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.
This book combines fantasy, steampunk, adventure, thriller, comedy and drama, together with light hints of romance. At first I was a bit wary of this book; I could see certain ''surprises'' and twists coming, but one or two pages later our heroine sees them too, so I don''t have to watch her stumble in the dark. The romance here is like it used to be in the TV show NCIS; it is limited to the odd hint of it between the characters here and there, but it isn''t the main focus of the plot. Just how I like my non-romance books - it doesn''t overpower the plot, it is like a garnish that tops everything off.
Amaranthe is a woman struggling to get ahead in a mans world, but the author doesn''t feel the need to make her tell us that every other page; she trusts that the readers can see it for ourselves through the way some of the characters act, or the things they say. The author also resists making Amaranthe all "I''ll do this all by myself and prove you all wrong", to the point of shooting herself in the foot. She actually makes for a very likable heroine. She isn''t a coward, but she doesn''t wander around putting herself in a endless loop of dangerous situations and she knows when to back the hell away. She isn''t anyone''s doormat, but she realizes that sometimes she''ll be better off keeping silent. In other words she doesn''t irritate me by being a dumb, horror movie-like bimbo, whilst still having vulnerabilities to go with her backbone.
I really like that the author doesn''t try to romantasise Sicarius, unlike so many other fantasy books these days. He is who he is and does what he does, and doesn''t apologize for it or justify himself to anyone. In other words he is what I picture a assassin to be.
I enjoyed the heck out of The Emperor''s Edge - to the point of sitting up in bed into the small hours, as ''just one more chapter'' lead to me reading half a dozen more. Then as soon as I finished the book, I went to my Kindle Store to buy the whole series - short stories and all.