This was an interesting book. Weird devices, weird happenings, weird characters - all of which I like. But there was too much weirdness. I spent mostThis was an interesting book. Weird devices, weird happenings, weird characters - all of which I like. But there was too much weirdness. I spent most of the book feeling confused, and when the revelations finally came they were delivered in an underwhelming way. George didn't really figure anything out for himself; instead he kept ending up in situations where other characters simply told him what was happening, in long, rather dry monologues.
Added to which, the population was maybe too weird too. The characters were so busy doing Weird Things that it was impossible to connect with any of them. George himself couldn't pick up the slack, as he was too dull. There may have been interesting reasons why he was dull, but that didn't make him entertaining to read about.
In the end, while there are some really clever ideas in this book, I didn't much enjoy hearing about them.
Also, I was very disappointed in my lovely new paperback edition, which was published only last year. It's like someone picked up a handful of punctuation and scattered it randomly over the text. Full stops, exclamation marks, hyphens and capitalised letters were frequently missing from important places and appeared, at random, in the middle of sentences. There were also some issues with the wrong words used - entrails instead of entails, first instead of fist, oil (most bizarrely) instead of on - which kept interrupting my reading while I tried to figure out what it was supposed to say. How did this make it to print? Definitely the most badly presented print book I've ever read. Poor show. ...more
So. Mystery and intrigue, colourful characters, sinister science, marvellous machines and unlikely heroes. Um, and a lot of fire, shootings and death.So. Mystery and intrigue, colourful characters, sinister science, marvellous machines and unlikely heroes. Um, and a lot of fire, shootings and death. Interesting mix.
The story is nicely complex, with a lot going on across the four-day period of the plot. It requires some concentration to keep all the plot threads and characters straight, though it's worth the effort. The one thing that let the book down a little was the number of POV changes with, frequently, very short chapters. It began to feel choppy, whirling through a succession of characters' heads rather too fast. But that's a minor problem.
Reading about a matriarchal society was interesting. This point could've been irritatingly belaboured, but wasn't: it took me a while to even notice how frequently women were in positions of command. Many of the major characters are women, leaving the men slightly under represented - though Major Brute-Force Syfax has enough presence to make up for most of that all on his own. Swashbuckling Lorenzo, on the other hand, is literally a pale shadow of a man and fails at being especially interesting. That said, there's clear potential for him to develop a long way in the future and I'll be interested to read about his adventures in the next book.
This is a story full of adventure (and guns, and explosions, and bombs, and fires, and riots, and attacks, and airship crashes, and stabbings, and and and...). If you like a lot of excitement with your weird science and sinister plots, this one is a winner. ...more
This story mixes steampunk and high fantasy very skilfully. Set in a world containing both steam-operated machinery and magic, The Emperor's Edge alsoThis story mixes steampunk and high fantasy very skilfully. Set in a world containing both steam-operated machinery and magic, The Emperor's Edge also offers political machinations, a mystery and plenty of action. I'm not often a fan of seriously action-packed fiction, and the number of fights and capture-and-escape scenes here was bordering on too much for my taste. However, the whole tale is written in such a lively and entertaining style, and so liberally sprinkled with wit, that I was carried along anyway.
Being a girl who grew up on Tamora Pierce's tough, fighting heroines, I loved the character of Amaranthe Lokdon. Her blend of combat ability, quick thinking and sheer pluck makes for a formidable woman and a heroine well worth spending time with. Sicarius the assassin is also a very memorable character, and there's a colourful supporting cast to keep the humour running high. I'm looking forward to seeing how the relationships between these characters develops later in the series. Recommended for readers who like fast-paced, witty stories with plenty of heroics and almost as many laughs....more