Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews
Series: The Edge #2
Also in this series: On the Edge
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: September 28th 2010
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Contemporary, General, Fantasy & Magic, Urban Fantasy
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The Edge lies between worlds, on the border between the Broken, where people shop at Walmart and magic is a fairytale–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 swathe 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 into the Edge—and Cerise’s life . William, a changeling soldier who 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.
When I saw there were four books in this series, I thought they all followed the same couple. I was pleasantly surprised to find that isn’t the case. Bayou Moon picks up shortly after the events in On the Edge.
Cerise Mar and her family live in the Mire, the swamp lands of the Edge, a place of magic between the Broken (regular non-magic Earth) and the Weird (a parallel of the Earth filled with magic). Her family has been in a generations-long feud with another family, the Sheeriles. When her parents disappear and one of her cousins reports the Sheeriles have taken over their grandparents’ abandoned home at the edge of their property, she goes to investigate. In their bid to win the fight against her family, the Sheeriles have partnered with a spymaster from the Weird,Spyder, and his merry band of genetically modified freaks. Something she knows it’ll be difficult, if not impossible, to fight. She travels to the Broken to retrieve a document proving ownership of the house and ends up meeting William.
William is a changeling from the Weird. Changelings aren’t accepted in the Weird and are either killed at birth or sent to live in an orphanage where they’re trained as weapons for the country. When William failed to obey an order during a mission, he was sentenced to death. Lord Sandine adopted him (for his own nefarious purposes) and when he died, William was set free. Since then he’s been living in the Edge and working in the Broken, if not happy, then at least content to be alone. When he’s approached by the Mirror, a spy organization from the Weird, to track down an old nemesis, Spyder, he reluctantly agrees. Spyder is rumored to be hiding in the Mire and seems to be targeting the new girl he met on his journey there. He decides he needs to stay as close to Cerise as possible to find his target, but he doesn’t expect to be as drawn to her as he is.
William intrigued me in the first book, On the Edge, and I was anxious to get his story. Having been raised in an orphanage and, aside from his quasi-friendship with Logan (the hero of the first book), he’s been alone his whole life. He craves a family and connections to other people, but he’s too wary to make friends or trust new people. He’s also a stone-cold killer who is trained in all areas of combat. Oh, and there’s the small thing that he can change into a wolf at will. He thinks Cerise is a meek little thing when he first meets her, and vows to protect her. Until he realizes she’s just as skilled and deadly as he is. I think the first time he watched her kick ass is when he started falling in love.
“Stay back this time,” Cerise said. “It’s my fight.”
“There are nine of them. Don’t be stupid.”
“Stay the fuck back, William.”
“Fine.” He took a step back and raised his crossbow. If that’s the way she wanted it, he could always rescue her later. “Let’s see what you got.”
The larger boat slammed into them, sending a quake through the hull. Two men jumped onto the deck.
Cerise struck and paused, blood running down her blade.
The first two fighters died without a scream. One moment they stood on deck, and the next the top halves of their bodies slid down into the river.
William closed his mouth with a click.
The attackers drew back.
The edge of Cerise’s sword shone once, as if a glowing silver hair were stretched along the blade. She leaped onto the larger boat.
They swarmed her. She whirled, cutting through them, slicing limbs in half, severing muscle and bone. Blood sprayed, she paused again, and the fighters around her fell without a single moan.
Four seconds and the deck was empty. Nothing moved.
She was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen.
Cerise doesn’t trust easily, but she agrees to take William home with her when she realizes he’s a target and he’s more than capable of helping her in a fight. If the idiot man would stop trying to protect her, that is. She’s a fully trained warrior and knows how to handle herself in a fight, plus she knows more about the swamp than he does. That doesn’t stop her from lusting after him, though. As they get deeper into the swamp, she becomes more and more impressed with him.
When she was a teenager, she used to imagine meeting a stranger. He would be from the Weird or the Broken, not from the Mire. He would be lethal and tough, so tough, he wouldn’t be afraid of her. He would be funny. And he would be handsome. She’d gotten so good at imagining this mysterious man, she could almost picture his face.
William would kick his ass.
Maybe that was why she couldn’t get him out of her head
Cerise’s large family is colorful and really comes to life. Aunts, uncles, cousins..each had their own personality and quirks. I loved getting to know them and watching them interact with each other. Keldar and Lark especially stand out, as both their backstories are intriguing. Keldar acts like a happy-go-lucky guy all the time, but it’s obvious there’s more depth there than he’d like to let on. I’m glad he’s getting his own book.
Seeing William become enfolded in the family and fall for Cerise was wonderful. I wanted to see him become part of something and that’s exactly what happened here. Cerise was more emotionally balanced than he was, but she had her own baggage. They were evenly matched in every way and I loved watching them fall.
The action and adventure in this novel was on point. Their search for Cerise’s parents, Spyder and his altered agents, the mystery of what Spyder was looking for, the feud between Cerise’s family and the Sheeriles…all of it kept me on the edge of my seat. Fair Warning, there’s a high creep factor here with some of the baddies in the swamp and Spyder’s agents, and some of it was really gory, but I can’t deny I loved every bit of it.
Andrews’ imaginative and detailed world really comes to life here. I highly recommend the story.
4.25 out of 5