The Edge of Reason (The Edge Series) by Melinda Snodgrass

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The Edge of Reason (The Edge Series) by Melinda Snodgrass

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Category: Fantasy
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Ani Johnson
Reviewed by Ani Johnson
Summary: A US cop, superior beings and our Earth on the precipice of a battle of biblical proportions: a fascinating take on deity in this rave-worthy urban fantasy/sci-fi first-in-series. More please!
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 384 Date: September 2014
Publisher: Titan Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 1783294604

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For cop Richard Oort it should have been a normal night on his New Mexican beat. Normality changes when he goes to the rescue of a girl being attacked and suddenly his life is also endangered. That's not all: he ends up as guardian of Rhiana, the girl he rescued - someone who can make fire from pennies. She isn't the only oddball. As he's introduced to the Old Ones and the Lumina Richard realises there's a world of which he's totally ignorant despite it impinging on this one. Now he has a choice: be killed or become a Paladin in a conflict that's more than a prosaic war between good and evil which could also kill him, along with all humanity.

You may have enjoyed Melinda Snodgrass' work before without realising, despite her wonderfully distinctive name. If you've enjoyed such shows as Star Trek or The Outer Limits in recent years, you may have seen some of Melinda's episodes. Similarly if you enjoy George R R Martin's shared world Wild Card series, Melinda co-writes those too. Having submerged herself in the genre so successfully, you would think that when Melinda decides to do a good-versus-evil story, it will be so much better than the words on the tin and it oh so is.

The book blurb makes the story seem a little flat but from that first page as we watch Richard Oort evolve from innocent to someone with knowledge he'd rather not have acquired, we realise this is a 3-D extravaganza.

Which reminds me, please be careful which reviews you read – I have seen at least one that gives away all the 'wow' moments you'd rather have discovered for yourself. Having said that, I'll now need to be careful about my revelations! I'll try!

Melinda melds science, urban fantasy and light philosophy to create a very absorbing tale. There are elements that on paper look like standard fantasy fayre: overlapping worlds, golems, glamour (in the magic sense) but it's given original twists. These twists are in our concept of religion, and physics (science-phobes worry not – it's all perfectly understandable, adding to the surprise rather than inducing bafflement) as we watch everything that devout Christian Richard has ever believed in be dismantled through the people he meets and things he sees.

People? Well… I use the word loosely. Kenntnis (odd spelling but if you're German you'll understand why) is the head of an organisation that's richer than Microsoft and he can certainly do more than Microsoft! Meanwhile Cross isn't who he seems to be – any of the hims in fact. Then raising the ante even further, Richard has demons of his own that appear near the end of this first volume when you thought all he had to face was Armageddon. By the way, isn't it a refreshing turn of fantasy events when the human without magic is the only one who can…? I know – I promised to let you find out things like that by yourself.

I've read in some quarters that it will offend practising Christians. That's interesting but suggests challenges to faith are an annoyance rather than the opportunity to evaluate faith in the light of the challenges, even if the challenges are serious. Speaking as a practising Christian, I was intrigued and entertained rather than outraged or miffed.

It's great stuff: intelligently written without us needing to punch above our intellectual weight, gritty violent action and never knowing quite who anyone is working for, let alone who's going to be there in the end. Talking about the end, there's a great eclectic team of heroes ready to kick off the next part. Yes, rends between worlds have never seemed so good and I'm raring and ready for part 2, The Edge of Ruin. Shame that July 2015 is so far off!

(Thank you, Titan Books, for providing us with a copy for review.)

Further Reading: If gritty urban fantasy appeals, we also heartily recommend Dirty Magic: Prospero's War: Book One by Jaye Wells

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