Here's the obligatory warning that I'm in love with these books and they can do no wrong in my eyes.
All of the previous books in the Emperor’s Edge seHere's the obligatory warning that I'm in love with these books and they can do no wrong in my eyes.
All of the previous books in the Emperor’s Edge series have been leading up to this book, in a way. The lines of the Forge storyline become completely clear, and by the end of the book it is understood that the events to follow will forever change the world of the Emperor’s Edge books.
We get some strong development between Sicarius and Amaranthe, plus we get more of Sicarius, Amaranthe and Sespian together for extended periods of time. (view spoiler)[And the truth about Sicarius and Sespian’s relationship finally is revealed! (hide spoiler)]
There are very few love triangles that I can actually stand (let alone like), but the one between Sespian, Amaranthe and Sicarius is one that I actually enjoyed reading and was a little torn up over. (Another was between Jonathan, Alanna and George in Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness quartetSong of the Lioness quartet.)
It’s clear that the story isn’t done, but Blood and Betrayal isn’t as much of a cliffhanger as the previous book. There’s more that has to happen, but the book tied up most of what started in Conspiracy(view spoiler)[with Sespian getting to do the spying he wanted the team to kidnap him for, the team being reunited and all secrets revealed (hide spoiler)].
In order to hold myself over until Forged in Blood comes out (2013!) I’ll be moving on to Encrypted, which apparently deals with the mysterious alien technology that shows up in both Conspiracy and Blood and Betrayal....more
What you should know going into this review, is that I am unabashedly in love with these books.
In a way I sort of dreaded this book because it was theWhat you should know going into this review, is that I am unabashedly in love with these books.
In a way I sort of dreaded this book because it was the one where we get Akstyr’s POV, and he’s always rubbed me the wrong way. As the one member of the group who has always looked out for himself more than the others, I felt like Akstyr was going to harsh my good vibes about the Emperor’s Edge group.
You know it’s the mark of a good author and storyteller when a book focusing on a character you don’t particularly care for is just as enjoyable (possibly more so) than the rest of the series. Buroker had a stroke of genius when she decided to use Akstyr’s POV in a book with the most interesting (so far) storyline.
In this book, the story that began at the end of the previous one (view spoiler)[(Sespian contacting the group to be kidnapped) (hide spoiler)] comes to fruition. Sespian, that kind, young emperor with a bit of a crush on Amaranthe, finally comes back into the picture for an extended time. No longer being drugged into submission, we finally get to see Sespian as he really is.
Of course, nothing goes as planned, and the group discovers that Forge is even more formidable than they initially estimated.
What I really wasn’t expecting was for this book to end with such a cliffhanger. Because Conspiracy is really the first part of this story arc. While the previous three Emperor’s Edge books can stand alone, Conspiracy cannot. In order to finish the story started here, you need to move onto Blood and Betrayal. Which I’m doing right now!...more
Whenever I finish one of the Emperor's Edge books I have this urge to grab random people on the street, shake them and demand to know why they haven'tWhenever I finish one of the Emperor's Edge books I have this urge to grab random people on the street, shake them and demand to know why they haven't read them yet. I honestly can't praise the author, these books and these characters enough. And as much as I enjoyed the first two, I think this one was the best. And based on the epilogue, the story is just going to continue getting better....more
This book blew me away and having finished it and run the gauntlet with the characters I am exhausted. I am in absolute awe how everything - and I doThis book blew me away and having finished it and run the gauntlet with the characters I am exhausted. I am in absolute awe how everything - and I do mean everything - that had been mentioned in previous books all tied together for the grand finale. It's amazing and I can't think properly and I think I just need to sleep on it so I can better appreciate how well crafted this trilogy was.
