Today’s review is about LEDGE by Stacey McEwan, a fast-paced, dark fantasy romance. At less than 300 pages, it’s an escapist read that I thought had influences from THE DARK CRYSTAL and THE HUNGER GAMES.
Author: Stacey McEwan
Series: The Glacian Trilogy, #1
Age Category: New Adult/Adult
Publisher: Angry Robot
Publish Date: September 13, 2022
Print Length: 288
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Ledge is the heart-stopping beginning to The Glacian Trilogy from TikTok sensation Stacey McEwan @staceboookspace.
After being randomly selected as a human sacrifice, instead of death, Dawsyn finds herself on a quest to save her people from their icy prison…
In a place known as the Ledge, a civilization is trapped by a vast chasm and sheer mountain face. There is no way for anyone to escape the frozen wasteland without befalling a deathly drop. They know nothing of the outside world except that it is where the Glacians reside – mystical and vicious winged creatures who bring meagre rations in exchange for a periodic human sacrifice.
Dawsyn, ax wielder and only remaining member of her family, has so far avoided the annual culling, but her luck has run out. She is chosen and ripped from her icy home, the only world she knows. No one knows what will happen to her on the other side, least of all Dawsyn. Murdered? Enslaved? Worse?
Fortunately, a half-Glacian called Ryon offers to help them both escape, but how can she trust one of the very creatures that plagued her life? Dawsyn is a survivor, and she is not afraid to cut anyone down to live.
With a slow-burning romance, high stakes and even higher rewards, this richly created new fantasy series by popular TikToker Stacey McEwan will keep you gripped to the very end.
Albeit on the darker side of fantasy, LEDGE is escapism into a desolate world where survival comes first. But surviving has a caveat. Each year the shapeshifter Glacians select a few human sacrifices. If the cold and hunger don’t kill you, there’s always a chance the Glacians might.
Frankly, LEDGE isn’t a deep book, and that’s ok. Books don’t always have to be profound or contain symbolism or thematic commentary. However, it is entertaining, contains some beloved tropes, has a strong female main character, and introduces some political maneuvering near the end. At less than 300 pages, I wouldn’t exactly call it a slow-burn romance. But there is development of some camraderie and shared experiences before ignition. Personally, I would’ve liked to see more tension, but to each their own.
I couldn’t decide if I liked the writing style. It was some combination of telling vs. showing, but the descriptions seemed to have a staccato rhythm. In the end I didn’t mind it, but if you know me you know I appreciate lyrical writing. Overall, the writing style is approachable and uncomplicated. If anything I had more issue with how easily the plot moved along. I felt like there needed to be more conflict and challenges in the implementation of Ryon’s goals. And I thought it was kind of ridiculous that Dawsyn just pushed her way into the two queens’ castle and the guards didn’t kill her right then and there.
Nevertheless, I like that the characters work through their complicated emotions about each other. They clearly find each other attractive, but they acknowledge the ugly history that their races share. Dawsyn grew up with the looming knowledge that death by the Glacians was always a possibility. She works through her distrust and anger. And Ryon, a Glacian, works through his own guilt about the actions of his race as a whole. Ryon is also half Glacian, so there is some discussion about racial “purity.” There are some secondary characters that brought some humor and depth to the story. I thought their banter and dialogue was a nice change of pace.
LEDGE reminded me a lot of the 1982 Jim Henson film The Dark Crystal. The Glacians are bird-like shapeshifters that don’t sound very attractive, which sort of parallels the Skeksis in the movie. And the Glacians’ use for the humans is eerily similar to the Skeksis’ use of the Gelflings. There’s also a dash of Hunger Games influence.
Overall, LEDGE is an entertaining, fast-paced, debut read featuring shapeshifters and popular tropes. Personally, I’m not jumping out of my seat to read the next installment, but I enjoyed it for what it is: fantasy romance, somewhat dystopian, and a diversion from adulting.
Content warnings: gratuitous violence and death, death of a minor, suicide, attempted sexual assault, sexual content, racism
Reading format: Kindle e-book