Review: At Blade’s Edge by Lauren Dane

Review: At Blade’s Edge by Lauren DaneAt Blade's Edge by Lauren Dane
Format: eARC
Source: publisher via NetGalley
Formats available: ebook, audiobook
Genres: paranormal, urban fantasy, vampires
Series: Goddess with a Blade #4
Pages: 177
Published by Carina Press on December 14th 2015
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsitePublisher's WebsiteAmazonBarnes & NobleKoboBook Depository

Rowan Summerwaite is no ordinary woman. Raised at the knee of The First and honed into a weapon by the Hunter Corporation, she wields ancient knowledge from the Goddess Brigid…and is newly married to a powerful Vampire scion.Though she'd hoped the deadly events in Venice would end the threat to The Treaty she is sworn to protect, Rowan found evidence of a grander conspiracy to destroy the fragile peace that holds humans, Vampires and those with magic back from war. A war that would only hurt the weakest and destabilize the world as we know it.It's not so much that someone ordered her assassination that makes her angry—people try to kill her all the time—as it is the risks those she cares for, especially her new husband, now face. Clive Stewart has never tried to pen Rowan in or control her choices. He has his own fires to put out now that he's married to the most powerful non-Vampire in their world, and Rowan knows it's a challenge to support her the way she needs while not being too much or not enough.The organization that gave her a purpose, a home, roots and a path when she'd run from The Keep at seventeen has betrayed her. Now, instead of on a much-anticipated honeymoon, Rowan is in London gathering her allies and the evidence necessary to drive out the rot within Hunter Corp. and expose whoever is at the top.Rowan is a predator and this threat is prey. She'll burn it down and salt the earth afterward. On her terms.See how Rowan's fight began in Goddess with a Blade, available now!

My Review:

blade on the hunt by lauren daneWhen I reviewed Blade on the Hunt last year over at The Book Pushers with my friend E, one of the things that I said was that the action in Hunt probably would lead directly to Rowan’s need to straighten out the mess at Hunter Corporation, and with extreme prejudice against some of the leaders of that mess.

And that turned out to be a big chunk of the story in At Blade’s Edge. Rowan knows who the guilty parties are, but she still needs to discover just how deep the rot goes. And even worse, she needs to provide proof beyond a shadow of a doubt, because there are way too many paper-pushers at the Hunter Corp. motherhouse who think that political double-dealing is their most important product.

It isn’t. All members of Hunter Corp. have sworn to maintain the balance between the regular humans, the vampires, and the magic users. That balance requires that all three groups are equally strong, and maintain equal vigilance against those who would attempt to upset that knife-edge balance of power, whether they do it deliberately or simply as unwitting pawns.

Rowan Summerwaite may be a lot of things, but she is NEVER anyone’s pawn. Not her foster father’s, who is the head of the Vampire Nation, and not her new husband Clive Stewart, the appointed Scion of Vampire North America. And certainly not paper-pushing scumbags at Hunter Corp.

Because Rowan is the avatar of the Goddess Brigid, and is the official Liaison between the Vampire Nation and Hunter Corp. And because Rowan is a power in her own right, as Goddess, as Hunter, and as daughter of the Vampire Nation’s First.

But Hunter Corp took her in and trained her when she was young, scarred and scared, after her escape from her foster father’s Keep and his abusive power. That Hunter Corp has betrayed her and all Hunters in the field cuts deep. So she resolves to cut deep into Hunter Corp to exorcise the rot.

Only to discover that fixing Hunter Corporation isn’t nearly enough. Someone is targeting all the organizations that serve the balance, determined to undermine the world in order to strike at Rowan. And determined to strike at Rowan any way they can in order to keep her from destroying them first.

Escape Rating A-: The first 9/10ths of this book are a lot of fun. We see Rowan very much in her element, doing all sorts of sneaky things to get the goods on the baddies in Hunter Corp. We get to see her with all of her allies, and watch with glee as she hoists the self-centered evildoers very much on their own petards. At the same time, while fun, the action doesn’t move forward a lot. Rowan is cleaning up crap from the previous book and you need to have read that previous book for these events to generate much feeling. I love Rowan, so I was happy to read about her kicking ass, taking names and making lots of people feel even more uncomfortable than she is at points. But it seems like wrap up. Concealed within that wrap up is a gathering of the allies, the importance of which isn’t obvious until that last, crucial 1/10th of the story.

In the middle of her hunt for the evidence, Rowan is also forced to meet and greet her new in-laws. The game that her new mother-in-law plays on her is an absolute hoot. Rowan’s attitude towards pretentiousness and preciousness in general and her mother-in-law’s game playing in particular remind me a lot of Eve Dallas in J.D. Robb’s In Death series. Eve and Rowan both have the same inability to understand cliches and idioms. And they are both marvelous deadpan snarkers.

As much fun as that first 9/10ths of the book is, the book ends in a shocking cliffhanger. We find out that the rot in Hunter Corp is not the only thing that Rowan has to contend with, and that her enemies will commit any heinous act in their attempts to get her off balance and to make her back off. The ending of this story left me absolutely gasping with shock and horror. And scrambling to find evidence of when the next book will appear.

For a series that I at first wondered if there would actually be a series, Rowan Summerwaite has gotten deeper and darker with each entry, to the point where At Blade’s Edge ends in a moment of “things are always darkest before they turn completely black” moment. I want more NOW.

But it sets the stage for the next level of this conflict. Rowan and her allies will need to root out the evil in all three organizations; Hunter Corp, the Vampire Nation, and the Conclave of Magic Users, in order to have a chance at maintaining the balance of world order. This is the job that Rowan has been trained for all of her dangerous and bloody life. It’s time to fulfill her destiny. She is going to have to wade in the blood of her enemies, and not be able to stop to mourn those of her own who fall along the way.

It’s going to be an awesome and epic adventure. And now I am on pins and needles, desperately searching  (so far in vain) for the author’s announcement of the next book in the series.

goddess with a blade by lauren daneIf you love urban fantasy where the heroes and heroines have layers, the cohort of good bands together to fight the most excellent fight, and evil is darker than you first imagine, start this series now with Goddess With a Blade.

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