Monday, 25 November 2013

Need an emperor restored to his throne? A devious plot to to overthrow him, overthrown? Historical buildings and other assorted structures of renown blown up? Scary-ass creatures of otherworldly qualities to trapped and rendered harmless? Armies amassed? Evil shadowy organizations thwarted? Massive alien spaceships infiltrated and crashed to bits?

Then look no further! The Emperor's Edge group is here to inevitably instigate mayhem, all in the name of good of course. Explosions and madcap adventures imminent.

Amaranthe and her bantering brethren of the Emperor's Edge gear up for their greatest and most important mission of all -- restoring the young but sensible emperor Sespian to power despite the ominous gathering of all his enemies and turning the world as they know it on its head.

While Lindsay Buroker once again enthralls me and lays the rest of my plans for the day to waste, I have to say that the first half of Forged in Blood doesn't quite live up to the standards the rest of her books have established. It may be just as (or possibly more) action-packed than her other stories, but the content hasn't changed all that much. She seems to have just rehashed old situations in newer forms, with different characters. It's an endless merry-go-round of failed infiltration, explosions, escapes of the skin-of-your-teeth persuasion, and even the same monsters and enemies -- at the end of the book, it looks like we're in for yet another railway adventure. Some jokes may actually start to have grown a bit old.

Not that this dampens my enthusiasm for the series. It's still an enjoyable ride, after all. My affection for Amaranthe and her ragtag group of rebels remains as fondly exasperated as ever. Sicarius's attempts to form a bond with Sespian were possibly my favorite part, because the man, normally so inhumanly capable and self-possessed, has absolutely no idea how to deal with his son. This relationship takes center stage, with a few sweet interludes between Amaranthe and Sicarius peppered in between.

At this point, though, I feel that Buroker should have given the evil criminal organization Forge more definition by now -- or at least a face to focus the story on. Ravido is a figurehead, Pike is dead, and although Worgavic is obviously highly placed, she doesn't actually have much to do in this book, other than appear and be suitably outraged at Amaranthe's antics. I get that Forge is meant to be shadowy and legion, but by this time there should be a bit more direction to the story than "put Sespian back on the throne and hope that killing some Forge members will let us finally get back to the inevitably entertaining Sicarius-Amaranthe nookie."

Maybe I've been spoiled too much -- Lindsay Buroker's given me so much to delight over. As much as it pains me to do it, this is just a three-star book for me. Fingers crossed the second half changes my mind.


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