There are few words for how much I have enjoyed reading the first two Mistborn books. There’s something about the characters that feel so real to me.There are few words for how much I have enjoyed reading the first two Mistborn books. There’s something about the characters that feel so real to me. I think the first book was an easier read mostly because this one has a lot of politics and there are multiple factions to follow and keep track of. And yet, even while being in a fantasy world, filled with magic and creatures, there is something very real about the struggles and the conflicts.
And the climax of this novel was insane. There is so much going on, and we get points of views from so many different characters, and yet it was all easy to follow. The first book was primarily (or exclusively, I can’t remember) told through Kelsier and Vin. In this book we get chapters from just about every main character.
Loved this book, loved how the characters grew and all were explored a little more, and even the battles. I often find battles boring to read because I’d much rather just watch it, but I loved reading these fights.
Considering how this second one ended, I can’t wait to see how it all gets resolved in the next book. ...more
It's still safe to say that this book is better than most, but it doesn't stand up to the first three books for me even, though it's better than AFfC.It's still safe to say that this book is better than most, but it doesn't stand up to the first three books for me even, though it's better than AFfC. My biggest issue with this book is that GRRM has continued to expand the story by adding more POVs. He's added even more facets to this already chaotic story (view spoiler)[as cool as the reveal was that Aegon, one of Rhaegar's children, is actually alive, it meant that there's another ball for GRRM to juggle (hide spoiler)] and I really don't see, based on his writing over the five novels, how GRRM can tie this all up in two novels.
And although he said at the end of AFfC that he split that novel and this one the way he did because he wanted to tell the whole story for some of the characters rather than just part of the story for all of the characters, I felt like a lot of characters were most definitely only partial stories or left so open ended at the end of novel so as to be unsatisfying (view spoiler)[I'm looking at you, Arya. And where was Sansa? And WHAT HAPPENED WITH JON SNOW? Is he dead? If yes, then that was the most unsatisfactory end for a main character and I'm really pissed. And what's up with Jaime and Brienne? He follows her off in the middle of the book and that's all we get. (hide spoiler)]...more
Yeah, I loved this one. Somehow, it’s even better than the first one. The characters get explored a little more, and I’ve decided that I want to persoYeah, I loved this one. Somehow, it’s even better than the first one. The characters get explored a little more, and I’ve decided that I want to personally know each and every one of the team. They might all be wanted criminals and some have trying personalities, but their interactions with one another are so great and believable, that I want to be part of that team. Basilard doesn’t even speak yet I always enjoyed his interactions with Akstyr. I’m a sucker for good relationship building. In the first book, Maldynado = Finnick from The Hunger Games, for me. By the end of this book, that’s not really the case anymore. He’s now separated in my mind from Finnick (not that I ever had a problem with it, because I loved Finnick).
Buroker does something different with the storytelling in this book. While The Emperor’s Edge mainly focuses on Amaranthe (with occasional Sespian chapters), in Dark Currents, she splits the book between Amaranthe and Books. She has said that each book she writes in the series will use a member of the Emperor’s Edge team as the secondary character to Amaranthe’s chapters. I love this concept. There’s no denying that Amaranthe is the main character, but this will allow all of the others to become fully fleshed. I can’t wait to see what Maldynado’s chapters will be like. I’m interested to see what goes on Sicarius’ head, but I have a feeling that might be saved for last. But Basilard is next, and considering what we learn about him (and Sicarius) in this book, I think that makes sense.
My only complaint plotwise, is that the final confrontation with Amaranthe and the giant, dangerous beasts, is a little like the one at the end of the first book. Where Amaranthe is the bait and she has to lure the beasts to where Maldynado is waiting with a contraption to take them down.
