We first met William in On the Edge
. He is a changeling, a shapeshifter, who has been rejected his entire life. He was given up at birth, raised in a heartless facility, then forced into military service. He is estranged from his only friend, Declan, and he simply doesn't believe that he'll ever have love or a family of his own.
He's been living in the Edge for two years now, largely cut off from his old life. But he is pulled back in, when given the chance to finally track down and kill his old nemesis, the Spider. That mission takes him into the bayous of the Mire and it's there he meets Cerise.
Cerise has her own issues to deal with. Her parents have been kidnapped. The Spider is responsible, which gives her and William a common enemy. There's a lot more going on.... a family feud between Cerise's people and a neighboring clan, a mysterious monster, a secret journal. But the the single biggest draw in the book is William. He is such a heartbreaking tortured hero. Watching his tentative steps towards a relationship with Cerise is riveting. Seeing him find his first feelings of happiness is lovely. And getting the payoff on the phenomenal sexual tension was awesome. (A very, very satisfying love scene.)
But there were times I got lost. There were too many characters. I understand that it's sort of the point that Cerise's clan was really, really big. But it was really hard to keep track of everyone. And once we started learning the names and skill sets for the Spider's enhanced soldiers, my retention skills were kaput. I applaud the idea of big and sweeping world-building in theory, but I just couldn't keep up in some parts, which took me out of the moment more than once. It was also hard to keep track of the geography in my head.
It was still good. Especially the parts of the story that focused on Cerise and William. It was also a treat to revisit Declan, Rose and the boys to see how they are doing. 4 stars.