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Steel’s Edge by Ilona Andrews
Charlotte de Ney is as noble as they come, a blueblood straight out of the Weird. But even though she possesses rare magical healing abilities, her life has brought her nothing but pain. After her marriage crumbles, she flees to the Edge to build a new home for herself. Until Richard Mar is brought to her for treatment, and Charlotte’s life is turned upside down once again.
Richard is a swordsman without peer, future head of his large and rambunctious Edger clan—and he’s on a clandestine quest to wipe out slavers trafficking humans in the Weird. So when his presence leads his very dangerous enemies to Charlotte, she vows to help Richard destroy them. The slavers’ operation, however, goes deeper than Richard knows, and even working together, Charlotte and Richard may not survive…
An awesome contemporary romantic “urban” fantasy. Last of the four book series, the manuscript can be stand-alone or enjoyed at the end of a long reading marathon. At this time I have only read books one and four.
Ilona Andrews, a husband and wife team, write banter like they took notes during a few of Benedict and Beatrice (Much to do About Nothing) private arguments. Sexy, funny, witty. The men of the series are warriors and the women stand by their side with their special abilities, kicking ass and maybe even scarier than the male loves; Charlotte, the heroine of Steel’s Edge, certainly is the more dangerous of the two. All the heroes and heroines are strong people.
And the worldbuilding is delicious. It isn’t so much political intrigue as sociological intrigue. Unless you know how to move through the society, you got problems. In the first book it was trying to fit in with the isolated Edgers, and in the fourth book maneuvering through the challenge of a three-hundred-year old aristocratic society – it isn’t a Victorian novel on manners, but picking the right color gown can mean the difference of getting in to see the person you need to assassinate.
Steel’s Edge is clearly a three-act book – the first on the Edge dragging Charlotte out of her hidey hole back into the land of the living and personal hurt, the second an unholy absolutely amazing preparation for and then battle at a slaver’s town, and finally going after the big slave bosses who move at the very top of society. In each act Charlotte’s and Richard’s relationship develop further and the stakes get higher.
I loved meeting up with the children from Book 1 – George and Jack – again in Book 4. They have grown older, now full teenagers and on the cusp of adulthood. And I may forgive the Andrews the first major death of the book … if they write two more romances set in the Edge. I want to see who George, Jack, and even Sophie end up with.