lundi 31 mars 2014

“Emperor’s Edge” series by Lindsay Buroker

Being a book-addict, I’m always looking for new authors and since the rise of self-publishing we have a flourish of new (wannabe-)authors to choose from… The problem is the amount of bad in which the good books might be lost (and surely there are a lot of great books out there that do not get the publicity they deserve). So every time I see a free book on amazon I download “to try”… that is how I discovered the “Emperor’s Edge” series by Lindsay Buroker.
The first one of the series is still free at your favorites ebook provider: like itunes or amazon.

Here is the blurb that motivated me to download and read the first book of the series.
Imperial law enforcer Amaranthe Lokdon is good at her job: she can deter thieves and pacify thugs, if not with a blade, then by toppling an eight-foot pile of coffee canisters onto their heads. But when ravaged bodies show up on the waterfront, an arson covers up human sacrifices, and a powerful business coalition plots to kill the emperor, she feels a tad overwhelmed.
Worse, Sicarius, the empire's most notorious assassin, is in town. He's tied in with the chaos somehow, but Amaranthe would be a fool to cross his path. Unfortunately, her superiors order her to hunt him down. Either they have an unprecedented belief in her skills... or someone wants her dead.

hiry: This will be spoiler free, at least concerning what you cannot figure out from the blurb (yeah, Sicarius is one of the main characters… and he is a badass)… I succeeded to entice my husband to read that book by quoting/reading excerpts to him without spoiling the main plot points… so I should be able to write a review that makes people want to read without spoiling anything too important (it is FREE, so let yourself being hooked at no cost… nothing to loose!)!!
Oh yeah, forgot to mention it… I enjoyed the book! and so did my husband but for slightly different reasons! It is the fun part of reading, and reviewing, in tandem… we can argue for hours about plot points and details!

About the book in itself, I would not classify it as steampunk. Fantasy in the era of steam was a good way to say it! it has a feel of role-playing game (with Books failing a lot of dexterity check!) a team of people gathered to save the empire against this business coalition. A rather typical plot line (at the same time, we want a story!) but here economics is a tool! So, ok, the plot lines were thick, fate was on their side (and Sicarius might appear as a deus ex machina), but it is funny! This is not literature but a fun book to enjoy with likable characters and banter (even one-sided banter) and I intend to buy the rest of the series (would love to have real books but not sure they are published in paper).

gomaaa: This book is funny.  I could not go a full page without chuckling and then sharing a little tidbit with my wife. While the plot is sometimes predictable, I liked this book because it made me care about the characters.  I wanted them to get along and work together, I wanted them to succeed in their mission, and I wanted them to solve their individual problems.

- favorite characters and why:
gomaaa I like Amaranthe.   I haven't read a lot of fantasy books that have a strong female character and she doesn't fit the mold of a typical hero.  She's tough, but she's not the best fighter in the group.  She just gets everyone to get along, even when they seem to really detest each other! 

hiry: I love the whole team that end up being formed and the fact that the other characters will all get their POV in a book makes it even more fun! it is really a team, not just two main characters and followers! This is actually something that the author have in common with the main character Amaranthe, every member of the team is important!
  Sicarius is my favorite character… It might sound strange as he is an assassin that does not talk much and when he talks it is often monosyllabic… but I like tortured characters that do not talk much… They are fun to read as you need to gather the clues to find out what is happening behind the stony expression and glare. Also, though he is an assassin that has killed many(MANY) people, he is not a psychopath and he does not kill for no reason. For him a threat is to be neutralized… permanently. This is a big point of debate with Amaranthe… I love the way he was not humanized too fast… He does not immediately stop killing people!  We can see that he is changing but it is slow… One cannot break a lifetime of indoctrination in such a short time.
   Amaranthe’s role in that is subtle enough that some of the team might not realize it at first… She is trying her best to get him to relate to other human beings… Actually, it is her strength, her super power one could say.  She RELATES to people, she believes in them and they strive not to disappoint. Though she is fit and skilled with a crossbow, she is not a leader through strength and power but because she touches all of her team on an emotional level. In that, this book is really different from a lot of fantasy/team against the world books!

- What did you enjoy the most
gomaaa: The banter between the characters is so good!  I often found myself chuckling, making my wife ask, "What part was it?"  The book has the first time I've ever seen the word 'thesaurus' used in a joke!  
hiry: The banter! no hesitation here, I can forget plot holes the size of a knife if it is fun to read (yes, I’m talking about a particular element of the plot, not really a plot hole just something I do not understand… so it irked me… I need to read it again!) and there is the added quirk of Amaranthe (not telling you what! you have to read the book!)… It is a common one, my mum has the same, and it brings a lot of funny comments from the team!

- What did you like about the world/setting?
gomaaa: I liked the society and the history.  There were references to both the recent and ancient history of the empire, but without giving you a full history lesson.  It left me feeling that there was a lot more backstory ready, but with just a taste that didn't distract from the plot.  I also enjoyed the fact that the economics of the world became very important, which is rarely the case in an adventure book!

hiry: Actually the steam period could have been more important in the plot… When I got the book I thought it was steampunk… It is not (in my opinion) but it does not matter as it is a fun book! Whichever setting it is in. Love the nickname by which everybody calls the city, especially after we are told the reason why (very early in the book). Just another of the funny details that make the world more interesting!

Oh yeah, another good point for that series in my book… it is finished! Which mean I can start it and not be left stranded at a cliffhanger because the author, for whatever reason, stopped!  Also, that first book has an ending! you can stop here if you want (but why?). There are 7 books and a few short-stories/novellas in-between (some of them are free gifts from the author in her blog!). A second plot arc will be explored soon, so we are sure to see those characters again!

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