Formats available: ebook, paperback, audiobook
Series: The Emperor’s Edge, #1
Length: 322 pages
Date Released: March 16, 2012
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository
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.
I dove into The Emperor’s Edge because I was hungry for a good fantasy, and it was the first title that jumped out from my Kindle app screen.
I was so glad it did.
It’s not just that it’s the opening of a mostly fantasy series (although there’s more than a touch of steampunk), it’s that Amaranthe Lokdon and her crew are a bunch that make you itch to get to know them better.
Amaranthe starts out as an imperial enforcer who is way too good for the job. But she’ll never get promoted. In this world, women have only recently been permitted to join the enforcers, so Amaranthe is a rarity.
It’s not that she’s expected to be a housewife; that’s not the way it works. In this world, women are the merchant class. Amaranthe was supposed to be a shopkeeper. Or more. She even went to an academy for it.
But that wasn’t ever the life she wanted for herself. Amaranthe is a damned good investigator. She likes being an enforcer. She’s proud of upholding the law.
Until she draws the attention of the emperor, and his imperial minder. Then she finds out what it’s like to be on the wrong side of everything. And that the law, and justice don’t necessarily serve the same ends.
Amaranthe realizes that she’s going to have to bend one hell of a lot of laws in order to save what’s really important. Like the emperor’s life.
Isn’t it fascinating that her very first ally in her quest is the best assassin in the world? After she convinces him (a) not to kill her, and (b) that she has a plan to save the emperor from the people trying to kill him.
Escape Rating A-: I absolutely barrelled through The Emperor’s Edge, sort of like one of the mechanical monsters that Amaranthe fights during the book. This was awesomely fun.
Amaranthe is the leader. She recruits a disparate group of characters and keeps them together through sheer force of personality. She’s the one who always has a plan, and just keeps pulling them through. Admittedly, sometimes she pulls those plans out of her ass, but she knows that. She’s flying entirely by the seat of her pants.
But the most fascinating creation in this story is Sicarius. He’s the Lancer in the band. In this particular case, he’s the most feared assassin in the world, and with good reason. He signs up with Amaranthe to protect the emperor, not because he wants to ally with our heroine.
Sicarius is a killing machine. It’s all he’s been trained for. And yet, Amaranthe has found a way to probe his secrets. Or at least one. Sicarius is so compelling because he gives away so little, and hides so much. And yet, we know there is a reason he is willing to stay with this thin shred of an idea to protect an emperor who has given orders he be killed on sight. Not that anyone has a prayer of succeeding in killing Sicarius. Whole platoons have died in trying, and everyone knows it.
The Emperor’s Edge is a fantasy, and an adventure, and the beginning of a long journey with a fascinating group of players. I have the rest of the series so far, and I plan to carve out some time to dive in. I must find out what happens next!