And the biggest disappointment for me (but it didn’t detract at all from my enjoyment of the book. It was just something that I thought about afterward) was that Sespian doesn’t show up at all in this book. Although, I did enjoy that there was a rather serious conversation between Sicarius and Amaranthe about the fact that the emperor clearly has a puppy dog crush on her and he’ll always hate and distrust Sicarius. It’s something that needs to be addressed. (view spoiler)[I want Sicarius and Amaranthe to get together, but I wondered throughout the book about how it would work. Morally, I mean. Sicarius is trying to make a good impression on his son. Getting together with the girl your son likes and then expecting him to be happy to see you is not a good plan. I’m glad this was brought up by Sicarius. In most love triangles the two men don’t like each other very much. They’re usually enemies or they were just never friends. In this book, they are enemies, but not from Sicarius’ perspective. That’s his freaking son(hide spoiler)].
There are supposed to be six books total in this series. Next one, please!...more
I just ... this book killed me. Martin has this way of crushing all hope. And I say that with all praise. He doesn't pull any punches and horrible, hoI just ... this book killed me. Martin has this way of crushing all hope. And I say that with all praise. He doesn't pull any punches and horrible, horrible things happen in this book. But that being said, it's not all doom and gloom. There are certain characters that give you hope, especially at the Wall. Those guys are the best. And I love that the characters constantly evolve and change. We see how war makes for strange bedfellows, how people's morals are tested and best of all we see who rises above and who falters.
I'm so glad I have the next book handy. I'm sure I'll devour A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons, but I don't know how I'm going to wait once I finish them.
(view spoiler)[I hated Catelyn, so there's no sadness from me there. But I was devastated to see what happened to Robb. And then to hear what they did to his body afterward? That was one of the most horrifying things I read and I both dread and look forward to seeing if they actually show his body with Grey Wind's crowned head sewn on in the show. (hide spoiler)]...more
There’s nothing like buying a book on a whim and being surprised with just how damn good it is. The Emperor’s Edge has everything I like: well-craftedThere’s nothing like buying a book on a whim and being surprised with just how damn good it is. The Emperor’s Edge has everything I like: well-crafted characters, including a strong female; mystery; conspiracies; a little economics even; dry humor; witty banter; and just the tiniest hint of possible romance (which is exactly how I like my romance, thank you).
Amaranthe Lokdon is one of a few female enforcers in the Empire and she’s incredibly loyal to the emperor, Sespian, and has designs to move up in the ranks. So when she’s offered the chance to take out the assassin Sicarius in order to protect the young emperor, she takes the job. Only problem is she wasn’t meant to succeed. Now that she’s survived the encounter Amaranthe discovers that there are not one but two plots against the emperor afoot and the only people she has to rely on are Sicarius and the ragtag group of men she brings together.
I loved this book. I especially loved seeing the characters evolve. And although short, I think the book was exactly the right length. I liked that the mystery wasn’t dragged out for a painfully long time. And nothing came easy for Amaranthe as she inevitably got in a sticky situation with each one of the guys, but I liked that she was incredibly smart and able to think her way out of every situation.
As for the romance. I suppose one could say there is a love triangle, but not really. Sespian clearly has a crush on her despite having only met her twice, and it’s really sort of cute, almost like when one of your friends’ younger brothers likes you. It was cute, but I didn’t see it happening. Then there’s some tension between Amaranthe and Sicarius. He is the strong, mysterious, silent type that girls often can’t help themselves around, but she manages to keep it professional except for a few times. And no one can ever tell what Sicarius is thinking (or feeling), but I’d be willing to wager that he has slightly fond feelings for her. And the fact that both of these men have feelings for her is just too amusing for words: (view spoiler)[I'm serious, MAJOR spoiler(view spoiler)[father and son both liking the same girl, ha! (hide spoiler)](hide spoiler)]
All-in-all this was such an entertaining read, and a true gem that I accidentally stumbled across.
Really a 4.5 stars, but I enjoyed it so much that I rounded up rather than down. ...more
If I was wearing a hat it would be off to Scott Lynch. This book is amazing. Going into it though, is like going into Million Dollar Baby: it's all fuIf I was wearing a hat it would be off to Scott Lynch. This book is amazing. Going into it though, is like going into Million Dollar Baby: it's all fun and games and win after win and you think you've got a handle on where it's going and then BAM! It all goes to hell and you NEVER saw it coming.
