The Emperor’s Edge – Book Review
Can you buy a book if it is free?
Bored (but don’t tell anyone or they will want me to do things), I went to peruse the fantasy section of amazon. This is not an advertisement for the store. However, I have discovered amazon will have ebooks (kindle version only) on for $0.00. Well, I like free stuff. It makes taking a gamble on unknown authors and their novels risk free.
So I bought(?) The Emperor’s Edge by Lindsay Buroker. It was surprisingly good.
The Plot Summary:
Amaranthe Lokdon is an enforcer (police) in the Emperor’s (northern and winter locked) capital. She is female, a new trait for the city’s enforcers and looked down upon by nearly everyone. She is also dedicated to the throne. When Amaranthe is brought to the Emperor’s Chief Advisor’s (and previous Regent) notice she is offered a chance to prove her skills and advance her position in the force. Obviously, when the mission is to kill the most notorious assassin, the job is less of an opportunity for her career and more of an attempt on her life.
Sicarius is credited with numerous kills, escapes and other assassin credentials. He is deadly. He is also in the city.
Amaranthe goes in search of the assassin, only to have entire life turned upside down. While she is not killed (cause we wouldn’t have a story otherwise), she is also not successful. Sicarius points out the obvious trap the Chief Advisor had set and Amaranthe starts to put together the notion the Emperor is not safe. In fact, the Emperor is being poisoned by his Chief Advisor. This is the problem that pulls Amaranthe and Sicarius together. They must protect the Emperor and dispose of the Chief Advisor.
Our feisty heroine my not have all the deadly skills of an assassin, but she is able to devise crazy plans and recruit a rag-tag team to carry them out.
The selling feature of the book was the humour. It was a lark. Amaranthe is amusing the way she charges forward, sometimes blindly, but always with the best intentions. She is the moral compass for their small band of criminals, who are trying to do the right thing by protecting the Emperor. Of course, since they are operating outside of the law as fugitives with wanted posters, some of their methods are questionable at best.
The tone of the book reminds me of Ocean’s Eleven. There is just the right balance between serious moments, potential death, successful fighting and quips to keep the story rolling forward. The pacing is strong the story is solid and the characters are entertaining. There is not a lot of character growth, but then apparently there are some 7 books in this serial, so hopefully character growth comes over time.
Finally, a quick note on the world: it is cold – at least it is winter when this first story takes place. I get the feeling of some fantasy Scandinavian/Russian-esq world. Obviously it is not our world. But the Empire has a long history of war and culture built around war. They clearly have deep, cold, frozen winters. There is an element of steam punk or early mechanized technology with trolleys, clinkers and factories. There is also magic (mostly foreign) or as some might say: Mental Sciences. The world is fine, felling more modern than medieval. But it was not the world that held my attention throughout the story, it was the interactions between the characters and the entertainment of the situations.
Over all I enjoyed the Emperor’s Edge; it was a good romp with an engaging female lead. I may even purchase the sequel to see if it holds up.