Ledge by Stacey McEwan
Angry Robot, HB, £16.99
Reviewed by Sarah Deeming
Dawsyn has always lived on the Ledge, a frozen shelf on a mountain top in the constant cold and snow. More than the cold, Dawsyn’s life is ruled by the Glacians, a race of winged beings who select sacrifices from her downtrodden community twice a year. When Dawsyn is taken, she’s ripped away from her home and everything she knows and plunged into a different world where there are humans who aren’t under Glacian control and no snow. Furious that her people are forced to live on the mountain until the Glacians decide to kill them, Dawsyn is left with only one path; revenge. But her only help is Ryon, a half-Glacian half-human with motives of his own. Can she trust him enough to destroy the Glacian slavers and free her people?
Ledge follows Dawsyn, a Cindrella to saviour character readers will be familiar with if they’ve read any Adrienne Young or watched any Star Wars movies. Dawsyn is little more than a meal in the freezer, waiting for the day when she’ll be selected by the Glacians. There are plenty of questions about her existence, such as how her village came to be up the mountain, but her life is so tough and cold that she doesn’t have the energy to ask them. However, once she escapes the Glacians, she realises there is another way of living and asks the questions she’s been ignoring.
On the surface, it is a solid story about the downtrodden leading a revolt with the added bonus of an enemy to lovers side theme. However, Ledge is billed as an adult book while feeling very YA, and Dawsyn is the main reason for this. The male lead, Ryon, is cunning, thoughtful and plans ahead, while Dawsyn is much more reactive. She’s impulsive, doesn’t think things through and is quite naïve. Her relationship with Ryon is hot and cold, and while he can control his impulses, she gets carried away. There are moments when they almost have sex, but he stops, knowing it is wrong. Dawsyn doesn’t have that level of self-control in any situation, and she comes across as quite childish.
That said, Ryon grew up in the Glacian court, full of intrigue and politics, whereas Dawsyn grew up in isolation on the side of a mountain. She’s worldly about some things but not about others which is fine. Had she been savvy in everything, I would have struggled believing in her. Ledge is the first book in a new trilogy; therefore, Dawsyn has plenty of time to grow into the badass heroine we catch glimpses of in the novel. Indeed, the ending is such a cliffhanger that Dawsyn won’t survive unless she loses some of her naivety.
Despite the icy setting, Ledge is a sizzling story filled with sexual tension, betrayal, and stolen heritage and a series to watch out for.