Series: DIAMOND CITY MAGIC SERIES
Plot Type: Romantic Urban Fantasy (UF)
Ratings: Violence—3-4; Sensuality—4; Humor—2-3
About half-way through the book, Riley reunites with Price, who comes to her rescue more than once during this story. At the end of the first book, Riley broke up with Price after she learned the hard way that his brother heads up a Tyet crime syndicate. At one point in the first book, Gregg Touray captured Riley and tried to force her to work for him. He only let her go free when Price agreed to quit his job with the police force and work full time for Gregg. Riley feared that the time would come when Price would be forced to choose between her and his brother, so she walked away from him because she wasn't sure that he would choose her. Riley's trust issues are fully explored in this book, and not in the way you might have expected—certainly not in the way Riley expected!
Woven through Riley's trials and tribulations with Percy are her memories of her parents. Her mother was murdered when Riley was only four, and her father disappeared some years later. Riley has always been bothered that Dad remarried only a year after her mother's death, although she loves her step-mother and her three step-siblings very much. Over the years, Riley has tried to find her father's trace, but she has never been able to do so, and she has always felt incredibly guilty about that. In this book, Riley learns some new and shocking information about her father that changes her feelings about him. Riley's daddy issues play a major role in the later part of this book and in its cliff-hanger ending.
As I got to the end of this book, I realized that not a single story line had been resolved (except for the romance, and I'm not entirely sure about that one). In fact, as the book nears its final pages, the story lines become even more complex—with more questions than answers. I have mixed feelings about that. On the one hand, the story gallops along at such a fast pace that I couldn't stop reading, but on the other hand, I felt cheated at the end when…well I can't tell you why because that would ruin the ending for you.
Here's the deal: When a novel is part of an ongoing series, the author needs to lay out a specific book-size plot (question, action, conflict, resolution) within a broad series story arc that has its own questions, conflicts, and resolutions. When this writing process is done well, an individual novel in a series will have two types of plots and subplots: 1. One or more story arcs that are resolved by the end of each book; and 2. Story lines that relate to the series arc and that are not resolved until the end of the series. Let's face it. Every book needs to end with some resolution. Call it a reward to the reader for finishing the book. Unfortunately, Edge of Dreams is missing its own individual story arc. Instead, it is tightly and irrevocably bound to the next novel, which will—one hopes—resolve some of the conflicts.
Here is some relevant advice to authors from a posted essay on The Editor's Blog entitled "Setting Up a Series": "In a series, books still point to future events and a full series resolution, but each book also answers its own internal questions and story setup. You get to decide the number and depth of the ties to the other stories in the series, but you also must complete each book. Satisfy your readers along the way so they know you can carry through with your setup. So they feel the completion of your stories…Each novel is still a novel and subject to the rules of good fiction writing. That means a complete story."
And one last grumble: I wish that the author wouldn't continue to make Riley the most physically abused character in the book. This time around, she is drugged, sliced and diced, slapped and beaten, paralyzed by a spell, nearly frozen to death, and more. Oddly, even though she is generally accompanied by others, they don't get hurt nearly as badly as Riley. I realize that Riley is a courageous heroine who runs headlong into danger, but really, couldn't someone else share the pain?
I just reread my review and realized that if sounds very negative. Even with the problems with resolution deficiency and heroine abuse, I'm still enjoying the series, mostly because of the creative world-building, and the exploits of the intrepid heroine, who bounces back to good health with the aid of "heal-all" charms and jumps right back into the action. Click HERE and scroll down just a bit to read an excerpt.
Riley pretends to be a hack tracer and earns her living by hiring out her tracking skills to find missing persons and objects, kind of like a magical private investigator. Secretly, she searches for kidnapped children, a frequent problem in this crime-ridden, mob-run town. Each time she tracks down a missing child, she places an anonymous call to the police telling them where they can find the kidnappers and the child, always being very careful to keep her identity hidden.
Clay Price is a Diamond City police detective who is an enforcer for Gregg Touray, one of the major Tyet bosses. The police department is notoriously dirty, but Riley believes that Price is one of the better cops—more humane than most of his colleagues. At the very beginning of book 1, Price is Riley's nemesis, but the two soon (VERY soon) become allies and lovers.
Diana Pharaoh Francis has also written the HORNGATE WITCHES series. Click HERE to read my reviews of books in of that series.
As the story opens, Riley tracks down a kidnapped mother and child, unintentionally attracting the attention of Clay Price, who comes to her with an offer that she can't refuse. Price wants Riley to find a particular missing man, and if she refuses, he will use his connections with the police department and Tyet to make her life as miserable as possible. Just as Riley agrees to Price's demands, she gets a phone call from her sister telling her that Josh, Taylor's ex-fiance, is missing under violent circumstances. Taylor has found Josh's apartment in a bloody shambles, and Josh is gone. Riley insists on finding Josh before she begins working on Price's missing-person case, so he agrees to help.
Neither Riley nor Price trusts one another. She believes that his mob connections will overshadow any promises he makes to her, and he believes that she is lying to him or at least withholding information (which she is). This mutual distrust turns their burgeoning romantic relationship into a very bumpy affair, although they manage to forget their differences during their sexy bedroom scenes. Eventually, they discover that their two missing persons cases are closely related, and that's when the action accelerates. As the plot plays out, Riley learns the truth about Price's ties to Tyet, and he learns the truth about her incredible magical powers.
This author is a very good story teller who creates fascinating characters and dramatic, engrossing plots. In Riley, she gives us a heroine who is intelligent, independent, brave, and strong enough to withstand a considerable amount of physical abuse (e.g., hit by a bullet, blindsided by a magical surge, slashed by exploding glass). Through most of Riley's traumatic adventures, Price remains largely intact and uninjured (until very late in the story). It's Riley who is on the receiving end of most of the pain and suffering. I'm hoping that this aspect of the story will change because it keeps Riley in victim mode, with Price as her overprotective, macho-man rescuer.
Several characters introduced in this book will probably figure in future books, particularly Josh, Gregg Touray (a traveler), Cass (a healer/dreamer), Savannah Morrell (another Tyet mob leader), and Sandra Arnow, a (possibly crooked) FBI agent. The story ends with a soft cliff-hanger that involves a search for century-old magical artifacts, and the final scene leaves Riley and Price's future relationship on a precarious edge. So far, I'm hooked on the mythology and the characters and am looking forward to the sequel. Click HERE to read an excerpt from this novel.