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 thought this book was well written. The pace was fast and kept my attention. It did not have any glaring plot weaknesses and had a few twists I did not expect. Well done.
Mystery fantasy, scifi elements don’t really come in ‘til later in the series. I do not recommend this as a series. The author dips their toes in a lot of things but never explores any of them to a meaningful depth, and reinforces and perpetuates a lot of problematic behaviors. The author focuses on pushing the characters through the convoluted plot without taking time to really illustrate the magnitude of the experiences they’re enduring. This book individually was an overall okay read. Good use of callbacks, and Amaranthe’s resourcefulness is interesting. I would’ve enjoyed it more if it wasn’t feminist bait.
Though the story leads with feminism, it quickly falls to the background as far as the story is concerned, emphasized by the team being 1:5 woman:man. Amaranthe pulls the “I can’t eat a pastry” mentality possessed by women who want to watch their figure, rather than an athlete who knows a pastry here and there doesn’t really matter. She wants to be athletic enough for her job, not film a movie. Sexual assault was thrown in as if decades of using it for cheap drama in media hasn’t had consequences or shaped how people view it today. Basically she’s assaulted by a man, has to be saved by another man, and after a page or two she’s perfectly fine, as if multiple sexual assaults doesn’t have long term effects.
The author appears to go out of their way to use unnecessarily jarring vocabulary. Verisimilitude instead of truth, mien instead of air, inveigle instead of entice, prevarications instead of lies, facsimile instead of copy, ecumenical instead of worldly, peregrinations instead of courses, appurtenances instead of accessories. It’s not done consistently enough to be a literary device. But yay for learning new words I guess.
This book shares the universe of Warrior Mage but takes place in a different country. Buroker is a fine story teller who delivers intriguing plots, finely crafted writing and believable and endearing characters. The Emperor’s Edge amply delivers all of that. I am eager to read the next book in the series.