I got a free download of The Emperor’s Edge from Amazon. In exchange, I offer the author this, my honest review.
I very much enjoyed The Emperor’s Edge! The story is filled with witty, complex, and even humorous characters trying to save the emperor (Sespian) from those near him who seek to rule in his stead.
Amaranthe flees for her life and is forced out of the Enforcers, then engages the assistance of a motley crew consisting of a drunkard (Books), a gang member (Akstyr), a male-model-escort egotist (Maldynado) and an assassin (Sicarius). So well drawn are these characters that I can easily imagine individual works wherein any one of them would be the main character.
Amaranthe is a nail-biting but strong heroine, prone to use the skills for leading others that she learned in her business school training, as well as the weapons skills she garnered from her Enforcer training, to bring order amongst, and to encourage support within, her unlikely group of assistants. Though Amaranthe works in the underworld with these unsavory characters, she resists engaging in criminal activity herself. She manages to do this even while planning to get out of her current fix by threatening to make and then distribute counterfeit bills—actions sure to catch the attention of those in power, as counterfeit currency would seriously disrupt the economy. (“You need to work on this criminal stuff,” Maldynado informs Amaranthe when she refuses to steal the printing press she needs to follow through on her plan.)
Buroker offers lines that made me laugh out loud. An example: “You didn’t even look at me when you first saw me, and I was very look-at-able at the time,” Maldynado tells Amaranth. Or consider this one: “An optimist would have called the rectangular opening underneath a window. She decided ‘ragged hole sawed in the planks’ was more accurate.” And here is one of my favorites: “Just be glad we didn’t decide to forge coins,” Amaranthe tells Akstyr as Akstyr tries to escape the group’s hideout while assisting in carrying the counterfeited bills. Buroker also used interesting and unusual words that were uniquely appropriate to the setting and story (“sartorial,” by way of example). She offered thought provoking word pictures such as, for example: “The building hunched over the lake like an old soldier, arthritic from a lifetime’s worth of battle wounds.” Or consider: “When Amaranthe leaned over the railing, her light reflected off exposed ice, mimicking dozens of yellow eyes staring at her.” Buroker even offers, in The Emperor’s Edge, some words of wisdom: “No general ever won a victory by pitting his weaknesses against the enemy’s strengths.”
Overall, Buroker’s storytelling revealed enough facts along the way to keep the story believable while retaining enough information to keep this reader moving forward, ever questing for more.
I most certainly will look forward to reading more from this gifted writer.
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