Cerise Mar lives in the Mire in the Edge, a dangerous and deadly swampland in the space between the Weird, where magic runs rampant, and the Broken, where magic is only an idea in the minds of fantasy writers. Her family has been part of a terrible feud with Sheeriles for decades, a feud Cerise hopes to one day end so her family can live in peace. When Cerise’s parents go missing, and the Sheeriles appear to be responsible, Cerise suddenly becomes the head of her family. She vows to find her parents, and take revenge on the Sheeriles, perhaps ending the feud once and for all.
William is a changeling, an outcast even the army in the Weird doesn’t want any more. He lives quiet life in the Edge, missing Rose and her brothers Jack and George, who left for the Weird with Declan several months ago. Then one morning a powerful agent of the Mirror, the “good” spies from the Weird, arrives on his front lawn. She tells William she needs his help recovering some powerful and dangerous information from Spider, leader of the Hand, the “bad” spies from the Weird. Spider is an old enemy of William’s, who he is desperate to destroy once and for all. Despite his better judgement, William takes the job, not knowing he will cross paths with Cerise, and the job will prove much harder than just stealing a book from his oldest enemy. Cerise and William, unlikely allies, must work together to defeat Spider, rescue Cerise’s parents, and regain the stolen knowledge that would allow Spider to create an unstoppable army. All without killing each other in the process.
Bayou Moon is the second book in The Edge series by Ilona Andrews. William was a side character who I didn’t even really remember from On the Edge, the first book in the series. Rose, Declan, Jack, and George from the first book made a brief appearance in this one, but really this story was all about William and Cerise. One of the things I love about Andrews is their (Ilona Andrews is the pen-name of a husband and wife team) world building in both this series, and the Kate Daniels series. The actual descriptions of the locations is brilliant, as well as the use of magic and politics that surround the characters and influence their lives. On top of that is their excellent characters, usually with tragic backgrounds that they have overcome to be the best possible person then can be. I loved Cerise, who deep down is really a kind-hearted person who just wants peace and something better for the younger members of her family, but who can also be a cold-hearted killer to protect the ones she loves. Meanwhile, William is a man who has always been discriminated against simply because he was born a changeling. Forced to become a killer to survive, William is eventually thrown out of the army, the only ones who have a use for him, and is forced to live on his own in the Edge, thinking having a family is an impossibility for him, until he meets Cerise.
I like the way Andrews can weave intrigue, suspense, action and a love story all together without one part overcoming another. I love the brief insights into the minds of the cold and heartless villains, who somehow you always find some sympathy for. Overall I thought this was an excellent read and I’m looking forward to the next one in the series.