Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews
Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews is the second book in the fantasy romance Edge series. I was sent the book by the publisher to review. Some background: William was first introduced in On the Edge, book 1 in the Edge series. Bayou Moon is also a direct sequel to On the Edge the though a reader does not need to read it first to understand what is going on with Bayou Moon. Chapter excerpts of both books are available at: http://edge.ilona-andrews.com/books/on-the-edge/ for On the Edge & for Bayou Moon you can read a large part of chapter 4 here: http://www.ilona-andrews.com/2010/09/20/super-giant-bayou-moon-snippet-for-a-monday/
Book description:” 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 Lousiana and th WEird. When her parents vanish, her clan’s long time rivals are suspect number one.
But al 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 into 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 nations’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. “
I am happy to report that it was a vast improvement over On the Edge (which I liked well enough, but still preferred their popular Kate Daniels urban fantasy series in comparison). A lot of the flaws I saw in the first book were not here. The story was “meatier” and went in more depth with all the characters. There were still some flaws, especially in regards to the ending and a few moments that sort of contradicted what someone said.
However, the book itself flowed and was VERY hard to put down. I started it at work on break and had a hard time putting it down to go back to work. Lesson 1: Never read an Ilona Andrew book on a 15 minute break as it could get me in trouble for not stopping when I should.
And the male lead was a VAST improvement over the hero from the first book (though I am the first to admit I still liked Declan and his story in the On the Edge). I prefer my characters flawed in some way. After reading Bayou Moon, I can honestly say that William appealed more to me as Declan never had the depth of character as shown by William in this novel. Declan is probably more like the stereotypical old fashioned hero. He is a strong, capable, mysterious, with a great sense of humor, but lacking what I call a strong flaw to balance out the bad. William, due to his nature, has flaws. He is the first to admit this. He also comes across as more than human. He is different and not just human who just happens to be able to become a wolf. The sense of other and the difference in the way he thinks and views things I really enjoyed. And that makes him interesting to me.
The female lead, Cerise, was interesting though a bit more stereotypical for a heroine. She has what my grandmother terms a “scrappy personality” where she is willing to fight if need be and isn’t easily pushed over. Her burdens of responsibility are realistic and the portrayal of her role in the family revealed how much power she has without her even realizing it. Her angst over her duties while being fully aware that her family and others were stuck in a cycle of destruction with the feuding was a nice touch. I like it when the heroines have awareness beyond the immediate problems and the possible ramifications of their actions and others despite the “righteousness” of the fight.
I should also note that the supporting characters were again just as interesting as the leads (in the case of Cerise, more so, but that is a personal preference of this reader so take that for what it is). Her family members are a motley bunch of interesting, but potentially
difficult personalities that took someone strong to get them to agree to orders from someone in authority. The only complaint which is EXTEREMLY mild is that the ending seemed a tad rushed and everything still fell together too easily in some areas on the conclusion. However, I would love to see a sequel in this world with any of the characters including the supporting ones.
One of the other strong points of the story is that when people get hurt or make decisions or do something they are consequences. I love this as this is rare to see explored to this degree as in this book. People get hurt. People get upset. People die. Makes for a stronger story. Overall, I give the book the rare 5 star KEEPER (as in touch it and you will die as it is mine) status. Go forth and buy it. Read it and spread the word.