Sunday, 8 September 2013

The Emperor's Edge Novels By Lindsey Buroker

Firstly let me just say that I stumbled on Lindsay Buroker by accident. Like a morosely drunk bridesmaid who went looking for a place to cry and instead found Narnia.

Upon finishing the very wonderful The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke I decided I wanted more and I wanted it immediately, but searching ‘The Assassin’s Curse’ in Goodreads (I forgot her name and I’m lazy) brought up instead a short story by one Lindsay Buroker. What is this? An Emperor’s Edge novella?

And that’s all it took, Emperor’s Edge, the phrase alone conjured up hopes for adventures, questionable miscreants, political machinations and loveable rogues. So I dived into book one, actually called The Emperor’s Edge (which is free in e-book form) and was utterly hopelessly lost in love.

Book 2
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 (Courtesy of Goodreads)

Even just re-reading that blurb a whole year after I started this series gives me a wobbly thrill. Never before have I wished I could forget everything I knew about a book just so I could enjoy it all over again (I’m sure I have and I’m exaggerating but, seriously, I can’t think of any other books that make me feel that way right now, they have all ceased to matter).
Book 3

Each book follows the thoughts of Amaranthe and, from book 2 onwards, one of her rag-tag team of freedom fighters which allows each story to open up so much more to the reader than a single point of view could manage. It also makes for spectacular segways when the team splits up (either by Amaranthe’s design or more usually when something explodes or goes horribly wrong).
It’s difficult to do these stories justice, I could go on about how wonderfully entertaining Amaranthe is with her diabolical plans and optimistic intentions, how brilliantly refreshing the enemies and problems they face are or how perfectly formed her team of noble miscreants become over the course of their many adventures.
Book 4

And ADVENTURES! Oh how I love books with actual adventures. Proper swinging from ropes, blowing up lairs, facing down beasts, royalty rescuing (or kidnapping), train hijacking, cross dressing adventures! Where grandiose plans go awry and last minute heroics and all the luck in the world is only enough to scrape free with your life. And maybe your boots. Possibly someone’s underwear.

Speaking of delicates, there is also romance to be had. Because it is not a proper adventure if there are no heart stopping moments that make you want to stand up on the bus and yell at your kindle “I demand you two to bloody well kiss!”. Possibly to the astonishment of your fellow passengers.
Sicarius would have been an almost impossible character to romanticise, he has killed and kills a lot of people, most are deserving but some are not, hardly a man you would like to get snuggly with (unless you’re one of those psychos who writes love letters to death row inmates, you should talk to a friend, choose a nice hobby, get a pet).
His face is a blank page, he is a brutally economical with his words and would easily slaughter dozens of people if they had the misfortune to stand in his way. But somehow, over the course of the stories Ms Buroker manages to build a real person out of all the little moments and snippets he shares with everyone and she does it properly by making his faults real, serious issues that Amaranthe has to acknowledge and accept, rather than just saying “oh he had a tough past but he is super dreamy. Swoon!” I love these two, they are not perfect for each other but they are for each other, and that is better.

Book 7
Book 6
As I said the first book is free to download and if you like what you read then you have the joy of reading all 7 books plus all the short stories in between (which you should, every word of them only adds value to this Universe) and when you are done and you look back with fondness on all the shenanigans, mishaps and derring-do’s … well then you can come join me while I wait for whatever Ms Buroker writes next. Bring snacks.


Lindsay said... [Reply to comment]

Thank you for the write-up, Holly! I recommend snacks of dark chocolate myself. :)

Holly Gordon said... [Reply to comment]

Funnily enough I plan to make some dark chocolate millionaires shortbread this weekend!