Steel’s Edge by Ilona Andrews

Steel's Edge Cover

Slam-bang ending for this four-book series

Steel’s Edge (The Edge, #4) by Ilona Andrews

Reading Level: Adult Romance
Release Date: November 27, 2012
Publisher: Ace
Pages: 401 pages
Source: Purchase
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry

Charlotte is a healer of enormous power, but she also has the ability to kill, to a truly terrifying degree. To give into that side of her nature is to become an Abomination.

Richard is a magically enhanced swordsman of tremendous skill and power as well as a master of disguises. For years now, he has been engaged in an excruciatingly dangerous mission to avenge the massive harm to a beloved young relative of his at the hands of outlaw slavers by doing everything he can to foil the epidemic of illegal slavery throughout the multiple kingdoms of his world.

Fate brings these two together when the murder of a beloved friend at the hands of vicious slavers sets Charlotte on the same path as Richard. They join forces against the evil slavers, but it is obvious from the start of their teaming up that the odds are not in their favor. Nevertheless, they are both utterly determined to root out the ultimate source of the horrific infestation of slavery, even when they discover its mastermind is an apparently untouchable member of the highest echelons of their society.

I enjoyed this fourth book in The Edge series, though I have to say that Book 1 remains my absolute favorite of the four. Charlotte is a very strong heroine, and Richard is an extremely sympathetic, noble hero. However, I had trouble getting over the cringe factor of the surgical sacrifice that Richard makes in pursuit of taking down the Big Bad. The book is particularly well plotted out in the various ways that Charlotte is allowed to utilize her amazing magical power to defeat the bad guys and ultimately resolve a running thread throughout the series by having her involved in the takedown of some truly grotesque villains.

The Andrews writing team states on their website that they consider this wonderful paranormal romance series finished with this, the fourth book. The beloved characters, brothers George and Jack, are in all four books, starting out in book 1 as, respectively, ages 10 and 8, and in this book ages 16 and 14. George is a necromancer and while still only a teenager in this book, it is clear that he is already well on his way to being the spymaster he eventually becomes (see below). He utilizes birds and mice he has risen from the dead as instruments of his spying–which is both poignant and funny. Jack is just coming into full puberty in this book and is growing in strength as a shapeshifter lynx. I am happy to report that in Sweep in Peace, the second in the Andrews’s self-published Innkeeper series, George and Jack show up again. They are now age 29 and 27. I dearly hope that the Andrews team will reconsider ending the Edge world and instead write a book each for these wonderful brothers and give them their own love stories.

SPOILER ALERT for this book and for Sweep in Peace: It surprised and disappointed me that a hideously evil villain who was presumably finished off for good (and good riddance) at the end of this book, as it turns out, actually wasn’t killed. I know this because we are informed in the prologue of Sweep in Peace, from George’s point of view, that this bad guy is finally truly dead, offstage and undescribed, at George’s hands. That inconsistency was confusing and anti-climactic in the context of the events of this book.

I experienced this book both in Kindle form and then again as an audiobook narrated by the magnificent Renee Raudman. She narrates all the Andrews’s books, and it is always a delight to enjoy one of her performances.

I rate this book as follows:

Heroine: 5

Hero: 5

Subcharacters: 5

Romance Plot: 4

Action-Adventure Plot: 5

Fantasy World-Building: 5

Writing: 5

Audio Narration: 5

Overall: 5