Book Review: Kelly Gay’s The Darkest Edge of Dawn

Posted March 14, 2013 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

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

Book Review: Kelly Gay’s The Darkest Edge of Dawn

The Darkest Edge of Dawn


Kelly Gay

urban fantasy that was published by Pocket Books on August 31, 2010 and has 374 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include The Hour of Dust and Ashes

Second in the Charlie Madigan urban fantasy series revolving around a human evolving into something much more.

In 2010, The Darkest Edge of Dawn was nominated for the Goodreads Choice for Paranormal Fantasy.

My Take

It’s a fascinating world that Gay has built — I do wish she would explain better about the Elysians and Charbydons. The way she flings Charbydon around, I can’t tell if they’re both a species and a planet or what. Gay talks about the Charbydons ruling Elysia then she states that the moon around Charbydon is dying. So…maybe Charbydon is the planet and a species and Elysia is a country??

Charlie is starting to irritate me too. Why do so many authors like to create characters who refuse to deal with the hand they’re dealt? Charlie’s been thrown these powers, and she has a strong desire to protect her family, friends, and the public. So, how does she handle this? Yup, by ignoring it. It’s like knowing you’re sick and refusing to see the doctor. ‘Cause if you do ignore it, it’ll go away… Annnddd just often does that work?

If this happened to me, yeah, I’d kick and scream about, and then I’d settle in and get serious about learning how to use this new weapon. It’s a skill that could trip me up if I don’t understand it. It’s a power that could save lives, then I’m gonna learn!

I don’t know, what would you do? Is this a reasonable annoyance on my part, or am I shoving my own prejudices onto other people’s creations?

Oh brother, then there’s her reaction to Hank. Sure I can understand being leery of someone as incredibly gorgeous as he is, but Charlie is acting like she’s in middle school for godsake. She’s been married. She had an active sex life. I’m assuming that she’s “dated” before. Had sex before. WHAT is the big deal here?

The Story

Charlie and Hank are on the federal task force and have all sorts of leeway to investigate and capture the bad guys. And they don’t come much badder than aliens plotting to instigate war for their own ambitions.

And that ash addiction? Seems it’s a side effect, Llyran and Grigori were counting on.

The Characters

Charlie Madigan is no longer a detective with the Integration Task Force (ITF). Not after her actions in Better Part of Darkness, 1. Nor is she strictly human, not with that injection changing her DNA at a cellular level. Emma is her twelve-year-old daughter; Will, her ex, desperate to get back together with her, took yet another shortcut that didn’t work. Bryn is her younger sister force-addicted to ash in Better Part of Darkness. Gizmo, a gargoyle, is a very effective security system at Bryn’s shop, Hodgepodge. Aaron is a loner nymph and warrior mage, a Magnus actually, who has finally gotten Bryn interested. Rex is a Revenant who discovers several new, distracting realities. Brimstone is a hellhound Charlie rescued from a crime scene.

Hank Williams is Charlie’s siren partner whose voicebox is inoperable. Seems Hank is also known as Malakim. Zara is the head concierge of The Bath House and was in love with Hank. Liz is the medical examiner and necromancer; Elliot is her new apprentice. Chief Abernathy got tossed out of the ITF along with Hank and Charlie, but he’s still their boss. Sian is Gregori’s daughter; a lovely hybrid despised by all who is now working with Charlie and Hank.

Detective Ashton Perry is a former ITF coworker who hates Charlie for her choices in Better Part of Darkness.

Amanda Mott, Emma’s friend, is addicted to ash as well. Marti is her abandoned mother. A scientist, Titus Mott, is Amanda’s uncle and head of Mott Technologies, the man who discovered the portals to Charbydon.

Pendaran is the dragonshifting King of the Druids who rules the Kinfolk. Daya Machanna is a nymph with Magnus-level magic — and more ambition than sense. Cerise is a sidhé fae Elder and worked with Daya at the Fernbank Museum.

Gregori Tennin is the jinn boss, the leader of the Atlanta tribe and a crime boss dealing in drugs. Vendelan Grist is the jinn Storyteller. Ebelwyn is a real estate agent.

Llyran, an Elysian, is a serial killer. “Akhneri was the Creator’s Chosen One, his “star”. With her fall from grace, she became known as Vengeance, and she wields Urzenamelech. Nuallan Gow is a Master Crafter and a ghoul.

Jinn are vicious warriors, bodyguards to the nobility of Charbydon. Their primary desire is to take back their old power. The ITF is law enforcement for all immigrant beings. Underground Atlanta is where most of the aliens congregate. Revenants are drifting souls who will bargain for the use of your body when you die. The Kinfolk are a Celtic influence — the Druids, nymphs, sidhé fae, darkling fae, and shapeshifters — who have purchased a chunk of Piedmont Park for their realm. First Ones are a myth that many believe. That they are “the genetic foundation of all three noble races”: Charbydon nobles (thing demons), Elysian Adonai (angelic-looking beings who think they are gods), and humans. Warlocks are a warrior sect of Elysian mage. The Elysians and Charbydon are enemies living on a parallel plane who must share the ruling of their planet. Crafters worship King Solomon, call him the Father of Crafting. Armed with anger and ambition, Solomon created a new religion, the Sons of Dawn.

The Cover and Title

The cover is black, browns, and a very subdued gold with Charlie hanging by a handhold outside a skyscraper, aiming her gun at us through a bullet-holed window.

It is The Darkest Edge of Dawn, just before a day which Earth may never view.