Fiery Edge of Steel – Jill Archer [Review] fantasy

Synopsis

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, paired with a lack of control and reluctance to kill, have branded her as an outsider from 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 which 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…

*I received a free copy of this book from a book promoter in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.*

Although it is the second book in the Noon Onyx series, readers can jump into the series here if they want. Fiery Edge of Steel can be read as a stand-alone novel.

Noon Onyx receives an assignment to travel to The Shallows, an outpost, to investigate a complaint about missing fishermen. She needs to determine if a demon is responsible for the disappearances and, if so, execute the demon. She is accompanied by two Angels and her lover Ari. Unfortunately for Noon, the journey to The Shallows is perilous and long.

Each of the characters in Fiery Edge of Steel is unique and interesting. I felt I got to know each of them well. As a result, the story captivated me from start to finish.

I was so happy to see Noon grow as a person, accept herself for who she is, and gain some control over her magic.

Noon seemed whiny in the first book, but I didn’t feel that in this one. All of her internal conflict was understandable. Yes, she does complain, but I understood where she was coming from.

At one point, I thought she was going to continue to allow Ari to tell her what to do and solve all of her problems for her, but she proved me wrong.

Noon isn’t the typical urban fantasy heroine. She’s not gung-ho to kill everything in her way. Because of this, I admired her. Noon is not weak just because she doesn’t want to be a killer. And, when the time came, she did what needed to be done.

This book will pull at your heart strings. It did mine.

The skipping over of sex scenes disappointed me. However, the relationship between Ari and Noon is so endearing, I ultimately didn’t care.

Be warned, though, this story doesn’t have a happily-ever-after. I am anticipating reading the next book to see what, if anything, happens between Ari and Noon.

Sometimes the history, mythology, and law bogged down the story. But, overall, it moved along fast enough to hold my interest.

The characters don’t begin their journey from New Babylon to The Shallows until the end of the third chapter. So there’s quite a bit of set-up. Once it gets going, the characters encounter plenty of obstacles that made me want to keep turning the pages.

I have read some reviews that complained that the journey to The Shallows takes most of the book. That’s true, but it didn’t bother me. I think that was the point. It’s a book about a journey, not one about an investigation.

Fiery Edge of Steel is set in a clearly explained world. I was happy that the author spent more time on the geography. I was able to visualize where they were and where they were headed.

The writer did an excellent job of describing the locations. I could picture them in my mind. Also, I thought the culture was clearer in this book than it was in Dark Light of Day.

Every sentence made sense. The author constructed the sentences in a way that was easy for me to read. I never had to read a line twice.

Jill Archer is an excellent writer. The book was well-edited as well.

My only criticism is that sometimes it seemed that the author had gotten lost in her own fantasy world, adding details that weren’t always relevant or necessary — little asides that didn’t seem to contribute much to the plot or characters.

The main plot and subplots all fit together well. I didn’t notice any conflicting details or dropped threads.

Most of the details in the story made sense. I did wonder though when tigers developed the ability to purr. I’ve never heard of one being able to do so.

I’m definitely hooked on the Noon Onyx series now.

Fiery Edge of Steel was an excellent, exciting read with likable characters, a thoroughly developed world, and plenty of action. I even enjoyed the twist that the author threw in near the end of the book.

If you enjoy books about magic and demons, you should read this if you haven’t already.

Jill Archer writes genre-bending fantasy from rural Maryland. Her novels include Dark Light of Day, Fiery Edge of Steel, White Heart of Justice, and Pocket Full of Tinder. She loves cats, coffee, books, movies, day tripping, and outdoor adventuring.

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