Book Review

The Emperor’s Edge by Lindsay Buroker - A Guest Review by AnonyMiss

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Title: The Emperor's Edge
Author: Lindsay Buroker
Publication Info: Lindsay Buroker 2010
ISBN: 978-1466219663
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy

The Emperor's Edge Cover  - just the words on a yellow vintage-looking background with some scrollworkAnonyMiss 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.

Spoiler: In fact, it is only at the end of book 2 in the series that they…hold hands. For one moment. In the last chapter.

Amaranthe trusting a notorious assassin, and Sicarius learning to trust… anyone, are at the heart of the romance.

Spoiler again (sorry!): Eventually in the series they acknowledge feelings for each other but do not act on them to protect other people. To me, that is way more romantic than using “but we LOVE each other!” to justify your actions.

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.


This book is available from Podiobooks (audio) | iBookstore (audio) | iBookstore (text) | Goodreads | Amazon | BN | Sony | Kobo

Comments are Closed

  1. 1

    I just downloaded it – will start tomorrow! Thanks for the heads up, the review reminded me of Megan Whaley Turner books which I love. Crossing fingers.

  2. 2
    LG says:

    Just picked it up on Smashwords, also for free. Sounds like fun!

  3. 3
    Beccah W. says:

    Sounds really good! Plus, the term “The Lustypants” had me wiping tears of laughter away :P

  4. 4
    Sarah Wynde says:

    I’ll throw in a little more encouragement for the undecided: I’ve also read it and it’s a really fun book. I had a few problems with suspension of disbelief—one daring escape works for me, but I’m not so sure about repeated daring escapes, and the heroine’s ability to talk anyone into anything seemed a little convenient—but it was still really enjoyable.

  5. 5
    TheSFReader says:

    One or two additional points : no DRMs, available worldwide (and through Smashwords)…

    I posted my own review on my blog : http://readingandraytracing.bl…

  6. 6
    CarrieS says:

    Love love love your checklist for a great book. 

  7. 7
    Beggar1015 says:

    You had me at “free”

  8. 8

    I really enjoyed this review, especially because AnonyMiss noted that this is an example of a self-published author, who is approachable and active in her fan communities and that the ebook title is free. I also loved AnonyMiss’ “lustypants” comment and appreciated that she took the time to give us the ins and outs of this book and of the series.
    Looking forward to more. Love your reviews. As a fellow fangirl, thanks.

  9. 9
    Ashley L. says:

    I really liked this book too. It’s a fun ride. And it’s a very well done self-published book. The more awareness for those books, the better as far as I’m concerned. And I follow Lindsay on Twitter and I can attest to her approachability.

  10. 10
    kkw says:

    The heroine’s name is Amaranthe? Does she have golden waves of…hair? It makes me think of the cult girl in Buffy who names herself Chanterelle.  And Sicarius is sort of like the male version of Sycorax. Are there already any heros named Vicarious? Kind of has a ring to it.  Maybe it needs an h.
    Ordinarily, the combination of silly names and steam punk would put me off.  But I read shampoo bottles in a pinch, so a free book is just about irresistible.

  11. 11
    SeaGrace says:

    I went to get this for my Kindle and I’d already downloaded it back in December, but never got around to reading. I’m putting it at the top of my TBRnow section.

    Also, I, too, am including lustypants to my vocabulary. LOL.

  12. 12
    kkw says:

    The heroine’s name is Amaranthe? Does she have amber waves of…hair? It reminds me of the cult girl in Buffy who changed her name to Chanterelle.  And Sicarius is like the male version of Sycorax.  Is there already a hero named Vicarious?  It has kind of a ring to it.  Maybe it needs an h.

    Between the silly names and the steam punk, I have my doubts, but given that I will read shampoo bottles, I’m not going to turn my nose up at a free book.

  13. 13
    Anony Miss says:

    Sicarius is actually Latin for ‘assassin.’

    No gratuitous Blahck Dahggerhhood letters that I’ve seen. :)

  14. 14
    dwndrgn says:

    I’ll third that this is a good book worth giving a try.

  15. 15
    Simbablood says:

    Love these books! The first has a bit of a shaky start; I nearly quit. By the end I downloaded everything she had available. I’d squee a bit more but you get the idea. Three of my pals have become giddy fan girls as well.