Never before has a cast of characters so delighted me. Locke is brilliant and funny and ballsy as all hell. Probably my favorite part is when we learn that Locke was told once when he was younger not to piss off a Karthian Bondsmage. So what's the first thing he says when he comes face-to-face with one? "Nice bird, asshole." And that, right there, tells you a lot of Locke Lamora. He's arrogant but so damn smart that he can afford to be so. It was amazing seeing how all of his cons would unravel and suddenly make sense. He's always five steps ahead of everyone else around him.
The rest of the Gentleman Bastards are simply the greatest as well. Tough and loyal Jean Tannen, the comical and sneaky Sanzo twins and adorable Bug who is just trying to keep up with the men. But beyond the Gentleman Bastards are a whole host of other characters that are fascinating and so three dimensional from the rich Salvaras to The Gray King and even Ibelius, the questionable healer.
This book might not be for everything. There's some rather strong language (which I loved to death as I curse like a sailor in everyday life) and people get cut up, eaten, tortured, stabbed, burned, etc. This is a book about thieves, and some of those thieves don't have the strong morals that our main character does, and even Locke's morals only go so far and when he's pushed, he drops the fun attitude and becomes a force to be reckoned with.
And I loved the way the book was structured, how the reader gets interludes that jump back in time to round out the city of Camorr or how the Gentleman Bastards came to be as awesome as they are. I foresee this is a book I will want to read many, many times in the future... just after I read Red Seas Under Red Skies....more
I'm now moving on to The Magician's Ward, but I finished the first book and wanted to write a review while it was still fresh in my mind.
Mairelon theI'm now moving on to The Magician's Ward, but I finished the first book and wanted to write a review while it was still fresh in my mind.
Mairelon the Magician: This book was a fun read, complete with a mystery, double crossings, a search and more than one pistol. I thoroughly enjoyed following the storyline and trying to figure out what exactly everyone was up to.
This is the second book this year I've read where the main female character spends the majority of her time dressed as a boy. In Camille the title character does slip into dresses on occasion and changes from a strong character to one who fell ridiculously in love with a boy after knowing him a week. On the other hand, Kim in Mairelon the Magician never changes out of her boys' attire and is often mistaken for a boy (something she encourages by never willingly letting people know she's actually a girl). I liked that about Kim because it showed how guarded she is. At the same time I couldn't help but wonder how so many people could mistake an almost 17-year-old girl as a boy after spending a significant amount of time in her company.
This book had so many characters and the way they all came together was done wonderfully and, incredibly enough, humorously. Watching the characters, of all different walks of life and stations, was engaging because of how they clashed.
As much as I enjoyed the ride while reading the book, there were times when it unfortunately lagged. For instances, I didn't like the recaps. Wrede had a tendency to follow a scene with Mairelon bringing attention to a whole bunch of unanswered questions. As the reader I knew what the questions were, and I didn't need things repeated and slowed down. Also, the finale, as humorous as it was at parts, was dragged out for far too long with far too many explanations that needed going over.
Update (3/2/11): I just finished the second book, The Magician's Ward, and I enjoyed it so much that it more than made up for any issues I had with the first book. It was great to see the various ways the characters changed but still stayed enough like themselves.
The Magician's Ward is a finely woven web of mysteries and characters. Every new character, whether or not they were involved with the main mystery, had an overall purpose in the story and even better they weren't two dimensional. The unlikable society women weren't all that bad (even if Letitia is a snobby, gold-digging brat) and they could have been horrible caricatures simply created to make Kim hate them and those like them.
Kim was amazing. She went through a huge transformation and yet was still recognizable as that girl who dressed as a boy and lived on the streets. I very much enjoyed the inner conflict she has wondering who exactly she is. She spent so much time pretending to be a boy for her safety and now she's pretending to be a society girl it's what is expected as Mairelon's ward. Either way, she's clearly playing at being someone else. I can't help but wonder when she's going to have the chance to find out who she really is.
