The Emperor’s Edge by Lindsay BurokerThe Emperor's Edge by Lindsay Buroker
Series: The Emperor's Edge #1
on December 22nd, 2010
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 324

Don't miss out on the best-selling Emperor's Edge series (2013 Goodreads Choice Awards Nominee).

The adventure starts here...

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.

3 Stars

The Emperor’s Edge had been on my Kindle for almost a year, patiently waiting to be read. I bought it on a whim and because it was cheap. Don’t judge me. It turned out to be a nice, quick read, but nothing more than that unfortunately.

With The Emperor’s Edge, Buroker has written an entertaining fantasy novel with an enjoyable squad of outlaws at its centre, weaving a solid plot of mystery and court intrigue with a feminist touch. It would have, however, needed a polish to stand out amongst other fantasy works. Its biggest flaw was its utter mediocrity. There was nothing special to distinguish Buroker’s work from your average fantasy. Nonetheless, I had a good time with this book, even if a forgettable one. 

Amaranthe I’m not sure whether I liked or hated. I enjoyed how Buroker used her profession as an imperial law enforcer to demonstrate how Amaranthe stood out due to her gender. She’s a ballsy character, but she makes the most ridiculous and naive choices in this book. She trusts blindly, even though she’s proven time and time again that people’s motives are not what they say they are. The rest of the squad, however, was delightful: Dark and brooding assassin called Sicarius (yes, he does kill a lot), flirts-with-everything-that-has-a-heartbeat Maldynado (who I somehow pictured as a Latino?), smart and educated Books (ha, did you see what she did there), and shady ex-con Akstyr (dude has an attitude, though). Their bonding over witty banter was so enjoyable to watch, which was probably one of my favourite aspects of the book.

Friendship is as selfish as any other relationship, perhaps more so because it masquerades as something noble. I am more comfortable with those who approach me with blades drawn.

The plot kept a steady, even though at times slow pacing. I was incredibly impressed by how subtle a romantic subplot Buroker introduced. If you like how Victoria Schwab writes her romance, which means with a barely noticeable spark, then you’ll like Buroker’s style. There’s an underlying current of tension between Amaranthe and Sicarius, but nothing openly outspoken or even remotely close to an actual romance. From what I’ve heard, their romance is a slow burn, growing slowly throughout this series.

His hair stuck up more than usual, but he was otherwise neat in his typical black. If they lived through the mission, she decided to buy him an obnoxiously cheerful shirt. Something in sunflower yellow, perhaps.

The world-building did its job but I would’ve expected more from a fantasy novel. Dammit, the world-building is supposed to grasp my attention. It’s supposed to be distinct from others, so that I enter this world and immediately recognize it for what it is. The subtle hints at steam-punk elements were a good start, but which could’ve been more developped.

The writing was good, even though a little mechanical at times, but it became clear that this book was self-published, for especially the dialogue could be incredibly choppy to the point where I wondered whether anyone had proof-read this novel. Some exchanges were wonderful, others were so unrealistic it made my eyes roll.

All in all, The Emperor’s Edge was an entertaining but average Indie fantasy novel, which offered a delightful cast and a well written slow burn, but could’ve been better in the departments of world-building and writing. Personally, I’m not interested enough to continue the series, even though the sneak peek of the sequel sounds really promising. I just have too many other books on my TBR that I’m prioritizing over this series.