Premise: Amaranthe, an ex-corporal in the emperor’s army, and Sicarius, an assassin outlaw, gather together a surprising band of adventurers, determined to clean up the city and regain the emperor’s favor.
About: A fun self-published adult Fantasy series. The legend reads thus: “A HIGH FANTASY NOVEL IN AN ERA OF STEAM.” It was a 2013 Goodreads Choice Awards Nominee and came highly recommended by a fellow reader of Fantasy whom I can’t thank enough. (Thanks Corryn!!!!)
What I Love: (1) I love the heroine, Amaranthe. She’s my new fave. She drew me in very quickly and (2) her adventures kept me eagerly reading along. Those two elements are what I most love about this series—the talented, self-deprecating and quirky character of Amaranthe and her knack for getting out of sticky situations. It feels similar to YA Fiction, except that there are no genre expectations forcing the author to, say, rush the protagonist into a romance. It’s very refreshing! Don’t get me wrong, romance would be a really fun bonus. But so far this series is really about the various characters gaining redemption in the eyes of their sovereign. I suspect it will evolve into a further political plot, but right now I’m content with the adventures, which are truly inventive. (3) I love the humor. My goodness do I love the humor. It’s largely character-driven: the characters, who all have drastically different personalities, are constantly poking at one another to get a reaction. There’s a great group camaraderie in the band of adventures. The appearance of this character-driven humor (which doesn’t occur until after the first few couple of chapters, when the cast of “heroes” comes together) dramatically increased my interest in the story. (4) I was shocked and pleased to discover that much of the series is available through our library system. That’s really nice because while I am excited to read the books when they come out on Kindle, I would prefer to buy them in hard copy, if I really love them.
What I Didn’t Love: (1) It could be edited more carefully. I don’t think these books were just “thrown together,” exactly, because the big stuff—character, plot, worldbuilding—all work together well enough; however, I do think details of the characterization, worldbuilding and humor could have been further sharpened. With those improvements, this series could really shine.
Overall: So far, I give the series four stars because not only did I get the first three books really cheap (the first book is free on Amazon), I’ve also really enjoyed them thus far! The adventure plots and humor are simply too fun to be missed.
I hold on to the hope that some publisher might buy the rights to the series so that Lindsay Buroker might have a chance to clean it up. It could happen. (Please, somebody, make it happen!!)
Recommendation: Kindle readers. Fantasy lovers, adult and young adult alike- I think this series would appeal to both crowds of readers.