a little disappointed because Rose was really nothing new. But she was likable and entertaining, and I enjoyed how Andrews directed her. Declan, the uber-male who falls for Rose is magical, handsome, and super cliché, but again, Andrews used him well. One thing I love about Ilona Andrews is that she writes great urban fantasy without crossing into paranormal romance. It’s a fine line and she walks it well.

Ilona Andrews is a wonderful author who I have enjoyed for quite a while and The Edge series looks to be a nice addition to her work — the dialogue is good, there’s plenty of action, and it’s a lot of fun.

~John Hulet

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KELLY LASITER, with us since July 2008, is a mild-mannered academic administrative assistant by day, but at night she rules over a private empire of tottering bookshelves. Kelly is most fond of fantasy set in a historical setting (a la Jo Graham) or in a setting that echoes a real historical period (a la George RR Martin and Jacqueline Carey). She also enjoys urban fantasy and its close cousin, paranormal romance, though she believes these subgenres’ recent burst in popularity has resulted in an excess of dreck. She is a sucker for pretty prose (she majored in English, after all) and mythological themes.

View all posts by Kelly Lasiter


  1. :-)) :-)) :-)) This new series is going to be a keeper for a long time for me, cannot wait for the 2nd installment to see what happens to the gang of characters created by Ilona. The fact that can relate to the modern aspects and get lost in the fantastical gives me great pleasure when reading this book. I also loved all the Kate Daniel books so far and this is indeed a nice addition to the world of fantasy reading! :-)) :-)) :-))

    jackie b central texas

  2. I actually thought this one was much better than the Kate Daniels’ series, better portrayal, the characters just seemed more real to me. That being said, I think I could recommend this book to a romance reader, it has fantasy elements but I think it would be equally popular with romance readers; I gave it to my mother who usually reads bodice-rippers and she enjoyed it.

  3. Which is better? Hard to say. I thought it worked really well as a stand-alone novel. But the world setting in the Kate Daniels series is pretty creative. I think we should encourage them to keep writing more books in both series until we can make a final decision here. :drink:

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