Sometimes an author is lucky (or maybe I should say talented) and all the stars align perfectly so that the end result of all their hard work, a finished and published book, is exquisite. Edge of Oblivion is a sublime example of a paranormal romance, and I was both dreading and anticipating getting to the last page. Edge of Oblivion is published by Montlake Romance, a publishing arm of Amazon. I’m extremely impressed with my first experience with this publisher. Geissinger’s writing is top-notch, and the cover art is gorgeous. Have I used enough superlatives yet to describe how much I enjoyed this book? A word of warning to any under-aged readers, however: this book is recommended for adults due to some extremely hot and unexpected sex scenes!
Although I haven’t read the first book in the Night Prowler series, Shadow’s Edge, I was immediately immersed in the story and only felt a few twinges of confusion here and there. But the author does a great job of subtly inserting vital information from the first book where needed, without bashing the reader over the head trying to catch us up to speed. Morgan is an Ikati, a secret race of shape-shifters descended from Cleopatra who can turn into panthers or vapor, or both. Morgan is part of the Ikati colony in England, one of four known colonies. The story begins in high gear as we find Morgan in prison, awaiting her fate for betraying her tribe at the end of Shadow’s Edge. At the last minute, Queen Jenna makes a deal with Morgan. She has two weeks to track down the sworn enemy of the Ikati, the Expurgari, whom they know to be hidden somewhere in Rome, or she will be killed. Accompanying her on this fated journey is an assassin named Alexander, the man assigned to kill Morgan if she can’t complete her task. Geissinger sets these two characters up in typical romance fashion by pitting them against each other in the beginning, and then creating opportunities for them to grow closer together.
In Rome Morgan and Xander run into a rogue Alpha named Dominus who is not affiliated with any of the four colonies. Xander senses danger and tries to catch him, but he gets away. But the damage has been done. Dominus, having the superior sense of smell that all Ikati have, has figured out that Morgan is a full-blooded female who is unmated, and he wants to use her in his evil plan (which I will not give away in this review!). Xander and Morgan temporarily forget the reason they have come to Rome in the first place, as they try to avoid Dominus and his band of powerful and feral Ikati, who are all relentlessly chasing Morgan. The story is nearly non-stop action from this point on, as Morgan and Xander find themselves in danger time and again, while continuing to look for the hidden Expurgari before the two weeks is up. In the midst of all the action is the blooming romance between Xander and Morgan, with plenty of misunderstandings thrown in to muddy the waters and keep readers hearts palpitating before the climax comes, so to speak. A few sub-plots are mixed in to give the story a broader feel, as well as several characters who will most certainly play a leading role in Geissinger’s next book.
The author has done a bang up job with her world building, and I enjoyed every detail of the Ikati, including their powers of shape-shifting. Xander can not only turn into a panther, but he can also shift into vapor form or pass through walls. Geissinger doesn’t overdo it with the shape-shifting, however, which I was grateful for. She concentrates more on the relationships between the characters, and less on their lives as panthers. The life of an Ikati is a hard one, since they are required to live in secrecy, and several of the characters, in particular the female ones, have never seen the light of day. The author does a great job portraying the horrible loss of freedom these women suffer, and their desire to live beyond the constraints of their male superiors.
I honestly couldn’t find anything wrong with this book, and I have to admit it’s one of the most exciting reading experiences I’ve had in quite a while. Some of the scenes had an almost Shakespearian intensity to them, and I’m bemoaning the fact that Night Prowler #3 is probably months away from publication. Romance novels may fall into the category of “guilty pleasure,” but if that’s the case with this book, I happily consider myself guilty as charged. Full of perfect pacing, seriously dangerous characters, and some super steamy romance (and I do mean super steamy, folks!), Edge of Oblivion should be the next book you read. If you’re over eighteen, of course.
Many thanks to Emily LaBeaume from Wunderkind PR for bring this book to my attention, and for supplying a review copy. You can purchase Edge of Oblivion here and visit J. T. Geissinger’s website here.