I have to say that I enjoyed my time, however brief, with Edge of Desperation. I think that the book description does a good job of explaining the premise of this novella and I'm going to try to refrain from going into too many other details in this review. There isn't a whole lot of book here; I don't want to spoil it.
The stand-out aspect of this novella that really solidified my 4-star rating is the world building. Presenting an interesting world that I can explore will get me EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. In this particular instance I find the magic system to be quite fascinating. The magic in the Wielder World blends quantum physics, parapsychology, and super hero-esque powers with a side of the mystical. I get the distinct feeling that this short piece has only really scratched the surface.
Speaking of only scratching the surface, the length of the piece is one of its biggest drawbacks. As the kick off to a new series, there just isn't enough space in the novella to fully explore the concepts Kennedy is presenting, the world she is building. It is just a taste of what is to come and I want to know more. This is a world in which I want to get lost.
Similarly, Edge of Desperation is fairly light on the romance. The sexual tension between Reggie and Kyle is most certainly present and accounted for. Kennedy provides just enough for me to long for a real relationship to blossom here, but there's nothing super substantial developed on this front. As part of the description for the MMRG Don't Buy My Love Program, one of the keywords listed was "pre-romance;" I think that this descriptor sums it up nicely. This is a fantasy pre-romance, emphasis on the fantasy. Strangely, I found this to be ok. If Kennedy had included any more romance, I would have gotten less of the world building, and that would have made me sad.
There were a couple of issues I had with the writing, nothing major but enough to stick with me. The first was the pacing towards the end of the book. Unlike the smooth progression of events that dominates the first two-thirds of the novella, the time jumps at the end seemed jagged and unnecessarily forced. My second was the constant contraction of the word "have" in both the dialogue and the prose. It was jarring.
These nitpicks were offset by the perfectly evocative descriptions of life's small details and little annoyances that litter the book, for instance: "The fall leaves rained down on Reggie's small lawn. It was only one bigleaf maple, but it sure wanted to cover the world." As well, by the characters whose lives I want to sink into.
In the end, I enjoyed my experience with Edge of Desperation. It left me wanting more - more of this intriguing world, more of the promising relationship between Reggie and Kyle, and more of the growing mystery. Oh! Did I forget to mentioned the mystery? Silly me. You'll just have to read the book, I guess. I'm off to read Center of Deception, the second volume in the Wielder World series...
Trigger warning: This book contains depictions of physical torture.
Please Note: All Amazon links that appear in this post are affiliate links.