Dark Currents (The Emperor's Edge Book 2)

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It’s been three months since Amaranthe and Sicarius thwarted kidnappers and saved the emperor’s life. The problem? Nobody knows they were responsible for this good deed. Worse, they’re being blamed for the entire scheme. With enforcers and bounty hunters stalking them, and the emperor nursing a personal hatred for Sicarius, it’s going to be hard to earn exoneration....

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Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
Published: June 08, 2011
Words: 106,100
Language: English
ISBN: 9781458059642
About Lindsay Buroker

I've been writing fantasy novels and short stories since I was seven. I've been finishing them since... well, that's a more recent development.

I'm a professional blogger for my day job, and I live in the Seattle area. I have two vizslas who are as spoiled as most people's kids. Occasionally they let me leave the house to play tennis, go to the coffee shop, or take a yoga class.

My fantasy short stories are available as free ebooks around the web, and my fantasy novels are up at Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble.

Also in The Emperor's Edge

Also by This Author

Reviews

Review by: Glynis Jones on Feb. 20, 2013 : star star star
Really enjoyed it, I read this genre because I like to escape and this series of books certainly allows that!!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: calebblake on Jan. 27, 2013 : star star star
Cross-posted from Papyrus Independent Author Reviews.

Bodies found in the aqueducts and a mysterious illness taking hold of the city. Are the incidents related? Is this the mystery to solve that will exonerate a motley bunch of outlaws - and will they survive the attempt?

"Dark Currents" is the second book in the Emperor's Edge series by Lindsay Buroker. I felt that the first novel read very much the opening movie-length episode of a steampunk television series which I had affectionately nicknamed The "A-Team of Steam". Nothing has changed with the second episode. This is pretty much how I'd imagine a second episode of a TV series would play out. The story arc not much progressed, a bit more of a spotlight on one of the main characters and a convenient mystery popping up to help things get off the ground.

Amaranthe is an ex-enforcer finding herself on the other side of the law and leads the team. She continues the ever so important romantic interest with the shady assassin, Sicarius. There is quite a bit of focus on the relationship of these two during the novel, but not without turning the spotlight on the rest of the team. Episode two is our chance as readers to become more acquainted with Books. We find Books feeling like he doesn't fit in with the rest of the group and there's plenty of opportunity for us to examine his feelings, follow his love interest sub-plot and to revel in his inevitable feelings of belonging and greater self-respect by the end of the story. We also get to see him relating to the other team members. In fact, the interplay between the characters takes such a significant portion of the story that as a consequence, the plot itself didn't impress overly much. It really felt like a stand-in story making room for more getting-to-know-you.

Firstly, the mystery itself just wasn't that interesting. One might expect in a book like this that small events lead to an epic conspiracy. Not so here. The conspiracy is almost smaller than the discoveries of mutilated corpses floating around in the aqueducts under the city at the start of the story. The novel felt like a 300+ page side quest not much elevated beyond killing the rats in the inn-keeper's cellar. The action scenes were not very well executed and the author even took what I consider the easy way out by rendering characters unconscious to skip chunks of action. In particular, there is a scene at a dam in the latter half of the book in which unconsciousness seemed to be used as a device to avoid what appeared to be a rather ludicrous finale to a crisis.

While the characterisations were indeed the highlight, I also felt that all the characters including the grim and very serious Sicarius were decidedly camp. Every conversation could be considered witty banter, the barbs flying even in the middle of a crisis. While I think this would probably work quite well in television, I started to find it tiresome by the second half of the book. Perhaps every piece of dialogue doesn't need to have a joke in it. Perhaps Sicarius doesn't need to arch his eyebrow constantly like a villain in a Mel Brooks movie.

I think, for me, what worked in the first novel, didn't work in the second. The prose itself was very good, but it just wasn't enough of a counter-balance for the content. If this were television, I'd probably watch the next episode where the tom-foolery might remain charming and the lack of progress on the main storyline would be expected. However, I'm not so sure when I'll get around to reading the next book in the series. I think the series definitely has a market, but I'm beginning to think that the target audience doesn't really include me.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Stephen Flaherty on Dec. 07, 2012 : star star star
Good sequel. Deepens the characterisation of the charachters, especially Books, but some of the others too. the author says, in the afterword, that she's going to devote each book mainly to one character. This was Books'. But a lot of Amaranthe and a fair amount of Basilard is in this book also. I have to say that I did predict the major plot twists in this one, unlike the first. But it was a good read for all that. I'll be buying the third (which has Basilard as the main focus.)
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Sophia DeLuna on Aug. 03, 2012 : star star star star star
Gosh, I love these characters!
May your muse keep providing you with story ideas for them!
I'm looking forward to read the next book of the series.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Victoria Chvatal on Feb. 21, 2012 : star star star star star
A great sequel to The Emperor's Edge. I enjoyed it even more than the original. There's lots of action, some new monsters, character development, and Books gets to be the hero.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Josianne Fitzgerald on Feb. 16, 2012 : star star star star star
Really enjoyed this and all the other books featuring these characters. Am waiting impatiently for book 4.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: LisaMH on Jan. 09, 2012 : star star star star star
Can't say any more than what's already been written in other reviews, and what I said about book 1. Loved it. Look forward to book 4 (having already read the first three, the short story collection, and Encrypted, which cleverly links in with The Emperor's Edge series by introducing us to Sicarius just starting out on his "assasinly" career - to use an Amarinthism!)
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: slc333 on Dec. 17, 2011 : star star star star star
As always, Lindsy Buroker delivers a highly entertaining story with fun, interesting characters great plots and hilarious dialogue.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Jenna Elizabeth Johnson on Nov. 21, 2011 : star star star star star
Finally, the sequel to 'Emperor's Edge'! And this one is as good as, if not better, than the first. Amaranthe and her gang have stumbled upon a new dilemma facing the empire: someone is poisoning the city's water supply. Of course, Amaranthe and her team don't hesitate to take up the challenge, and naturally, mayhem and adventure ensue.
I'll not go into detail (that would spoil the story), but if you've read any of Buroker's other books, you will not be disappointed with this one. Okay, you might be disappointed that it ends and there isn't a third book ready and waiting in the wings . . .

