Blood Charged is the third installation in Lindsay Buroker's ongoing Dragon Blood saga of light steampunk novellas that increasingly turn into fullfleBlood Charged is the third installation in Lindsay Buroker's ongoing Dragon Blood saga of light steampunk novellas that increasingly turn into fullfledged - fullwinged? - novels. We meet again a gaggle of beloved characters from the previous two books, Balanced on the Blade's Edge and Deathmaker, as well as get introduced to three new characters(view spoiler)[, not all of which make it through to the end (hide spoiler)]. The book is fastpaced, albeit more action- than character driven this time, and combines elements of fantasy, steampunk, quest, and military scifi with a whiff of romance and Ms. Buroker's trademark brand of humor and technological quirks. It is a fast reading, entertaining book. However, also the first book in this series that clearly is part of a series, as in a lot of threads are left to continue and quite some events and characterization quirks esp. in the first half of the book have yet to be picked up and put to use. Or at least be explained somehow. (view spoiler)[I don't want to believe that Col. Thugly is that much of an unbalanced ass without a reason beyond that readers ought to dislike him soundly! (hide spoiler)] So, if you liked the previous books in this series: Go. Grab it. It'll be a nice way to spend a weekend. If you don't know the previous books: You'd like to start with them, otherwise you're going to have a lot more question marks in your head than needed to enjoy the story. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I got a free copy of this book because I reviewed some of Lindsay Buroker's books before. Quite a few of her previous works are on my "favorites" shelI got a free copy of this book because I reviewed some of Lindsay Buroker's books before. Quite a few of her previous works are on my "favorites" shelf. These facts won't alter my opinion about Balanced on the Blade's Edge. However, that Linnea Sinclair's An Accidental Goddess is also an all time favorite of mine does alter it, because - frankly - for a little more than half the book I felt as if reading the same story. Get me right, this is in no way a case of copycat or even plagiarism. Balanced on the Blade's Edge is sufficiently different from An Accidental Goddess. One is steampunk, the other is space opera. One heroine risks being burned as a witch, the other risks being worshiped. One plays in a mining prison, the other on a deprecated space station infested by parrots. But the flow of the plot, the plot evolving events, even the characters' dynamic are similar to a T, resulting in me having a hard time remembering what version belonged into which book until the plot started separating at around 70% into the ebook.
That doesn't mean Balanced on the Blade's Edge is a bad book, judged on its own it's a solid four stars, fun, entertaining, and a great way to spend a rainy weekend if you like steampunk and/or romance with a good dose of action and believable characters. :) However, if you also know (and love) Linnea Sinclair's An Accidental Goddess, you might feel more familiar and precognizant of the developing plot than you'd like. For me, I frankly like "Fix-it" Mak and Simon, the crystal ship from An Accidental Goddess better than I like Ridge and Jaxi, the juvenile sword in Balanced on the Blade's Edge. Also, if An Accidental Goddess had been Lindsay Buroker's inspiration for it, a line of acknowledgment would have been nice, so that readers knowing both books might expect the parallels....more
What a finale! I followed this series of seven since book 1 (The Emperor's Edge) and if you like action, adventure, humor, intriguing (and developing!What a finale! I followed this series of seven since book 1 (The Emperor's Edge) and if you like action, adventure, humor, intriguing (and developing!) characters in a detailed world with unique steampunk/scifi flavor, these are your books! I especially liked how the two book finale (Forged in Blood I and II) touched on most if not all the important plot-defining tropes from the previous installments (and even the short stories in between them). A fulfilling closure for a breathtaking ride of seven books with just enough sadness filled in to avoid any sticky sappiness feeling from marring the experience. I seldom use the words "perfect" for a book series, but The Emperor's Edge series deserves it. Perfect!...more
Superb as always. The Encrypted universe (not only as predecessor to the Emperor's Edge novels) is an all-time favorite. Two smart heroes, believable aSuperb as always. The Encrypted universe (not only as predecessor to the Emperor's Edge novels) is an all-time favorite. Two smart heroes, believable action, witty banter... the only qualms I have with this short story is that it makes waiting for Encrypted's sequel all the more difficult. Anyway, if you liked Encrypted, you definitely won't want to miss Enigma....more
A worthwhile finish to an exhilarating trilogy, ending the tale at a perfect point (and yet much too early). Alek and Deryn are characters I'm going tA worthwhile finish to an exhilarating trilogy, ending the tale at a perfect point (and yet much too early). Alek and Deryn are characters I'm going to miss in my daily reads... at least until rereading Leviathan, Behemoth and Goliath!...more
