Night's Edge by Liz Kerin
“I’m hungry and it’s two in the morning. The fridge is empty. And Mom is dead on the couch.”
Right from the first paragraph, Liz Kerin yanks you into her world and keeps you there with her
juxtaposition of simple phrases - “Fifth grade started last week” - with heart-stopping ones like
“The couch is stained purple. It used to be blue.” and all its implications. This style reflects the
life of the main character, Mia. She must navigate an outwardly ordinary life while her home is the
literal playground of monsters. We learn about Mia through alternating timelines of her in her early
twenties growing up with a monstrous mother. Monstrous, not only because she’s a vampire,
but how she treats her daughter. Unable to have friends, lovers, or anything of her own,
Mia sacrifices everything for her mother, who shows little remorse for taking it.
Everything changes when Jade enters Mia’s life. Jade has all the markings of a manic pixie dream girl,
but that is exactly what Mia needs to come into her own and stand up for herself. Mia finally starts to
advocate for herself and clue into how truly toxic her homelife is. It’s both compelling and dreadfully
messy. Kerin ratchets up the tension until the gut wrenching climax leaves the characters and the readers
gasping for air.
It's difficult to find a fresh angle on vampire fiction, but Liz Kerin has done so. The classics are included,
turning to ash in sunlight, drinking blood, but with some new twists such as an allergy to caffeine.
Kerin does that trick where she doesn’t call them vampires but uses another term instead. Here it’s
“Saras” short for “Saratov’s syndrome”, the disease that grants the vampire-like symptoms.
This trope irks me - just call them what they are - but Kerin’s story is so good that I let it slide.
Parts of this story are difficult to read. The relationship between Mia and her mother is toxic, abusive,
and full of love. They are intricately tied to one another and the complexities of such a relationship
are well-explored. There are no easy solutions and the book doesn’t pretend that there are.
On the other hand, this book is packed full of life. The description calls it “a sun-drenched novel
about the darkest secrets” and it is apt. In amongst all the pain, Mia discovers her first love, friendship,
the power of song, and how to fight for herself.
Kerin combines elements of scifi, horror, coming-of-age, romance, and thriller in this multi-genre novel
to inspire a broad range of emotions in her reader.