Friday, February 13, 2015
Goodreads Reviews: Ilona Andrews' On the Edge
I can't say I have a favorite volume of this series: I've read and reread all four several times, and somehow get that same glorious rush each time. Paranormals are a dime a dozen these days, but none are quite like this. The entire concept of the Edge is so imaginative, with limitless possibilities for cool plotlines.
I especially love the series' emphasis on family. Children are major characters in each book, and they are not there just to be adorable, play matchmaker, or dispense improbably wise bits of relationship advice. Rather, they have their own agendas, personal histories, and magical powers. Jack Drayton may be my favorite child in any (adult) book, but all of the children in these books are realistically drawn and compelling characters in their own right.
I'll also put in a special word of praise for how On the Edge handles the rich guy/poor girl plotline. Now as a romance junky, I'm all for stories about princes in their palaces or billionaires in their penthouse apartments. However, in recent years, we’ve seen the rise of what I’ll call the Supply-Side Cinderella: these Republican-friendly stories like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey cross the line from fun descriptions of luxury to celebrating wealth and wealthy people. In books of this ilk, rich people are fundamentally better--classier, smarter, cooler, better--than people who don’t have money, and the heroine, CinderAnaBella, deserves to share that money because she is more authentic and sensitive and appreciative than her more conventional friends, (who belong with the working-class stiffs they end up with.) You don't have to be a Bolshevik to find loathsome the implication that the uber-wealthy deserve their good fortune thanks to their superior virtues, and that those less fortunate are exactly where they belong.
Superficially On the Edge is similar: the heroine, Rose, works a dead-end job for a cleaning service and is wooed by super-handsome aristocrat, Declan. But unlike in the Supply-Side Cinderella stories, both the poverty of the Edge and the aristocratic wealth of the Weird are treated with the same clear-eyed lack of sentiment and glamor. Rose's struggles to pay for shoes or gasoline are shown for the soul-sucking grind they are. Declan is basically a good guy, but it is mostly in spite of his class not because of it. Most importantly, though I was incredibly happy to see Rose and her brothers rescued from such a hopeless situation, I never doubted Declan was damn lucky to win her.
Bottom line: this is one of my absolute favorite paranormal series. All four books are excellent. My only complaint is that I want more. Are we ever going to get Jack, George’s and Lark’s stories? Because I’m totally willing to beg.
Originally posted on Goodreads.