Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews
The latest novel in Ilona Andrews‘ the Edge series is swamped with action, romance, and plot twists galore. But the characters and setting just don’t measure up to the first book in the series.
William the Wolf is on a mission. He’s been instructed by the Mirror (Adrianglia’s secret service) to hunt down and destroy the seemingly all-powerful leader of the Hand, Louisiana’s espionage ensemble, Spider. He agrees, eager to take down his arch nemesis once and for all. To do so, he must make the dangerous trek through the Mire, a swamp land filled with deadly creatures and devious people.
Enter Cerise Mar. Her grandfather was exiled to the Mire when he was still a young man, and her family has lived there ever since. An old feud recently bubbled to the surface. Her parents go missing, leaving Cerise in charge of her large and complicated family. She needs to find her father and fast: before she makes the choice to lead her family to war, a war that most of them won’t survive.
Cerise and William meet up at the entrance of the Mire. William needs Cerise – she knows how to navigate through the labyrinthine swamp, and she’s the perfect bate for Spider. Cerise needs William – he knows all about Spider’s crew and how to destroy them. But their relationship grows into something…more.
William’s intensity appeals to Cerise: “Some women waited for a knight in shining armor. She apparently, had ended u with a knight in black jeans and leather, who wanted to chase her down and have his evil way with her.” But she’s afraid to get involved with anybody at this point in her life. A war is coming…it’s not really the best time to fall in love, is it?
Neither Cerise nor William are as approachable and real as the protagonists in the first book of this series. They are too strong, fast, and powerful for readers to relate too. Their strengths are too strong, and their problems too dark. They are the extreme. And, while this makes for exciting reading, it doesn’t provide readers with a strong connection to the characters.
The Mire itself is just the same. It’s extremely dangerous, dark, and swampy. It takes an intense person so survive there. The great thing about the part of the Edge focused on in the last book was the contrast: magic vs. technology. This idea doesn’t play much of a role in this book. Andrews does stick with her normally gritty way of describing things: “The sharp tip of the root, enclosed in a rough almost bark-like cone, probed the dead flesh, and thrust through it. The skin tore like wet paper. A thick torrent of viscous bloody fluid spilled forth and streamed across the dead cheek to the floor. The nauseating stench of rotting meat erupted from the body.” But this book is almost too gritty to handle at times.
An entertaining read with intense characters, Bayou Moon falls short of it’s predecessor.