Tina's Reviews > Bayou Moon

Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews
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's review
Aug 21, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: z2010-reads, romance-paranormal
Read from September 29 to October 02, 2010

William, whom we met in the previous book, On the Edge is hanging out in his trailer, collecting action figures and generally brooding over his life. Until he finds a mysterious box on his front porch. It contains some disturbing information about an old, longstanding enemy of his from his days as a soldier.

In the Weird, where the magical blue bloods live, the Duchy of Louisiana is trying to start a war with the Adriaglians. The Louisianan's have a secret spy society known as The Hand led by Williams' enemy. They have come into the Edge to retrieve an item that will supposedly guarantee a victory in the war. William is recruited by the Adriaglian secret spy society known as The Mirror to stop them, by any means necessary. So they trick him out in style, give him the name of an undercover contact near the border and send him on his merry, murdering way.

In the meantime, in the a swampy wild area in The Edge known as The Mire, Cerise Mar and her family are embroiled in a generations long feud. The cash poor, but land rich and super numerous Mars are in a dispute with the very rich but land poor (and much less numerous) Sherilee clan. Cerise's parents have gone missing and the Sherilee's are squatting on a valuable piece of Mar property. In her parents' absence, Cerise is the head of the family and must make the decisions. In the Mire, family, reputation and pride are everything. Cerise knows they have to take back what is theirs or they will lose face among the hardscrabble community that makes up Mire society.

In the midst of their separate crises, Cerise and William stumble across each other and learn that their individual troubles have a common root. The Hand. They decide to help each other to defeat The Hand and get back Cerise's parents.

That is a very, very brief outline of just the set up of this book. It does it no justice because there is so much going on with a lot of plot and quite a few characters.

First, let me talk about William. He was quite enigmatic in the first book that he really was just a nice side character who worked as a great foil for Declan. In this one he's lonely, still very bruised from his life and situation, he's a creature of his lifelong conditioning, he's a soldier, a killer and a very sweet person whose weakness is children. In other words, he is fully realized and he is wonderful to know.

Cerise is, imo, less effective as a singular stand out character. She is a very good construct but she pales in comparison to William. or maybe she reminded me too much of Rose. She is plucky, a caretaker for the family, has a lethal magical flash etc. etc.

Her family, otoh,are Outstanding! I loved the Mar family. Every. Single. One. This is where I think the book absolutely soars. There are a lot of people in Cerise's family and the author manages to distill the essence of all the ones we meet. They were each so distinct and vivid. I would've been happy if the book was just about the feud between the Mars and the Sherilee's without all the weird creepy stuff with The Hand. I really wanted to just stay in the Mire and watch all the Mars and the Sherillees go after each other. I sometimes think that is all William wanted too.

But no, we had the larger plot with the War and what The Hand wanted to get their - ha ha -- hands on. It has something to do with the Marses and we don't find out until very, very, very late in the book what it is.

This is where the book lost me a bit. When we find out what the big revelation is I'm all "eh?" It was also never really clear how The Hand knew all about this thing and how they knew that it would do what they needed it to do.

This is why I can't really give this book a 5-star. By the time we got to the huge revelation of what they wanted that whole plot seemed almost extraneous. I got so caught up in the characters, I almost didn't care anymore about that part. I had even forgotten all about William's conscription by The Mirror.

I do have to talk about the world building. This is where I think Andrews excels. I felt like that I really immersed in this world. There wasn't an element that felt old or interchangeable with another book. This felt unique to these people and this place. So as I was reading it, corny as it sounds, I felt transported. The descriptions of the creatures and monstrosities, the swampiness, the water, the Mire itself --- it all felt incredibly atmospheric. This is excellent world-building. I feel the exact same way when I am reading Nalini Signh's Psy-Changeling series or Andrews' Kate Daniels series. the only thing is, I would've loved a map to get a visual idea of physically where the Weird, The Edge and The Broken all are in relation to each other. My mind can't wrap that.

And finally a couple other small quibbles. There were two main villains in this book -- The Spider and Lagar Sherillee. We got glimpses of something beyond simply villainy in both of these people, especially Lagar. I wish that had been explored more.

Great book. I liked it a little more than the first one.

Highly recommend!
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