Thursday, February 23, 2023

Rhyannon Byrd - Edge of Hunger

Ian Buchanan has always felt the unknown—the deep, impenetrable darkness that lives within him. Yet he is determined to lead a "normal" life, ignoring the unsettling dreams in which he succumbs to his wildest desires.… Until psychic Molly Stratton tracks him down, claiming to share his sensual nightmares.
The petite Molly even has the bite marks to prove it. And she's also received a message from Ian's deceased mother: an enemy is near. And it's time for the creature inside Ian to finally awaken. A creature with an insatiable hunger that must be controlled before it overtakes them both….

Comment: Another one of the PNR books I have had languishing in the pile...

In this book, the first of a trilogy, we meet Ian Buchanon, a man who is used to do his own thing and he has tried his best to avoid thinking of the dreams that plague him and of what they might mean, and that includes being away from his siblings and trying to not be attached to anyone. One day Molly Stratton shows up, saying she is a psychic and that his late mother spoke to her in dreams, demanding she warn him of impeding danger. It's true Ian has always felt something about his own dreams but this feels too least until the day he is attacked by a monster and later told he is also a monster but a good one and it is his duty to fight evil.
Ian and Molly have the help of a secret society whose members try to teach Ian what he needs in order to be at top of his game, but will Ian accept help and accept he is, indeed, different?

A longtime reader of PNR will think of this as just one more example or the type of stories which were being written in the 00s, when PNR was at its peak, and added to the fact this was published by a certain publisher, we have all the ingredients to a rather formulaic plot, but that could still be enjoyable if done right. I know I still have many PNR favorites.

This is a very basic story line: the hero is reluctant to admit he is different although he has always felt something weird about himself, then comes a woman he won't be able to ignore even though he tries his best and they end up being a team and having to learn how to fight the enemy while obviously battling their personal feelings until they can't ignore it anymore. It's classic PNR 101 if I can say so, and the progress of the story wasn't very surprising. Again, I would have certainly liked it more when I was dedicated to the genre, because while it isn't perfect, it isn't that bad either.

The reason why Ian is different is explained in a rather confusing manner and why his family and why that way were details I wasn't that interested at. I would have liked the story to be more about the family bonds or the reluctance to form a pair with Molly than this whole "waking up" plot, because Ian is as confused as the reader and that makes for a frustrating experience, he needs to be informed of things and he isn't actually onboard for most of the time and we all know how annoying it can be when we know something has to be done and the one who can do it isn't certain that he can.

Ian is a pretty average hero, I can't honestly think of anything particular about him that would make me eager to see him again in the following novels -which I won't read, since his siblings don't seem much better and some reviews point that out precisely - but of course he is a good guy. He just never felt like asking someone about his oddness which I suppose can be realistic but then the writing isn't aimed at personal relationships where we follow a character while he/she deals with others and everything is more about the psychology and the interactions. In fact, the story is all about Ian finding out about his abilities an then fighting an enemy, so... quite basic.

As for Molly, the heroine... I'm afraid I don't have much to say about her, she is psychic and I would have liked to know more about her personality or even these abilities, but it feels as if she had to be there to motivate Ian into change, but nothing about Molly as a character seems that special. Their romance isn't that romantic either. Actually I would go as far as to say that pretty much everything about all characters is more a superficial idea tan truly complex people. In part, perhaps this is why the story felt quite bland for me, because the characters are like that too.

I have read another trilogy by the author years ago, the main characters were shape shifters and since I like those better (in PNR worlds) I know I appreciated the books more but it probably has something to do with timing too... still, it can be said the style of this author isn't bad, it's quite well thought... but the execution of how the elements are placed together to be appealing... I don't know, but in this book that wasn't as obvious.

In the end, Ian does what he has to, he saves the day but the threat isn't over and I'm certain the next two books will include other challenges to overcome. I'm now that interested but I suppose that for fans of the genre, even on its more "classical" style, would find appealing details.
Grade: 6/10

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