Flynn Nightsider and the Edge of Evil: A review
THE FLYNN NIGHTSIDER SERIES
Part dystopia and part high fantasy, Flynn Nightsider is a five-book Young Adult series by Mary Fan that follows a spirited teen's efforts to overthrow an evil government while battling supernatural beasts. The first book, Flynn Nightsider and the Edge of Evil was released May 2018. Click here to explore Flynn's world.
I think The Firedragon was the first Mary Fan book I ever read. The Firedragon is a sort of prequel novella to Edge of Evil, and I was immediately entranced with the awesome world Fan was building—I was/am a huge fan of the Kate Daniel’s series by Ilona Andres and a lot of The Firedragon reminded me of Kate. I especially loved The Firedragon’s main character, Aurelia Sun. Aurelia is a young, kick ass, monster fighter. She’s unapologetically brazen, sometimes rude, opinionated, confident, and a little bit feral—she doesn’t care much for societal standards or following rules, especially if she thinks they’re stupid, pointless, or oppressive. Yet she’s also loyal, brave, and devoted to those people and causes she deems worthy.
Aurelia’s the kind of female character we rarely see—one who isn’t always likeable (although I quite liked her bristly nature) while also managing to be empathetic. I feel that girl characters are often expected to be tractable, likeable, and pleasing. Women may wield weapons and kill monsters, but they have to be nice and pretty while they do it. Mary Fan is very fond of writing women who thumb their noses at those expectations. Aurelia is the best, and she knows it. It’s so rare that we get to see women, especially young women, be brazenly proud of their accomplishments and abilities.
I have been waiting A LONG TIME for Edge of Evil, and when Fan announced the book would primarily be from Flynn Nightsider’s (a 16-year-old-boy) point of view, I was a bit disappointed. “What? No Aurelia????” But I shouldn’t have doubted Fan. Flynn is a thoroughly compelling character—a “normal” boy with no magical powers but a bull headed need to make himself useful and find his purpose in a magical world that insists normal people are useless.
I’ve been re-watching Smallville on Hulu lately, and in more than a few episodes, something happens to make Clark Kent lose his super-powers. But even when that happens, even when he knows he’s vulnerable and likely to be hurt or even killed, his heroic drive still compels him to rush into danger and save those who need saving. That is exactly the kind of character Flynn Nightsider is, only he never knew what it was like to be super. He’s always been mortal and non-magical, but his heroic drive still compels him. Sometimes it gets him into trouble, too, but who wants to read about a perfect, infallible character? 16-year-old boys are supposed to make mistakes. That’s how they learn (or that’s what I tell myself frequently as the mother of a soon-to-be 16-year-old-boy who is fond of making mistakes). Flynn is sort of an anti-chosen-one. With him, Fan has taken a unique approach to a very believable character.
Although Flynn is the main character, I was thrilled to discover Aurelia actually has a huge role in Edge of Evil. Because this story is told from a 3rd person point of view that switches between characters, I got to spend a lot of time in Aurelia’s head—thank goodness! It more than satisfied my Aurelia craving.
Besides being cram-packed with awesome action and fight scenes (mostly with crazy terrifying monsters and powerful evil beings), this book has so many twists, turns, secrets, and intrigue, it was almost impossible for me to guess where it was headed. In the beginning, I felt things moved a little slowly as Fan introduced characters and worldbuilding details, but once Flynn executed his first “rebellious” act, the story jumped up and took off running. I hate to go cliché and call this one “a real page turner,” but it was! Edge of Evil is a fast-paced YA Urban Fantasy with a horror twist and a collection of compelling characters who buck the typical YA trends.
The story ends with a few hanging threads (I won’t call it a cliff hanger) but If Mary Fan leaves me waiting too long before the next book in this series comes out, I might have to go Annie Wilkes on her. Just kidding! (or am I?)
More about Flynn Nightsider & the Edge of Edge of Evil
Break the enchantments. Find the truth. Ignite the revolution.
A century ago, the Enchanters defeated the evil Lord of the Underworld, but not before he’d unleashed his monsters and ravaged the earth. The Enchanters built the Triumvirate out of what remained of the United States, demanding absolute obedience in exchange for protection from the lingering supernatural beasts.
Sixteen-year-old Flynn Nightsider, doomed to second-class life for being born without magic, knows the history as well as anyone. Fed up with the Triumvirate’s lies and secrecy, he longs for change. And when he stumbles across a clue that hints at something more – secrets in the dark, the undead, and buried histories – he takes matters into his own hands.
Before long, Flynn finds himself hunted not only by the government, but also by nightmarish monsters and a mysterious man with supernatural powers … all seeking him for reasons he cannot understand. Rescued by underground rebels, he’s soon swept up in their vision of a better world, guided by a girl as ferocious as the monsters she fights. But as the nation teeters on the brink of revolution, Flynn realizes three things.
The rebellion is not what it seems.
Flynn himself might be more than he seems.
And the fate of the world now rests in his hands. FLYNN NIGHTSIDER AND THE EDGE OF EVIL
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mary Fan is a sci-fi/fantasy writer hailing from Jersey City, NJ. She is the author of the Jane Colt sci-fi series, which comprises ARTIFICIAL ABSOLUTES (Red Adept Publishing, 2013), SYNTHETIC ILLUSIONS (Red Adept Publishing, 2014), and VIRTUAL SHADOWS (Red Adept Publishing, 2015), and STARSWEPT (Snowy Wings Publishing, 2017), a YA sci-fi romance. Her next releases will be FLYNN NIGHTSIDER AND THE EDGE OF EVIL (Crazy 8 Press, 2018), a YA dark fantasy and the first novel of the Flynn Nightsider series, and STRONGER THAN A BRONZE DRAGON, a YA steampunk fantasy (Page Street Publishing, 2019).
In addition, Mary is the co-editor (along with fellow sci-fi author Paige Daniels) of Brave New Girls young adult sci-fi anthologies, which feature tales about girls in STEM. Revenues from sales are donated to the Society of Women Engineers scholarship fund.
Mary has been an avid reader for as long as she can remember and especially enjoys the infinite possibilities and out-of-this-world experiences of science fiction and fantasy. In her spare time (when she has any), she enjoys kickboxing, opera singing, and exploring new things—she'll try almost anything once.
Mary graduated Magna cum Laude from Princeton University in 2010 with a Bachelor of the Arts in Music, specializing in composition. Although she is currently focusing on writing, music is still her first love, and so in her spare time she composes songs and soundtracks.