The cast of characters in this book was amazing. From Mairelon's mother, who was quirky but still very much conscious of societal expectations, and Renee D'Auber, who is just as cool as she was in the last book, to the various toffs Kim has to deal with and even Mairelon's aunt. I'm always a sucker for when you spend almost the whole book thinking about a character one way and then they decide to do something awesome that makes you reevaluate them.
And allow me to say that this is how I like my romance done. Subtle. Simmering. Natural. I would like to thank Patricia Wrede for creating a romance that I believed, enjoyed reading about and actually rooted for. Too often romances are so unrealistic and I get a headache from rolling my eyes in disgust (and this is coming from a girl marrying her high school sweetheart), but here I loved every moment where I could see the characters realizing their feelings for one another.
This book was so highly entertaining. I definitely preferred The Magician's Ward to Mairelon the Magician, but overall they complimented one another beautifully....more
I wavered between a four and a five, but based on the plot and the story I went ahead and gave it five stars. I did love this book because I really enI wavered between a four and a five, but based on the plot and the story I went ahead and gave it five stars. I did love this book because I really enjoyed the characters.
The Passage is the novel version of Lost, so if you don't like large casts and chapters where you see things from everyone's point of view, you will not like this. I very much did like this... to an extent. I sort of felt like some of the characters weren't necessary to show their own point of view although maybe it will make more sense in the next book.
Where the book really faltered for me was in the way some of the action scenes were handled. For instance, Cronin gives the beginning of the action from one character and when the next chapter begins it is afterward the action is over and what the reader missed will be recapped. This was used too often I thought and I found it a little annoying to get through.
The one other thing that bothered me, but not too much because I know it's all going to be revealed sooner or later, is the way some of the characters spoke to one another in riddles. For instance, character A is watching an interaction between Character B and Character C. B and C know something but are talking about it in a vague way that only they understand and A is confused as hell. And when A demands to know what's going on, B and C may or may not actually explain anything or they might just give a cryptic answer. However, since a lot of it was later explained and revealed, this stuff never bothered me too much. It also made sense why Cronin did this, because when we are seeing things from one character's POV, he wants us to feel the same sense of disorientation and confusion.
Those issues being said, I love post-apocalyptic stories and this one was amazing. It is an absolutely epic read, spanning years and years and tying all the characters into one another's story.
After I reached the last page I felt my heart drop, because I'm genuinely concerned about the well being of some of the characters. They got through hundreds of miles of danger and just when they think they were safe, maybe they weren't after all. But you don't know.
And you have to wait until 2012 to find out, which I think might kill me....more
This book leaves me very torn. On the one hand it's epic and it's wonderful storytelling. On the other hand I kept wanting to go back to Lyra and WillThis book leaves me very torn. On the one hand it's epic and it's wonderful storytelling. On the other hand I kept wanting to go back to Lyra and Will and every time the story focused on Mrs. Coulter or Lord Asriel I was impatient to get back to Lyra and Will. Of course, I think it was also because this was a reread and I really wanted to get to the parts of the book I remembered loving so much. Although I remember I had never been a very big fan of the world of the dead part.
Also, the ending is so heartbreaking, but I suppose it's perfect because of that....more
What's so great about this novel as compared to the first is how many different storylines The Subtle Knife follows. In The Golden Compass, we mostlyWhat's so great about this novel as compared to the first is how many different storylines The Subtle Knife follows. In The Golden Compass, we mostly follow Lyra with small tangents. However, in The Subtle Knife we follow Lyra and Will separately, as well as Lee Scoresby (view spoiler)[(the way he and Hester die gets me every time I read it!) (hide spoiler)], various witches and Mary Malone. I think this was a good decision because it's in this book that the trilogy really opens up to the bigger picture and the storytelling expanded accordingly....more