  16. 16
    Jody Wallace says:

    This author is *very* talented.

  17. 17
    Lisa Pegg says:

    Books 1-3 are available in a collection for $7.99 on the nook. Book 1 is $0.99. I’m downloading! Because I don’t have NEARLY enough books for my weeklong vacation in Hawaii next week. Right?

  18. 18
    Crystal says:

    I downloaded this a few months back for freesies and haven’t gotten to it yet. Nothing bad, I download a lot of books and I’ve estimated it will take me approximately 2.5 years to read everything I’ve downloaded and not gotten to yet.

  19. 19
    Karin says:

    thanks for the rec, definitely going to give it a try!

  20. 20
    ms bookjunkie says:

    I’m listening to the podiocast of book 1 and enjoying it muchly. (Though I managed to DL it to my iTouch in reverse order and it’s an annoyance to have to manually choose the next chapter every time. But it was free, so I’m not complaining. And I really like the narrator!)

  21. 21
    ms bookjunkie says:

    Gah! I meant PODIOBOOK! These mash-up terms will be the end of me, I swear.

  22. 22
    Estara says:

    What I love about this world is the way that the women run the merchant houses and are just as capable and machiavellian as the men – and the fact that Amaranthe had hoped to run her own merchant house (if I remember correctly, it’s been a while since I read this). Other books of the author’s have occasionally been free at Smashwords, too, by the way. There’s even a book were there is young!Sicarius – Encrypted (but I haven’t read it yet).

    If you haven’t discovered her yet, Andrea K. Höst is also a great self-published sf&f writer available at Smashwords and Amazon.com. My favourite books by her are the Touchstone trilogy, which does have a romance but is at it’s core all about the heroine who just finished high school before she stumbled into a different world. It’s written as diary entries so you have to like her.

    The clearest romance based, and what a star-crossed romance it turns out to be, is the Medair duology (available as one book now). The first one – The Silence of Medair, was even nominated for an Auralis Award.

  23. 23
    Estara says:

    You have to like her voice, I should have emphasized. Oh and she’s Australian, so lots of Australian English ^^.

  24. 24
    Ellielu says:

    Oh goody! Deliberate misspelling just kills a book dead for me. I also can’t patronize any Kwik Stops or Eezy Marts without breaking out in a rash….

  25. 25
    Rebecca says:

    “Sicario” is still the Spanish word for assassin.  Hence the book (and movie) “La virgen de los sicarios.”  (“Our Lady of the Assassins”).  For that matter, Amaranthe comes from the Greek “unfading flower.”  According to Answers.com the amaranth flower is any one of the genus “amaranthus” (less poetically known as pigweed).  So on the whole, characters whose names are literally classical, but certainly not randomly made up.

  26. 26
    Mary says:

    I love this book! I’m so glad that it’s getting some new readers here (:

  27. 27
    Elle says:

    And they get better. Squeeing madly and not sure how I will stand the wait til 5 & 6 come out.

  28. 28
    Clw says:

    After my husband found this one for free and recomended it I was hooked; I’ve read everything she has on Amazon, including her kids book. Her charecters are beleavable, and her world building is excellent.

  29. 29
    Vand4221 says:

    These books are so, so satisfying.  The hero is dangerous and his growth is believable across the story arcs.  Altogether…yummy.  I can’t wait for the 6th book.

  30. 30
    Leilah Alva says:

    I liked this book, but I didn’t love it as much as the reviewer did. I think the book needed more female characters (if the book was a film, I don’t think it would pass the Bechdel test). Also, the protagonist is OCD about cleaning and is female (not washes her hands all the time, but just ‘I must straighten up even though I’m in my potential murder’s lair’). At one point she chastises another character for trying to console her because “The woman doesn’t want you to argue or try to solve the problem with logic. The woman wants you to commiserate with her. You don’t have to fix anything.” *Headdesk* Again, I liked this book, but I’m not going to continue with the series after this.

    For the people who liked this book, I recommend the Heroes series by Moira J. Moore
    (first book is Resenting the Hero). It’s similar, but I didn’t cringe like I did sometimes with this book.

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