“But all stories are true stories, if you look closely.”
Night’s Edge is a truly scary kind of horror. Mia’s mother Izzy has contracted a virus (thanks to a sleazy ex-boyfriend), which has turned her into a vampire. Due to her “condition”, Izzy is in essence forced to be home-ridden and in hiding. That kind of existence is terrifying in and of itself. However, the real horror comes in the form of the massively unhealthy relationship Mia and her mother have.
See, Mia feels that she needs her mom. And Izzy needs Mia to, in essence, care for all her needs (including the bloody kind). Codependency is a very real issue for many, many people, making this an uncomfortable read. The blood, the vampirism, the sense of dread all takes a backseat to the brittle relationships and their inevitable consequences.
Night’s Edge took place in two separate times, both of which are necessary to paint a full picture of the life these two characters lead. The “condition” of vampirism isn’t explored in exacting detail, but that isn’t the point of this book. Night’s Edge is a bleak and harsh look at toxic relationships, the little things that become too much over time, leading to a cycle of abuse (whether physical or emotional), and the lack of emotional needs being fulfilled. There is abuse of several kinds throughout the story. I think saying that the book is interesting is not the right phrase. It is incredibly difficult to read. It is also incredibly well-written.
I felt so sorry for Mia. The chapters that take place in the past (2010) show that her mom was never really there for her needs, even before the event which caused vampirism. As shown throughout the book, and of course in other vampire lore, the need for blood is basically an addiction. I did worry that, in pinning her hope of freedom in someone else (the musician Jade), Mia would be robbing herself of the independence needed to recover from her trauma. She, in essence, never got to become an adult, having a trauma-induced almost childlike personality. The fact that I was thinking about these things shows the author’s ability to make the situation feel very real.
I had to take it Night’s Edge in small increments, due simply to its subject matter. Some books just hit me harder and this was one of them. There are several subjects tackled that are very, very difficult for me to read about and I generally try to skip these things for my own mental health. However, I enjoyed author Liz Kerin’s previous book, The Phantom Forest, so was interested in Night’s Edge as well. I don’t regret reading it. It was brutal and engrossing. However, please go into this book expecting the sort of horror that is truly terrifying: that of the harm that can be caused by unhealthy relationships.