Fiery Edge of Steel
by Jill Archer
Genre: Fantasy, Post-Apocalyptic
Excerpt: Yes | Book Trailer: No
Reviewed by: Kate | Source: Publisher
Lucifer and his army triumphed at Armageddon, leaving humans and demons living in uncertain peace based on sacrifice and strict laws. It is up to those with mixed demon and human blood, the Host, to prevent society from falling into anarchy.
Noon Onyx is the first female Host in memory to wield the destructive waning magic that is used to maintain order among the demons. Her unique abilities, along with a lack of control and a reluctance to kill, have branded her as an outsider among her peers. Only her powerful lover, Ari Carmine, and a roguish and mysterious Angel, Rafe Sinclair, support her unconventional ways.
When Noon is shipped off to a remote outpost to investigate several unusual disappearances, a task that will most likely involve trying and killing the patron demon of that area, it seems Luck is not on her side. But when the outpost settlers claim that an ancient and evil foe has stepped out of legend to commit the crimes, Noon realizes that she could be facing something much worse than she ever imagined…
With its very original post-apocalyptic setting and a fascinating main character, I had hoped FIERY EDGE OF STEEL would be better than it turned out. Sadly, this second book in the Noon Onyx series fell flat with a very slow beginning and poor world building. FIERY EDGE OF STEEL was different from the first book, DARK LIGHT OF DAY, in a few ways, but what stuck out to me was that it didn’t take place at the university for most of the book which means we didn’t have as many characters like Ivy and Fitz (Noon’s university friends) to shake things up, and Noon and Ari’s relationship was frustratingly static.
Because Jill Archer has created a mythology so different from our own, it sometimes necessitates a bit of explanation to make things clear to the reader. Most of the time, this is accomplished by Noon explaining things in her inner monologue that she likely takes for granted, which ends up sounding weird- if this is some story that everybody knows from when they were a kid, why is she repeating it? It comes off as inauthentic and feels like mini info dumps every few pages. Noon in general started to get on my nerves a little, especially because she doesn’t seem to have any more control over her magic than when she started classes, so it feels like she isn’t changing. I would like to see her grow more than she has in that way. I’m hoping since she started to change her mindset regarding using her magic at the end of the book that we see more of that in the future.
Another issue FIERY EDGE OF STEEL suffers from is that it was incredibly slow going. The book is split up into two parts. The first part is dedicated to Noon and Ari’s trip to the far flung location where they are investigating a complaint against a demon. The second part is the actual investigation. Unfortunately, part two doesn’t start until around page 200, which means nearly two thirds of the book is telling about the trip there. There were times during part one where I was actually checking the clock to see how long I had been reading…and unfortunately, time seemed to slow down. Luckily, part two had a bit more action, but it felt a bit too little, too late. It also meant the ending felt rushed and squashed into the remaining section of the book.
While FIERY EDGE OF STEEL was disappointing, I’d be willing to give the Noon Onyx series another go. I do like the law school in a post apocalypse world setting, and as we learn more about the demons, I’m hoping it will be easier going. Plus, Noon is a very complicated and conflicted character, and I’m curious about her growth as she learns more and is put in more situations where she has to use her magic. Here’s hoping for a better third book!
- Dark Light of Day
- Fiery Edge of Steel
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