AnonyMiss asked if she could review a self-published book that she'd really enjoyed, and after reading her email about the book, wherein she went on at length about all the different things she liked about it, I nearly begged her to write it all out for you. Here is her guest review.
Summary: Amaranthe Lokdon is one of the few female enforcers in the history of the Empire – and an excellent one. After a chance meeting with the young emperor, she is given a difficult assignment: find and eliminate the infamous assassin, Sicarius – an assignment that seems to be a suicide mission.
As she attempts to do her duty, Amaranthe must reassess who is truly the enemy of the empire – and why they are trying to have her killed.
Amaranthe is a great heroine: strong, focused, talented, bright – but also a bit OCD (if trapped in the villain’s lair, she tends to start tidying) and impetuous. Her journey is about leadership and prudency.
Sicarius is an incredibly deadly assassin who has killed hundreds of people in cold blood. Yet he manages to be a very sympathetic character with believable growth throughout the books. He isn’t a bad guy- rather he just doesn’t know any way besides killing. His journey is about becoming human with human emotions, something he becomes only through the support of Amaranthe.
This is not a formulaic romance – it’s more like what RITA calls having ‘romantic elements.’ But it’s still great.
I could go on about the amazing elements in the story (Steampunk – believable! Magic – called ‘the mental science’ and careful, it’s illegal! Bad guys – really evil! Plot moppets – absent! Fight scenes – bloody! Daring escapes – many! Drool-worthy hero – confirmed! Side characters – lovable!), but there are a few things that really cinched why I had to enlighten the Bitchery:
In the book:
The romance doesn’t start as a romance or even as The Lustypants. It begins as a note of physical attractiveness… and then it’s about developing a sense of teamwork, of trust. There’s no violins playing and falling into bed here; our h/h know how to control themselves.
Amaranthe trusting a notorious assassin, and Sicarius learning to trust… anyone, are at the heart of the romance.
Spoiler again (sorry!):
Out of the book:
Seriously, I want this author to give a class on How to Be Awesome. Witness the wonderfulness:
- Self-published. Awesome.
- The Emperor’s Edge is the first book in a 6-book series (book 5 comes out this fall). The first Kindle ebook is free. Period. All of the Kindle ebooks are lendable.
- The paid ebooks are under $5 each. The print versions are even reasonably priced (under $12).
- The first two books have been turned into audiobooks, and they are… free. FREE, BABY.
- Facebook, Twitter, blog and an active fan forum – author is active and approachable on all of them (and really nice too)
- Did I mention this book is free? And so’s the audiobook?
Full disclosure: I read a lot of free Kindle self-pubbed books, and a lot are… worth what I paid. This one I started reading long after I downloaded it, so I didn’t remember what it was about, and I almost stopped after chapter one. But it got so, SO much better immediately thereafter, and now I’m a total fangirl.
So if you want to try some steampunkiness, or a series with great characters who don’t go “oops, we ended up in bed together again!” , I highly recommend.