Fate’s Edge by Ilona Andrews – Review

Book Jacket:

Audrey Callahan left behind her life in the Edge, and she’s determined to stay on the straight and narrow. But when her brother gets into hot water, the former thief takes on one last heist and finds herself matching wits with a jack of all trades…

Kaldar Mar-a gambler, lawyer, thief, and spy-expects his latest assignment tracking down a stolen item to be a piece of cake, until Audrey shows up. But when the item falls into the hands of a lethal criminal, Kaldar realizes that in order to finish the job, he’s going to need Audrey’s help…

You can read an excerpt here.

Review:

When a book or movie made after the 1940′s lays claim to witty banter and sizzling chemistry, my Pavlovian response is to brace myself for a terrible romantic comedy. Those two buzz word pairings have been so misused and abused over the years that when I heard them floated in the ether surrounding Ilona Andrews’ latest Edge novel, Fate’s Edge, I began to feel a thrill of apprehension. Happily, Fate’s Edge resoundingly laid my fears to rest – Ilona Andrews delivers another thoroughly satisfying romance wrapped up in an intriguing paranormal world.

Fate’s Edge is a tale of two cons – Kaldar, the merry rogue and consummate hustler we know from Bayou Moon, and Audrey, a talented pick-lock who hails from a family of thieves. This isn’t a story of the two of them facing off and trying to game each other (a la The Thomas Crown Affair), this is the story of the two teaming up to make a scarily effective pair (more in the neighborhood of The Italian Job), all the while calling each other on their bullshit, which needless to say makes for a ridiculous amount of fun. The banter between the two of them is hilarious, and even, dare I say it – witty.

There’s no denying that Kaldar is a very good looking guy, but it was actually Audrey who hooked me into this story from the start, with her struggle to break away from her family and make a life for herself, and the ways in which she just refuses to buy what Kaldar’s selling. So often in a will they/won’t they dance, it feels artificial as to why the pair just won’t make out already, but here Audrey really has a strong case for why she doesn’t want to get involved with Kaldar, and she sticks to her guns, which made me love her. Of course, all the while Kaldar is trying very hard to figure out how to be what she wants, so as to get what he wants, never realizing that it is that same chameleon like ability that makes Audrey keep her distance – after all, who can trust a con man? All in all it makes for a highly entertaining tango, and yes, their chemistry does in fact…sizzle.

As for the world-building, once again I found myself agog – The Edge series has always been and continues to be phenomenal in that respect. The Edge is the somewhat magic no man’s land between our normal world, known as The Broken, and the magic-fueled parallel world known as The Weird. Like with any small town at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder, those who live in The Edge scrape and struggle to get by, facing the full range of immigrant hardships when the venture into either The Broken or The Weird. And like with any hardened small town community, Edgers make both dangerous enemies and loyal friends. All our leads – from Audrey and Kaldar to the tag-along teen scapegraces George and Jack – are Edgers, and it shows. Even in this story, which largely takes place in The Broken, The Edge is still very much present and accounted for in the ways our leads think and react to the world. Andrews has brilliantly rendered not only a world, but a culture as well.

In terms of plot, overall everything worked, but it wasn’t quite as tight as I wanted it to be. The action was steady, and the story effortlessly interesting, but I thought the reason for the big con Audrey and Kaldar “had” to run was a little manufactured, and weirdly the big battle that felt like it should be the climax of the story came about 100 pages too early. Not to mention there was a strange action denouement at the end that felt wildly anticlimactic… The plotting certainly made sense, and the relationship arc, which is really the heart of this book, worked in every respect, but I do wish it had all fit together a bit better.

Still, Audrey and Kaldar are more than enough fun to carry this book. I love how they challenge each other and make each other better, and how their attraction is based on more than the physical. It’s very easy to fall in love with these two – and while Bayou Moon may still be my favorite of this series, Fate’s Edge does make for a wonderfully satisfying read.

And can I just say – Ling the Merciless? Best pet name ever.

Byrt Grade: A

As Levar Burton used to say – you don’t have to take my word for it…

Publishers Weekly says:

… The clash of personalities and quick wits fuels serious chemistry, resulting in an appealing blend of madcap caper, spy thriller, and romantic comedy.

Dear Author says:

By the end, I was happy when Audrey and Kaldar got their HEA, but content to let them ride off into the sunset. I am sure they will be useful in future installments of the Edge series, but Audrey and Kaldar didn’t hook me the way William and Cerise did in Bayou Moon or, to a lesser extent, Rose and Declan did in On the Edge.

All Things Urban Fantasy says:

…from the moment Audrey and Kaldar met, I was hooked.  There was a playful and sexy quality to their relationship that I fell for long before Audrey and Kaldar wised up, but the teasing will they/won’t they back and forth was so much fun that I was actually the tiniest bit disappointed when they finally got together.

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