Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews
Series: The Edge #2
Published by Ace on October 2010
Genres: Fantasy, Fantasy Romance, PNR, Romance, 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.
I’m in the midst of an Ilona Andrews glom so I decided that this would be a great time to try and get through Bayou Moon.
To date, Bayou Moon is the only Ilona Andrews book that I stopped reading and never picked back up. How?! WHY?! I’m sure those questions are running through your head, lol.
I am a wussy and Bayou Moon is one of the darker Ilona Andrews books I’ve read thus far. There is just so much tragedy in Bayou Moon that I always felt like I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. The last time I started this and stopped I was pretty close to completing the book. I just got so nervous!!! Bayou Moon has a lot of romance features but the majority of the book is NOT focused on the romance – its about the horrible things happening in the Mire. At 68% the MCs have only “brushed lips” and that was only twice IIRC.
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 reflected.
– page 187
Bayou Moon stars the wolf shifter William from On the Edge and Cerise Mar, the leader of the large and (magically) powerful Mars clan in the Mire. William is a wolf shifter and Cerise is a special kind of swordswoman who uses magic in her swordsmanship. The Mire is a section of the Edge that is swampland. The name of the book + some of the commentary really made the location for me: The Mire gave me a New Orleans feel. Whenever I thought of Cerise talking I had a vision of Gambit from the X-Men. And I have to admit I loved it – I’m a certified G.R.I.T. 😉
The shifters in The Edge series are very different from most shifters and especially the shifters in the Kate Daniels series. The shifters in The Edge have a hard time understanding the subtleties of most human emotion and are very much led by their emotions. Wildly swinging and very strong emotions. They are quick to anger, they love strongly and they hate strongly. There are two scenes in Bayou Moon where William becomes enraged with jealously over really simple (non-romantic) interactions that Cerise had with another man. I found the differences to be really interesting.
A lot happened in Bayou Moon. A lot of tragedy occurred in Bayou Moon – especially to the Mar family. The Mar family suffered so much tragedy and there was so many Bad Things happening in Bayou Moon that Cerise and William didn’t really have a chance (on page) to allow their love to be nurtured. They didn’t have time for stolen moments or sweet kisses. They didn’t get one second of peace until the very end. It made me rather sad, to be honest. I believe in the love between William and Cerise because they had to go through fire to get and keep each other…but the poor babies never had a romance.
William and Cerise started Bayou Moon with different motivations: Cerise’s parents were ambushed and kidnapped by the Sheerile family (the Mars and the Sheerlies have been feuding for four generations) and she’s desperate to locate and rescue them. William has been sent in as a spy to locate and if possible kill a spy master (Spider from The Hand) from a rival country. As they get to know each other they learn that their enemies are the same. The Hand used the Sheerlies to get their hands on Cerise’s parents so the Mars and William join forces.
Normally I have no concern for the bad guys but the Andrews did something really…interesting with the leader of the Sheerlies, Lagar: they made Lagar (and his brothers, to an extent) almost sympathetic. Lagar didn’t really want to feud or be stuck in the Mire – he wanted to possibly date/marry Cerise or leave the Mire 100% – but he had no willpower of his own. Lagar’s mother was the real power behind the throne.
“Lagar…He had promise, that one, but she killed it, smothered his will with hers. Kaitlin doesn’t understand – a swordsman must be free to carve his own path in the world, however long it takes him.”
– page 286
I enjoyed Bayou Moon. To an extent. I love Ilona Andrews writing and this book is no exception to the quality of her writing or characters. The only issue I had with Bayou Moon was the darkness and the tragedy. Throughout the book I felt like I was in a movie theatre with the ominous music playing softly but consistently in the background. I also didn’t like the ending but I can’t quite say what I would have preferred. I DO know I was a little furious that View Spoiler » Spider was able to get out of the book alive!!! He killed so many people and he still makes it to the end of the book. I hated that and I wanted him to die. « Hide Spoiler
All in all, I DO recommend this book – especially if you are ok with darker moments and/or tortured/broken heroes.