Perfect. The middle book of a trilogy is oftentimes weaker with an unfinished feel to it. This is not the case here, though the series is really of coPerfect. The middle book of a trilogy is oftentimes weaker with an unfinished feel to it. This is not the case here, though the series is really of connected books. Behemoth clearly keeps you glued to your reading chair for the last part of the series!...more
An unexpectedly joyful and captivating read! Given that this is a YA book, the language was expectedly easy but Mr Westerfield perfectly pulled off poAn unexpectedly joyful and captivating read! Given that this is a YA book, the language was expectedly easy but Mr Westerfield perfectly pulled off portraying the different perspectives and social backgrounds, both with the wording and the descriptions. In addition, Leviathan is overflowing with ideas ranging from walking steampunk war machines to genetically engineered jellyfish for airtransport! If you like historical science fiction and/or steampunk, this book is not to missed! I'm starting on the sequel right now!...more
Lindsay, that's not a cliffhanger, that's the K2 equivalent of a cliffhanger! I'll review this and the upcoming Forged in Blood II in one go. Luckily,Lindsay, that's not a cliffhanger, that's the K2 equivalent of a cliffhanger! I'll review this and the upcoming Forged in Blood II in one go. Luckily, it's not that far off, because... *phew* no chance to convey even a whiff of that suspense without giving away crucial details. Such a dense plot!...more
The fifth installment of Lindsay Buroker's The Emperor's Edge novel series is as fast-paced, action-filled and character driven as the previous ones.The fifth installment of Lindsay Buroker's The Emperor's Edge novel series is as fast-paced, action-filled and character driven as the previous ones. Blood and Betrayal sees a good deal of character development and a holds several crucial moments for the plot, notably a cathartic experience for the main couple and a critical step with the Imperial family conundrum (Note: Amaranthe and Sicarius-shippers do not want to miss any of this!). However, be warned that some serious dark matters, including violent interrogation, only ever hinted at in previous books are put into the spotlight in this one. Ms. Buroker certainly pulls no punch here. The aftereffects, while shown, are less prominent than I would have liked, given the severity of the experiences described before, making me wonder if they are going to spill over into book 6. Luckily, Blood and Betrayal does not end with a cliffhanger like the previous book Conspiracy, but it will certainly keep me at the edge of my seat wanting to know what comes next!...more
I bought Steam Sorcery on a whim a few weeks ago, put it on my reader, and pretty much forgot about it due to work load, family stress, and taking upI bought Steam Sorcery on a whim a few weeks ago, put it on my reader, and pretty much forgot about it due to work load, family stress, and taking up writing myself. This Friday I found myself tied down with a severe case of pollinosis and flipped through the unread content of my reader to find something to take my head off my running nose, the itchy red eyes and raw throat. To make things short: not only did Steam Sorcery drag my mind off the pollinosis with its funny characters, entertaining plot, and good-natured humor, it also had me reading more or less in one go from Friday midday to Saturday afternoon (I guess, if the book didn't end on page 211, I'd still be reading now). Yes, there are other steampunk romances with vampires and werewolves about. Some with more poignant humor, some with darker plots, but following the trope of five (!) magically gifted urchins together with her fae-descended governess turning the life of a knight of the realm upside-down was just a perfect, spellbinding feel-good read (desperately needed, too). And now I'm off to acquire book two of this series......more
Jaida Jones & Danielle Bennett's Havemercy is an entirely unique take on dragons in fantastic literature with "fantasy, dragons, war, magicians, pJaida Jones & Danielle Bennett's Havemercy is an entirely unique take on dragons in fantastic literature with "fantasy, dragons, war, magicians, political intrigue, steampunk, alternate history, Russia, China/Japan, and shonen ai" being my list of tags for it. Havemercy is a fast paced direct narrative told from four distinctly different voices based on an in-depth, complex world building full of unique elements. The book is highly complex, with even small details from the beginning playing a vital role in the outcome that make even an attentive reader like me flip occasionally back just to make sure it was really there (it is!). I can't say more about if without giving utter spoilers - hence, just be warned that the backtext just doesn't give it credit. ...more
I found it very, very difficult to write a review for this book without repeating everything I said about The Emperor's Edge series in my previous revI found it very, very difficult to write a review for this book without repeating everything I said about The Emperor's Edge series in my previous reviews. It's as fast paced, as character driven with dry wit and humor as the other installments, and - at least for me - even more gripping than the previous Dark Currents (though that might be partially due to road stories not being my preferred brand of tea and the fact that the character developments from the previous books come to -partial, mind you!- fruition here (no, I will *not* tell you, how. Read for yourself!).
