“Fiery Edge of Steel” is a moving and fun story about choices and consequences and love. The story starts off after Noon’s break between her first year and second learning to be a Magistrates. Basically she is a member of the Host, and as such she has magic. Nothing unusual with the Host but in New Babylon thousands of years after the Apocalypse. There are Demons, Angels, The Host and Humans. Many demons are under the guidance and law of the Magistrates. The world build is a bit complex and the story is highly political, as are most fantasy novels. So pay attention and you will quickly go “oooohhh!
(Book one has AWESOME info-dumping and world-building before it starts and though it isn’t necessary to read this book, you will have a different experience if you don’t)
Noon is training to be a magistrate and is in a unique position. She is a woman and no woman in the history of the new world holds waning magic, the magic of death and destruction. Instead of the magic of healing as her mother has. Her twin brother Night is the one who ended up being the only male in the healing side of magic. This just explains some of what is going on. For those that are into world-building you will really want to read book one. This book could have been read as a standalone. If I had done it that way, I think I would not be pissy about how I felt about Noon in the beginning. She has a hard time accepting who she is even in the second book but the first book due to how she was raised and shielded or forced to hide who she is, she is hobbled facing her advanced schooling to become who she was born to be.
(When we left off with book one, I wanted to smack her! Of course it is a book about a girl growing up, new adult not YA – see below- and this one is no longer a new adult read.)
I had some interesting takes on a few of the things which I feel are very important to mention. First, this book is listed as urban fantasy and I think when you are trade published they have to box you into a genre. It is a genre bender and I would list it as a post apocalyptic, urban fantasy, mystery and thriller. The first book could easily be labeled as new adult because of of a first love and sex scenes. The second was not a new adult but she is growing up and though she still has not been able to completely control her magic and form that fiery edge of steel.
She still is being pressured by the two men in her life, Ari and Peter. Ari is new and works (ed) for her father as a demon hunter and is strong in the force of waning magic (insert Star Wars voice here). Peter is part of the host and has been working on learning how to find the spell to reverse her magic.
Ultimately it comes down to acceptance versus encouragement (I would LIKE to say something different but I do not want to taint your feelings towards Peter). If she chooses not to do one thing or do the other is she really following her dream? Or is she not facing reality… you decide
She never wanted her magic, she does not want to kill. Yet when the book opens she is suppose to do the magical equivalent of a stoning and she cannot.
What would you do?
I recommend this book if you like all of the genres mentioned. If you like your fantasy with a twist, blended with some evil, an incredible mystery, questions of femininity, light sexuality. A story which addresses accepting yourself for what you are, for growing into that acceptance instead facing things with the fight against change. If you want to read a strong female character who is not strong because she has kick ass magic skills (which she does) but is strong because she can show weakness and she has moral character which cause her to really BE. If you like seeing evil stomped on and have some epicly awesome fantasy swirls of fun! Oh grab this series and get ready for book three (see cover here).
A few interesting aspects from the two men in her life from both sides of the host…
to wane or not to wane…
Ari: “I love you for who you are while [Peter] wants to turn you into something you’re not.”
Peter: “I want to give you your life’s dream, Noon. And then I want to live that life with you.”
Ohhh and there is this awesome MacGuffin, the BLACK ONION, basically the magical equivalent to a Magic 8 ball.. OK a bit more than that, but it is coveted and ends up being more important to the continuation and certain familial relationships than you would expect it to be! I love when random objects are used as plot devices!