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Book Review: The Emperor's Edge, by Lindsay Buroker

Lindsay Buroker is a prolific indie author and co-host of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Marketing Podcast. Since I’ve been listening to her marketing advice for several years now, I figured it was time to check out her craft by reading one of her books: The Emperor’s Edge, the first book in the series of the same name. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it either.

Cover of The Emperor's Edge, by Lindsay Buroker.

Amaranthe Lokdon, the main character, is one of the few female enforcers patrolling the capital city of the Turgonian Empire. But after she runs afoul of the Commander of the Armies, she’s outlawed and left for dead. She knows the Emperor’s in danger, though, so she recruits an unlikely team—including the deadly assassin Sicarius—and launches a desperate scheme to save her liege.

It’s a decent premise, but I found the plotting precarious at points. Amaranthe’s scheme involves setting up a fake counterfeiting operation. It never seems likely to work, a fact she even acknowledges. (At one point, she calls it “juvenile and doomed to failure.”) I would have preferred a plan that had a chance. When things inevitably go awry, the reader shouldn’t be thinking, “Well, that was never going to work anyway.” There’s not much drama in that. I also thought Amaranthe’s team came together too neatly, and that several characters were more forthcoming with their intentions than seemed plausible. The steampunk setting felt a little thin—the use of steam never really seemed to change how the world worked, and I tripped over several modern-sounding terms (like “startups” and “cubicles.”) And Amaranthe’s transition from by-the-book enforcer to master-of-improvisation criminal happened a little suddenly.

Yet the pacing is fast, the action is tense, and the characters are likable. There’s enough here to make for an enjoyable read. If you’re looking for a fun distraction, The Emperor’s Edge is worth a shot—especially since it’s free.

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Cover of the historical fantasy novel Witch in the White City, by Nick Wisseman.

Millions of visitors. Thousands of exhibits. One fiendish killer.

Neva’s goals at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago are simple. Enjoy the spectacle—perhaps the greatest the United States has ever put on. (The world’s fair to end all world’s fairs!) Perform in the exposition’s Algerian Theatre to the best of her abilities. And don’t be found out as a witch.

Easy enough … until the morning she looks up in the Theatre and sees strangely marked insects swarming a severed hand in the rafters.

"... a wild ride sure to please lovers of supernatural historical mysteries." – Publishers Weekly

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