Forced to also mention the downsides, I can list only two: First, the book is too short (its 110100+ words were over much too fast), and Second, it ends on a cliffhanger (no, two cliffhangers actually: there's the emperor's note and the labyrinthine developments!) that makes me itch for what comes next. I truly hope we don't have to wait too long for Emperor's Edge's continuation....more
Then why only 4 of 5 stars? It's because Assassin's Curse suffers from a typical "established series in between short story illness": the indecision of whether to include all the details necessary for freshly visiting readers or to accept that it is an in between story catering to established fans and leave out the established background where it doesn't connect to the actual plot. The result of this indecision are "info dumps" esp. in the first part of the story that are not enough for new readers to appreciate the characters (and their treats & quirks), while tempting an established fan to jump a few lines. Interestingly, the later part of the story doesn't suffer from this. Background details here (the supposed lineage of the current emperor, for example) are used skillfully as plot device and are also expanded to greater depth. Lovely so, I may add.
So much about style, but what about content? It's not even 12.000 words, read yourself! No really, I don't want to summarize a short story. It would give too much away imho. However, since only two of the five main characters star in this, I think it might be nice to have the other three say their thoughts about the events:
"Following heavily armed thieves onto a cursed island is not prudent." ~ Books.
"There's something wrong with a man, when it takes a shot to the back to make him hug a beautiful woman." ~ Maldynado.
Ice Cracker II is a small collection of short stories illuminating some details in the lives of the characters starring in Lindsay Buroker's wonderfulIce Cracker II is a small collection of short stories illuminating some details in the lives of the characters starring in Lindsay Buroker's wonderful steampunk/cop/military/fantasy series The Emperor's Edge and Dark Currents. While the stories may not be independent reads, the collection is a lovely addition to that series....more
I've read Dark Currents together with its direct prequel The Emperor's Edge and a related short story collection Ice Cracker II in one go this weekendI've read Dark Currents together with its direct prequel The Emperor's Edge and a related short story collection Ice Cracker II in one go this weekend. This series is a fast-paced, character-driven page-turner one shouldn't start reading with major deadlines within the next three days, because it will grab you and not let go until you drop off its (hopefully current) end.
The imaginative - and neatly anal-retentive - female (former) police officer Amaranthe and the taciturn, mono-if not no-syllabic (not-quite-former) assassin Sicarius (yes, the one from Encrypted, but as a grown man now!) are an irresistible composition.
The setting is a refreshing genre mix with elements of steampunk, cop story, military and fantasy rolled into one to form an utterly compelling, self-carrying world that reminds as much of 19th Century London as of 19th Century Moscow. Language and the style of the story-telling remind me of Lois McMaster-Bujold's early Barrayar books (most notably Shards of Honor), but the dry wit & humor shown by the well-defined characters are utterly unique and not to be missed.
I hope this series continues soon (though I would love seeing Encrypted, playing in the same universe but 20 years before the events in Emperor's Edge, continued as well). ...more