I've long been a sucker for gaslight fantasy (even before I knew what it was), and I'm similarly a sucker for wintry settings (don't know what it is, but winter nights arouse the feeling of magick more than anything for me), so Lindsay Buroker's The Emperor's Edge had a dual-edged sword against my reluctance to read a self-published author's work.
Thankfully, the over 300 four and five star reviews of this work made it quite easy to take the plunge. Here's the Amazon link:
Oh, and did I mention it's free?
There are a lot of things to enjoy in this novel. The characters are believable and interesting, the setting is spectacular with steam in the background and a nice dash of magic thrown in the mix, the story has some nice twists and turns and the characters' actions have consequences, although I was definitely expecting some latent magickal abilities to explain some of the luck of the main character Amaranthe.
At least, I think that's her name. This is one of the stumbling points for Ms. Buroker. The names are all a bit unwieldy, and a couple of the main ones (Sespian and Sicarius, I'm looking at you) are entirely too close. The best names in the book are Books and Trog.
The luck of the characters was a little distracting, especially Amaranthe and Sespian, but Amaranthe had enough skill that it was rarely Deus Ex-y.
I was very glad that the main character did not "find her femininity" or anything so trite, because it would have been rather unbelievable on her and destroy the character that had been built up. She encounters quite a lot of sexism, but this is believable in the society she inhabits (one where only recently were women allowed to join the police force and are not allowed in the military at all). I only hope that come Book 5 or 6 that we won't still be encountering male combatants that underestimate her (even if that's believable).
I very much look forward to continuing this series. By the way, another bonus is that the entire series is out now. So you don't have to wait if you jump on the wagon now.
This is by far the best free book I've ever read and I highly recommend it.
Zero's Review: 8.0/10, B-.