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on 30 May 2017
Liked it. Pleasantly surprised. Very easy to get into and the world was believable albeit limited. My biggest surprise is that I found it funny. So often, books are labelled as funny but don't actually pull it off but I found myself snorting out loud on several occasions throughout the book. So why 4 not 5 stars? There's a bit of an emotional vacuum in parts. Truly horrific things happen throughout the story yet these are treated very lightly by all of the characters. It makes it harder for me to invest in these characters as they don't "feel" all that real or genuine. I don't particularly look for angst in these type of books but some of the horror that they experience surely should be reflected in their behaviours or actions? That said, I'm off to get the 2nd in this series so this negative wasn't enough to deter me.
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on 20 June 2017
I have to admit, I found it hard to get hooked into this - but it's very definitely me! The writing is good, and the tensions and interactions between the characters are very nicely done. The world's got nothing particularly unique, but this doesn't really matter, as the fairly simple set-up allows for more detail of the political tensions and intricacies of the plots. It's got a relatively quick pace, and I think if I'd been more invested in the characters then I would have enjoyed the pace...but eh, it's just me. So if you like fantasy intrigues, assassins and plots, politics and puzzles...give it a try.
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on 12 March 2016
This adrenaline fuelled adventure pulls you into it's amazing world that you'll never want to leave!

This book has something for everyone, and I for one enjoyed everything about it.

The storyline hooks you in from the very start, but more importantly keeps you in it's clutches with every turn of the page. There are plot twists hidden in many places with a good space between each one so you don't feel the book has been rushed.

The characters have been excellently written, each one leaving their mark in the story. They blend with each other well too. Many interactions were funny even in moments of imminent danger

When I reached the end and realised there were more books in the series I was ecstatic, I'm so happy and excited to read more of Amaranthe, Sicarius and their amazing crew!
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VINE VOICEon 25 November 2013
Fantasy heroines tend to be either whiny ingenues, or improbably competent badasses. Amaranthe is neither - she is simply a competent, motivated enforcer (cop). It is true that one of the male leads is almost superhumanly good-looking and competent - but that is because we see him through Amaranthe's eyes and she, as many people keep pointing out to her, is wearing rose-coloured spectacles. (Others see him rather differently.)

The setting avoids the common fantasy cliches too: women are neither dominant or oppressed. It is true that female members of the martial trades tend to attract a certain amount of derision for entering a traditionally male domain, but that is because trade is the more normal female career path.

And it was nice to read a steampunk novel where the protagonist is not cynical and jaded. Amaranthe is an idealist, but pragmatic when she needs to be, and the tension between her approach and the more ruthless option espoused by her colleagues provides one of the most interesting themes in the plot.

I admit, I gave this a go because it was free - steampunk is not a setting I am particularly fond of. And yes, this is the first of a series, so the pricing was probably designed to draw the reader in. Well, it worked in my case. Often in this situation, you can end up feeling short-changed, as what you get is either incomplete, or ends on a cliff-hanger designed to force you to buy the next instalment. But that is not the case here - this is a satisfying complete story in its own right. Yes, the ending makes it clear that these guys are heading for further adventures, but the story has reached a natural conclusion, and the reader can follow on or not, as they choose.

I'll be buying the next instalment, not because I have been railroaded into it, but because I LIKE these guys!
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on 10 June 2014
Lots of other favourable reviews here so I doubt anyone will notice this one. But in case you do, I found this an entertaining light read. The heroine, a principled law enforcer on the run, was refreshingly no-nonsense and resourceful, and her unlikely gang composed of an uber-assassin, a fop, a wannabe magician and a washed up academic made an entertaining ensemble as they set about liberating the emperor from his regent. It really got going about 1/3 of the way into the book and I was hooked.

I enjoyed Buroker's style, which I found pleasingly uncomplicated and peppered with sharp dialogue. If I stop to think about it, I suppose I have to agree that the story could have benefitted from a bit more milieu and is unlikely in the same way that every A-Team plot is unlikely. However, I reckon it's best to park the analytical cynicism, sit back and enjoy the ride.
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on 5 September 2017
Not for me this one - the author lays it on with a trowel, a bit too much Tell and not enough Show (authorship 101) I quite enjoyed the Dragon Blood series, although it's a bit trite, but this one is unsubtle: if it was a film I would say it was overacted. My suspended disbelief became unsuspended. Deleted from my Kindle.
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on 16 June 2013
Wow! This book is amazing if you enjoy fantasy stories.

It is so addictive with its whodunit/who's-in-on-it plot.

The band of men she gets together might be a bit of an odd bunch but they're all likeable in one way or another.

This is the second book I've read by Lindsay Buroker and I think its fair to say she's well on her way to being another favourite author :D

I've already bought the second in the series and cant wait to read it!
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on 2 June 2017
Brilliant stuff. The interplay between the characters and the lead's outside the box approach to problems are what lift this above the normal action/adventure story.
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on 21 June 2017
A wonderful read - a super storyline with a terrific plot and great characters. Written with great assurance and aplomb. Highly recommended.
*** 5 ***
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on 31 May 2016
I love this book and have reread it (and the whole series a number of times). Thoroughly enjoy the way the characters develop over time and their interactions with each other. Would recommend the series.
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