Book: The Emperor’s Edge

21 Feb

The fabled non-pony story review, spoken of in song and legend. Or, you know, mentioned in the last two posts since I wrote all three of these intros in a single afternoon/evening and so was pretty much thinking about the same things the whole time. On the plus side, I think my higher output is a sign that the new brain-fixing drugs might be working. Gotta think positive.

Local trivia, as in this blog. Glanced at the stats again in passing and was amused. Yesterday I got 1 person visiting from a link on onemansponyramblings and 6 people visiting from the blog post on fimfiction that has a link. So, therefor, I think this proves that fimfiction has six time the people visiting it compared to ponyramblings. If we assume that some of the pony fandom doesn’t visit fimfiction, I think we can estimate that Chris’s readership on his blog is a full ten percent of the entire pony fandom. Statistics can’t lie, right?

Decent story, but a little bland. I was bored for the majority of this book. Not enough to stop reading, but it was pretty much a constant that I wanted the next scene to happen. Not because I was on the edge of my seat in anticipation, but because the current scene was dull and I wanted it to end. Went through the book like sliding down a hill instead of eagerly climbing up one to see what was over the next cliffhanger.

The plot was inventive, the characters were creative and what little we see of the world seemed cool. The problem was that it was all swimming in too much boring prose. The story would have been incredible if it was crammed into about half as much book. The author really needs to learn the rule about making sure every paragraph and sentence does more than one thing. Several of the sentences, and whole paragraphs, in this book were simply to get from one thing to the next. You could replace whole paragraphs in this book with a single sentence.

As for worldbuilding, my personal favorite part of most stories I enjoy, this author needs more practice. Not in the building of a world. This one seemed somewhat generic, but with a few interesting bits I would like to know more about. The problem is that none of it comes through while I was reading it. I think it is supposed to be some kind of feudal steampunk military empire setting, but mostly comes out as badly written fantasy cliches. We encounter no cool steampunk tech until near the end of the book and it is treated so blandly that the steam-powered wagons and construction equipment seem perfectly modern and boring. A person who drives a car every day and goes past construction sites on a regular basis will feel dull famliarity with what should have been attention-grabbing scenes.

We get told that the empire in the book has this awesome technology that gives it advantages over the people it counquers, and yet nobody can even get excited when a piece of that technology is nearby, and the magic we encounter is just short of amazing. Not that any of the characters seems all that impressed by it either. You could have set this story in the modern world, or a committe-built generic fantasy setting. Which is my personal test for how good a story’s worldbuilding elements have been woven in. How much rewriting would it take to remove the fantasy/exotic/steampunk elements of a story. Very little rewriting in this particular case.

It’s not a bad story, but I would not recommend it. If you want entertainment you’d probably get just as much enjoyment re-reading a favorite story in your personal collection. If you want cool ideas there are plenty of better choices to find them. If there are more books in the series and they turn out to be really good, then this book is a decent start, but it was bland enough that I’m not planning to check if there are any sequels. Wasn’t a waste of time to read it, and I don’t regret spending money on it, but more potential than execution.

 The Emperor’s Edge by Lindsay Buroker


Posted by on February 21, 2014 in Books 2014, Reviews


3 responses to “Book: The Emperor’s Edge

  1. Present Perfect

    February 21, 2014 at 8:11 am

    I approve of your statistics.

  2. Chris

    February 21, 2014 at 9:41 am

    Seems I’m more loved than I know! Though, if my visitors represent 10% of the entire fandom, then my own statistics bar tells me that the entire fandom is several thousand people. I think it’s obvious what’s really going on here…

    Yes, Equestria Daily is rigging their page counter.

    Also, I’d never heard of this book, and it sounds like it’s one I needn’t seek out. One of my most common issues with novels and novel-length stories is that too many authors seem to take their large, open-ended wordcount as an invitation to forget everything they ever may have learned about word economy. While it’s true that one can be a bit more free with one’s verbiage in a novel than in a short story, that doesn’t mean one shouldn’t strive to make each word count; it sounds like that was a problem here (Plus, I have a bad attitude toward steampunk for petty reasons).

    • Griffin

      February 21, 2014 at 5:38 pm

      Well, no worries about that last thing. There is no steampunk in this one. Which is a shame, because I’m pretty sure there was supposed to be. Yeah, the author needs to go practice writing short stories for a while I think. It was just a book that came up on amazon’s recommendation list when I was grabbing a lot of cheap ebooks to put on my kindle back when I first got it and it took me this long just to get around to it.


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