Nazarea Andrew’s Edge of the Falls bases itself off the timeless classic fairytale, Beauty and the Beast. However, do not mistake this to mean the plot is a re-make of this fairy tale, for it is far from it. Edge of the Falls revolves around Sabah, a girl on the cusp of becoming Majority–which simply means that a Citizen must take on a quota for humanity’s survival. However, Sabah is a gutterling, an outcast, a girl thrown out by the City and left to the mercies of the acid storms, ban-wolves, and other horrors the City protects itself from with a shield.
Sabah, however, lives in the manor with the Mistress, a woman so bent on collecting Starrbriars that she is willing to use small children to collect these. Sabah is not certain why the Mistress craves these Starrbriars, but she is certain of her love for Berg, the boy who saved her–or so she thinks.
Things begin to change when a ban-wolf named Arjun saves her. Ban-wolves are not known for human qualities, but it is Arjun who begins to distort her world and unveil truths Sabah had never been able to consider before.
Now I’m going to admit upfront that romance is not my thing. I had hoped the dystopic plot would have taken forefront, but this book is based off Beauty and the Beast, so of course the romance is going to take precedence. And Mrs. Andrews does a fantastic job with the romance aspect. However, one thing I’d like to nitpick is that Sabah seems to have fallen in love too fast with Arjun, especially considering that she has Berg. I could forgive this if Sabah were a young teen, but my disbelief was difficult to suspend, even though Arjun did save her, a creature that is supposed to be dangerous and deadly. But perhaps there is something more: she is intrigued by this supposedly dangerous aspect of Arjun and was at first in love with the idea that a purportedly dangerous creature saved her and that in itself was romantic to her.
Even though romance isn’t my thing, the world of Mrs. Andrews’s book is intriguing and well-developed. You have gutterlings, ban-wolves, rovers, people who follow the wind and live a carefree lifestyle; and then you have the Citizens, protected and coddled from the outside world. It is so intriguing that Mrs. Andrews’s explores the aspect of unwanted children and what can happen to them. As a reader, you want Sabah to be the one to rise up and do something about this, especially because she cared so well for the children in her own manor. However, this leaves more open for the sequel, and I for one can’t wait to see what Mrs. Andrews does.
Character development is spot on. Sabah goes from someone who accepts every word of the Mistress, to someone who no longer tolerates not having reasons and justifications for peoples’ actions. She is a very likable, relatable character. She has had a hard life, but she perseveres, and as a reader, I admire her for being able to push through such a difficult life in order to gain her slice of happiness in an otherwise bleak world that limits happiness to the few.
Overall, if you love romance or books with dystopic elements, then Edge of the Falls is perfect. I rate this book a 4 out of 5, simply because the sudden romance between Arjun and Sabah did not suspend my disbelief.