Magic Bleeds

Magic Burns

On the Edge

Bayou Moon
by Ilona Andrews
(Ace, $7.99, R for violence)  ISBN  978-0-441-01945-8
The second of Andrews' Edge series, Bayou Moon is a companion novel to On the Edge, and brings back Lord William Sandine (or, as he will be called throughout this novel, Lord Bill). William, a changeling - which in this series is not someone stolen by faeries but someone who can change into an animal form, has been recruited by a CIA-type agency called the Mirror to chase after some bad guys from the Hand, which is kinda like the KGB of the fantasy realm.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Edge in a place called the Mire, there's a young woman named Cerise who comes home one day to discover that her parents have gone missing and that she's now head of their clan. Yes, clan. The Mire is the Edge's answer to the bayou country of Louisiana. In fact, in the Edge series, there is a Duchy of Louisiana that is part of the Weird. The Weird, for the uninformed, is the dimension of the world that is run by magic. The Broken is where all of us normal humans live. The Edge is a boundary between the two, habitable by only a handful of families whose magic or lack thereof allows them the dubious privilege.

Cerise's clan lives in what we would consider a plantation home and has been knee-deep in a feud with a family called the Sheeriles for eighty years. When Cerise discovers the Sheeriles on Mar family land clutching the deed supposedly signed by her father, she arranges for a trip to the Broken to retrieve some documents necessary to take the Sheeriles to court.

Cerise and William end up on a boat together, deserted by their pilot, both headed for the same Broken town. Though she's dressed as a hobo, it doesn't take William long to figure out that Cerise is a warrior from the mire, and he needs to get into her good graces. Actually, it works out pretty well for him, considering that Cerise is the target of the magically altered man who is William's primary concern.

The partnership works out pretty well, except that William won't tell Cerise who he is or what he's doing. Both are strong fighters and they need the skills alone on the creepy magical bayou being tracked not only by the Hand's Spider but also by men hired by the Sheeriles.

When Cerise finally makes it back home -- to the Rathole, as they call it -- they make it to court and are allowed to oust the Sheeriles from the Mar land. This means battle, and Cerise, though she has grown up in this world, doesn't think she's ready to be the one sending people off to die. William shows his true self during the battle, and through some yucky magic that Cerise has inherited, they learn where her father was taken. Now, the real battle comes along: the Mars (which now basically includes William, blueblood or no) against the Hand.

Rich with ambience and a sharply-painted setting, Bayou Moon is a more than able follow-up to On the Edge. Cerise and William are both strong characters, and not just physically. Cerise's gigantic family may present some name-memorization problems, but Ilona Andrews does an excellent job of presenting something quirky about each person that is necessary to the plotline. There are a lot of crazy characters, and even sci-fi fans may appreciate Andrews' new series, with its technologically-enhanced former-humans and parallel realities.

--Sarrah Knight

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