Willow’s Review of Fiery Edge of Steel by Jill Archer
Archer is back with the second installment of her Noon Onxy series, and I must say that I enjoyed this book just as much as the first one. Maybe, dare I say, just a little bit more. As with book one, this novel grabbed me right from the start and wouldn’t let me go until I had finished it. The only reason that it took me longer to read was because I had to wait for my library to get a copy back in so I could finish it (I didn’t realize that I had started it so close to when I had to return it). Still having to wait built up enough suspense that I jumped right back into reading once it showed up and finished it that very night. This really is a delightful series of books and I’m glad that I started reading them.
It’s nice to see Noon finally coming into her own as a Maegester. Yeah, she’s still got a soft heart when it comes to killing demons, but at least she’s accepted who she is (for the most part) and isn’t trying to be something she’s not. She’s gotten fiercer, grown a thicker skin if you will, and is settling into her role nicely. My appreciation for Ari diminished in this book sadly. What happens to him at the end ticked me off to the point where I honestly can say that I wanted to claw him to pieces. Yeah, I probably should have seen it coming, but it took me by surprise. So as a result, I’ve replaced my interest of Ari with Rafe, Noon’s Angel Guardian. Ah, Rafe, he makes not caring or taking things seriously into an art form. I loved that he was mischievous. And the names of some of his spells had me smirking. In my opinion he stole the show in this book. He quickly became my favorite character out of everyone. Ari’s Angel Guardian, Fara, was a bit of an odd one. At first I was a bit put off by her continual preaching of the Book of Joshua. I had to agree with Noon that it got a bit tiresome after a while. However, I found her glamour to be rather intriguing. I actually wouldn’t have minded learning more about her character and I feel like Archer only touched the surface with her. And her tiger cub, Virtus, was awesome. Way to represent the feline race, cousin! As for Peter, well, he wasn’t really all that involved in this book, thank goodness. Yeah, my feelings for him haven’t changed any. And the least said about him, the better.
One thing that both intrigued me and drove me crazy was the Black Onion. It literally is a black onion, but it supposedly will answer 1 question, basically it’s like a Magic 8 Ball. I don’t know what it says about me that I spent the entire time wondering if Noon was ever going to use the blasted thing, but by the end of the book I wanted her to ask it a question! I don’t feel like I’m giving anything away when I say that she never did. Of all the things that could have driven me crazy, that’s what did it. Oh well, if I’m going to get hung up on something, might as well be something small like that. Heehee.
Since this is the second book in the series, it really does pay to have read the first novel. While Archer does provide some backstory throughout, and a lot of what happens in this book takes place outside of St. Luck (the demon law school where Noon is studying to be a Maegester), I don’t feel as though it is something that I’d want to jump in the middle of reading. Having full knowledge of what happened in Dark Light of Day made a lot of what happens in this book clearer. Apologies if my train of thought reads a bit muddled there, but when I first was introduced to this series, it was through a cover reveal for this book. And I will admit that I almost started reading this one first because the synopsis sounded interesting. I’m glad I didn’t though and instead got a hold of book one. I fear I might have been lost at times otherwise.
I liked that Archer took her characters to a new location this time around. The Shallows seem like both a dangerous and intriguing place to check out, though I wouldn’t want to stay there for long. I also liked that there were more demons in this book. Lots more demons. As a result, I felt like there was more action in this novel, something which I felt was a bit lacking at times in the first book. I got the sense that Archer had a better grasp of what she wanted her characters to experience this time. Not saying that Dark Light of Day wasn’t well written, but this one had that feeling of something more to it that was missing in the first. I still think both of them are great, but like I mentioned above, I liked this one just a tad more than the first.
Overall, Archer’s done a great job continuing to grow her characters, developing the world of Halja, and generally creating an entertaining series. I’m looking forward to seeing what she’s got in store for everyone in third book, especially considering the surprise revealed at the end of this one. Again, I probably should have seen it coming, but it did take me by surprise. Want to know what I am talking about? Read the book and find out for yourself. =^.^=