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Book Review: Ledge by Stacey McEwan

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Last year I interviewed Angry Robot’s Gemma Creffield about her career as a publisher and what sort of things her imprint is looking for. When asked the question of what upcoming work she was most looking forward to sharing, she told me that she was excited for Ledge, a fantasy romance from TikToker Stacey McEwan. After the interview I preordered it, but it has taken until now for the book to make its way to the top of my “to read” stack.

I’ll start out by saying that Ledge was a delightfully quick read. I read it one afternoon which, as a busy mom of two with a full time job, several hobbies, and a D&D campaign to manage, was fantastic. Too often fantasy books get so weighed down with heavy world building and description that they become absolute door stoppers. Not so with Ledge, which elegantly hits the character and world building beats it needs to while never slowing down its tightly wound enemy-to-lovers plot. 

The second thing I’ll say about Ledge is that it knows exactly what it is from a marketing standpoint. It falls firmly in the “if you liked Sarah J. Maas’ A Court of Mist and Fury, then you’ll love this” camp. Haters might even say that it follows the formula of Maas’ hit a little too much. After all, the protagonist is a skilled human survivalist and the love interest is a tall, dark and handsome male of mixed magical lineage with bat wings and dead parents. His name “Ryon” even sounds like “Rhysand,” the love interest in Maas’ books. At the same time, writing it off as just another Court Of series clone would diminish the power of McEwan’s writing.

From the first line of the book, I was immediately drawn into the head of the protagonist Dawsyn. Her trauma, as the last surviving member of one of several families left trapped on a frozen ledge, feels real. The danger of the bat-like creatures, called Glacians, that come intermittently to either feed them or to swoop them up and take them into the unknown felt imminent and fascinating. Furthermore, once you find out more about the mystery of what is happening to Dawsyn’s people, the answers showcase a compelling magic system that feels a little bit like Brandon Sanderson lite. The story comes to a satisfying conclusion, wrapping up nicely and answering most of the reader’s questions in a way that the first books of most trilogies don’t, while still ending on an exciting cliffhanger. Not to mention, the tension between Dawsyn and Ryon is sexy as hell. 

All in all, it was a good way to spend an afternoon. I will definitely be coming back for more when the sequel comes out this fall

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