Friday, October 29, 2010

Review: Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews

The Edge lies between worlds, on the border between the Broken, where people shop at Wal-Mart and magic is a fairy tale—and the Weird, where blueblood aristocrats rule, changelings roam, and the strength of your magic can change your destiny…

Cerise Mar and her unruly clan are cash poor but land rich, claiming a large swath of the Mire, the Edge swamplands between the state of Louisiana and the Weird. When her parents vanish, her clan's long-time rivals are suspect number one.

But all is not as it seems. Two nations of the Weird are waging a cold war fought by feint and espionage, and their conflict is about to spill over in the Edge—and Cerise's life. William, a changeling soldier who'd left behind the politics of the Weird, has been forced back into service to track down a rival nation's spymaster.

When William's and Cerise's missions lead them to cross paths, sparks fly—but they'll have to work together if they want to succeed…and survive.

Sparks completely fly between William and Cerise. 

He wore jeans and a white T-shirt.  His clothes molded to him.  William wasn't built, he was carved, with hard strength and lethal speed in mind.  No give, no weakness.  He had the honed, lean body of a man who was used to fighting for his life and liked it that way.  And he strode to her like a swordsman: sure, economical movements touched with a natural grace and strength.

Their stares met.  She saw the shadow of the feral thing slide across William's eyes, and she stopped stirring the stew. 

They stared at each other for a long tense moment. 

Damn it.  That was not supposed to happen. 

And while watching them admit they like one another is fun, the real action is in the Mire itself.  Their surroundings seems to become a character and, lest we forget, there are several "characters" present in Cerise's family. 

At times Bayou Moon felt more in the gothic tradition of Flannery O'Connor or Carson McCullers rather than straight-up urban fantasy, particularly because of the layers upon layers of subtext.  There is more here than putting William and Cerise together to get from point A to point B or achieve such-and-such goal or even to play out their romantic arc.  This is deep, life-changing (for all characters involved), and damn if Ms. Andrews doesn't do oh so well.  I couldn't put this book down and cannot wait to read what's next for The Edge.

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