The Emperor's Edge by Lindsay Buroker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Emperor's Edge by Lindsay Buroker
I had this one in my kindle and of course one reason was that it is free. I decided that since I'd delved into steam-punk that I'd take a look see and decide if I should read it. The first thing I noticed was the humor- I'm going out on a limb here because humor is so subjective and at the risk of offending Lindsay Buroker I'm going to say I saw some definite humor in the text and subtext. I kept notes if anyone is interested in what I found so humorous. I kept getting this feeling that Lindsay may have spent a few hours somewhere in the past watching a lot of Rocky and Bullwinkle. This was not a bad thing-at least not for me.
So partway into the story I realized I hadn't done my usual thing, which is to look at the one and two star reviews. As usual many of those go on a bit about how they can't for the life of them fathom why there are so many 4 and 5 star reviews and how they felt cheated and wanted to warn people off. I love a challenge and so I jumped back into the fray and now I'm going to explain why I feel free to give this a 5 star rating.
It must be that like humor some forms of entertainment are also subjective.
Corporal Amaranthe Lokdon is and Enforcer for the Turgonian Empire, she's the only female enforcer so she has a lot to live up to and lot to of resistance to handle. She also has a slacker partner, Corporal Wholt, who has pretty much left her out in the cold having to explain his absence to her superiors. This is particularly distressing to her since her partner is up for a promotion that she clearly thinks she deserves.
When they reach the scene of the crime and she begins to hone her detective skills she is confronted with more disillusionment from her fellow officers when they decide she'd best be suited for cleanup detail. Admittedly though, Amaranthe is her own worst enemy in this respect because she seems to suffer an OCD compulsion to clean and straighten things. This is one of the most humorous aspects of her character and it makes one wonder is this OCD or just social training that keeps kicking in. She even finds she has to stifle the urge to clean in order to ensure she doesn't contaminate the scene of the crime by overt cleanliness.
While foiling a robbery Amaranthe meets the Emperor Sespian Savarsin who may have happened in just to observe her at work, however it is he seems to become enamored with her without her knowledge. It is in part this seeming chance meeting that begins the downward path of Amaranthe from Enforcer to fugitive. But not before she is given the assignment of her career, she's to assassinate the deadly assassin Sicarius and this could be the means to the promotion she's been looking for. The assignment comes from the Emperor's own Commander of the Armies Hollowcrest and during that interview Amaranthe once again falls into the sphere of the Emperor and has a few interesting revelations that will eventually help her better understand why her luck seems to travel south so quickly.
Amaranthe finds herself on the Enforcer's most wanted list and from there she embarks on life of crime with an unlikely array of allies. What's entirely entertaining about her cohorts is that each has their own social standing and quirks that make them only mildly suited for her plan and create an interesting and complex interaction. The Emperors life is in danger and the only people who know are a band of criminals under Amaranthe's direction and a conspiracy of criminals who want to see the Emperor assassinated, the Empire destroyed or at least a puppet empire set up.
Amaranthe's intel has unveiled the existence of some criminals who seem to have an agenda that is economically motivated so her plot is to threaten to disrupt the economy so that she can draw these criminals out into the open to reveal them in time to save the Emperor.
This is really a well crafted story that only errs in that humor is subjective and to some people may run flat or even go above and beyond them and distract from the story. Even so, cutting through all that the astute reader should have no problem seeing the development of the plot and enjoy the development of the characters. This is part of a series of books but has a satisfactory ending that makes it complete within itself.
Now I could be facetious and say this book was so good that I can't understand why it has any bad reviews, but really each to his own. It's often a matter of perception and whether someone dismisses the book for perceived problems and scans through the rest or simply doesn't finish it. I've always said if someone says something won't work or isn't any good they should never be put in charge of any phase of it because they will be out to make sure it doesn't succeed.
That much said: I'll offer my usual warning that this book does contain some errors, not nearly as many as I've seen in others but they are there. Sometimes its words missing spaces between them other times words are missing. Does it look like the author was spelunking into the thesaurus to find words, maybe, but maybe she was just following those ridiculous online 'writers' groups that insist that you should never use the same word twice within a certain distance to each other. Or possibly, since I never found any word that didn't mean what it said within the context, just possibly she chose to use those words with a purpose. Lindsay Buroker does seem to have a slight different style to her writing that shows up enough to stand out sometimes, but it is a good and refreshing style that is refreshing because it's different from the usual cookie cutter writing coming out of some of these online 'writer' forums. Could she use some more editing, couldn't we all, but I didn't find anything that distracted me from enjoying the story or following the well written plot-line. Would I read more?
This is a good story for SFF fans, Mostly fantasy and not for the people who need a lot of solid science. It does qualify for steam-punk as there are enough elements of steam driven technology evident although it is not the main driving force of the story and I'm not so sure about Victorian dress. It has elements of magic, but it is not the only steam-punk I've read that uses elements of magic. It's a good Young Adult Adventure story and even has an element of mystery with well defined characters to drive the story.
Thanks Lindsay for a good entertaining read.
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