Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Emperor's Edge - YA Fantasy

The Emperor's Edge (The Emperor's Edge #1)The Emperor's Edge by Lindsay Buroker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

For the avid YA reader (and probably girls in particular) this is a highly satisfying read. It's always great to find a YA novel that has a strong female lead character who is intelligent and ambitious but still has personality. Plus her OCD just makes her better. Even the secondary characters she (Amaranthe) pulls into her group throughout the tale are equally charming in their different ways. Maldynado and 'Books' were probably my favorites. In fact I'd say the whole novel is full of appealing characters and despicable villains -which of course just makes the villains appealing as well (Sicarius of course being both).

The fantasy setting also has its charm - a steam powered empire that foolishly denies the existence of magic. I would have enjoyed a smattering more detail in the surroundings - but leaving it to my imagination turned out to be just as good.

Here's the book synopsis from Goodreads:

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 loved that the ebook was free - it's a great strategy for the rest of the series. I immediately bought the second. It's going on my favorites shelf.

View all my reviews

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Moon Dwellers

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Here's the story synopsis from Goodreads:

In a desperate attempt to escape destruction decades earlier, humankind was forced underground, into the depths of the earth, creating a new society called the Tri-Realms. After her parents and sister are abducted by the Enforcers, seventeen-year-old Adele, a member of the middle-class moon dwellers, is unjustly sentenced to life in prison for her parents' crimes of treason.Against all odds, Adele must escape from the Pen and find her family, while being hunted by a deranged, killing machine named Rivet, who works for the President. She is helped by two other inmates, Tawni and Cole, each of whom have dark secrets that are better left undiscovered. Other than her friends, the only thing she has going for her is a wicked roundhouse kick and two fists that have been well-trained for combat by her father.

At the other end of the social spectrum is Tristan, the son of the President and a sun dweller. His mother is gone. He hates his father. Backed by only his servant and best friend, Roc, he leaves his lavish lifestyle in the Sun Realm, seeking to make something good out of his troubled life.

When a war breaks out within the Tri-Realms, Tristan is thrust into the middle of a conflict that seems to mysteriously follow Adele as she seeks to find her family and uncover her parents true past.

This is one of those YA reads I didn't really know how to rate. There were parts that were fully deserving of five stars, but at the same time (for me anyway), there were parts that pulled it back. I loved the whole idea and the setting - the author has done a splendid job of creating an underground world complete with an evil oppressive government and imagination teasing labels (the Sun Realm, the Moon Realm and the Star Realm). It made for a fantastically dystopian world, perfect for a budding/struggling revolution and challenge-laden characters. Plus, the adventure the characters were thrown into was page turner enough to keep me interested (although it was slower to progress than I expected). Even the action sequences were great, very well described (although maybe fewer roundhouse kicks would be better). So for many YAers I can see this being five stars. However, for me there was one thing I couldn't quite get past, and that was how the story swung between Adele's and Tristan's viewpoints. Although it works sometimes, I found that the overall result was to slow the story down by going over a scene from a different perspective (and sometimes providing too much character thinking time).

Again, just because the writing perspective didn't work for me doesn't mean it won't work for others. The story had all those other things that make it appealing: danger, star-crossed lovers (although they don't know it yet), heroic good looking young people and evil bad guys. So I have to say, it's well worth a try.