The Edge of Ruin: Science vs superstition, round two

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book reviews Melinda Snodgrass Edge 2. The Edge of RuinThe Edge of Ruin by Melinda Snodgrass

The Edge of Ruin (2010) is a direct sequel to The Edge of Reason, an excellent present-day fantasy novel by Melinda Snodgrass in which Chtulhu-esque beings use religion to generate emotions like fear and anger, enabling them to enter our dimension. It’s an unusual and original concept that led to a fascinating novel.

Unfortunately The Edge of Ruin is not quite as strong as the first novel in the EDGE series. At the start of the novel, things are in extreme disarray: Lumina’s leader, Kenntnis, is incapicated; Richard Oort, the cop-turned-paladin-of-reason, is trying to get a handle on both the Lumina enterprise and his family; and worst of all, the invading Chtulhu beings have established a beachhead in our dimension, making it all the more urgent for Richard & co. to get organized.

The “& co.” part is important: this novel has a larger cast of characters than the first novel, and switches viewpoints very frequently, from returning characters such as Richard (now told in the first person), Rhiana, and Mark Grenier (who, in the most jarring change since the first novel, is now on Lumina’s side), to new ones like scientist Eddie Tanaka and Lumina COO Dagmar Reitlingen. The frequent changes in POV are a bit jarring as the chapters are very short: there are 50 chapters, plus a prologue and a coda, for only about 380 pages. In addition, not every character is as interesting as Richard and Rhiana, and as a result, The Edge of Ruin never gripped me like The Edge of Reason did.

The dialogue at times is a bit too pat (e.g. about Rhiana: “She’s finding that life in Monsterville isn’t as wonderful as she expected.”), and the novel occasionally takes on the tone of an action movie… which it probably would have been if seen entirely from the eyes of Eddie Tanaka, the scientist who evades slaughter by escaping on a tramp steamer. The ending is a bit chaotic, and the resolution downright bizarre, but it does set up an interesting starting point for the next novel in the EDGE series.

All in all, if you enjoyed The Edge of Reason, I still suggest picking up The Edge of Ruin. It’s not quite as impressive as the first novel, but if, like me, you were hooked by the start of the story, I’m sure you’ll want to know how it continues. It’s not an ideal sequel, but Richard Oort is still a fascinating protagonist, the concept for the novel is still quite original, and I’m still eager to see where Melinda Snodgrass will take the story in the next novel.

Published in 2010. Melinda M. Snodgrass’s The Edge of Ruin, a novel of the eternal battle between science and superstition-in paperback for the first time! I’m Richard Oort. I’m trying to be just an average cop with the Albuquerque Police Department. But two months ago I had learned there were unseen worlds on the borders of our reality. Dimensions filled with horrific, nightmare creatures. Things that viewed humans as prey. Things that drove us to acts of unspeakable violence. I had to fight them, to defend the people I loved, and to find out who I was. And am. Now, I’m still a cop. But now I’m also CEO of Lumina Enterprises, a mysterious, globe-girdling operation I don’t even know the full extent of. Replacing the previous guy, who appears to have also been Prometheus, really and truly. Now Prometheus is bound, and the job of taking the fight to the next level is mine. Because the horrors aren’t over. And they’ll use any human weakness they can. This is a fight for the world. For keeps. 

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STEFAN RAETS (on FanLit's staff August 2009 — February 2012) reads and reviews science fiction and fantasy whenever he isn’t distracted by less important things like eating and sleeping. In February 2012, he retired from FanLit to focus on his blog Far Beyond Reality.

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