In this installment, we get to spend a little more time with Books and get to see his perspective on being a member of this unlikely group. Maldynado is as ridiculous and charming as ever (making me laugh out loud on several occasions). Akstyr and Basilard help glue the team together with Akstyr's typical teen surliness and Basilard's calm support (though I do hope to learn more about them in future books). As for Sicarius, we finally get to learn some more of his secrets, and he even learns to tease Amaranthe, in a very Sicarius-like way of course.

All in all, another chapter in a story I can't get enough of. The character driven plot is well developed, the dialogue witty and engaging, and the action and adventure is non-stop. Eagerly awaiting what Miss Buroker has planned next; hopefully I won't have to wait too long!
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Kelly Christensen on Nov. 16, 2011 : star star star star star
I loved this book! I'm anxious to get started on the next one! My husband and I are both reading them. We love talking about the adventures of the characters. We are totally entertained!!!! Thank you for such a brilliant series!!!!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: ggrise on Aug. 07, 2011 : star star star star star
Excellent read, really enjoyed follow -on to Encrypted and the 1st Dark Current book. Can't wait for the next book in the series. Thank you Lindsay.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: ggrise on Aug. 07, 2011 : star star star star star
Excellent read, really enjoyed follow -on to Encrypted and the 1st Dark Current book. Can't wait for the next book in the series. Thank you Lindsay.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Claire Rooney on July 16, 2011 : star star star star star
In the sequel to Lindsay Buroker's excellent, The Emperor's Edge, we're presented once more with the point of view of former Imperial enforcer, Amaranthe Lokdon, and as an unexpected treat, we now have the secondary point of view of Marl "Books" Mugdildor.

I must admit, I was expecting the adorkable Sespian to feature again, but the story was so engaging that I didn't miss him overly much. At least we could see that some of his lofty laws were being implemented - and thwarted by conniving bad guys.

Although, the bad guys don't seem completely bad when we see them through Amaranthe's eyes. She has the remarkable trait of seeing good in almost anyone. It's what makes her so charming and a large reason why such antagonistic team members are able to work together without abandoning such a crazy cause.

Once again, each character wormed their way into my imagination and made me laugh and fret over their adventures. The true beauty of this series is how endearing the characters are. Each character has grown since the first novel, but we're not thumped over the head with their changes. The growth is subtle and can be seen in the little gestures just as much as the grand ones.

I'm so eager to follow the characters that I often forget about the plot, which - you'll be pleased to know - is every bit as hair-raising as the first book. I can't help but notice how much fun the author must be having writing this series. The dialogue is snappy, the description is engrossing, the conflict is palpable and, at certain moments, the challenge ahead of this crew just seems too huge to surmount (But, darn it, I am rooting for them! They are too lovable and determined for me not to).

Despite Amaranthe's plan to use good deeds to win redemption for them all (at least this was partially successful for one character, and I'm absolutely pleased that one of her plans bore fruit), I couldn't help but see doubt trying to push its way through the cracks of her certainty. She is saddened by the life that was taken from her, and I'm sure after meeting Sergeant Yara, she must realise that even if she gets a pardon, she can't wipe away everything else that has happened since she started handing around a certain assassin.

And then there is the matter of Sicarius himself. Life *would* be easier without him around. He has done some truly monstrous things in his life, and maybe, just maybe, redemption isn't possible for him. I think it's incredibly noble and maybe a little naïve of her to stick by him and try to see his "dream" through, despite the mounting cost against her own hopes for the future. While she clearly does have feelings for him, I wonder if they are as deep as she suspects. How can one really know a man like Sicarius? He is quite wise to keep a safe, professional distance from her.

The authors note mentions that she isn't quite sure if she'll couple Amaranthe and Sicarius. I'd like to state that I'm quite happy for them not to, at least, not yet. He is a bit of a emotional brick wall and she is far too open. Plus, Sicarius himself pointed out some very good reasons. Their interaction right now is hysterical to watch, and I'm not sure I'd like to lose that just yet. Maybe Mal is right, and she does need to meet other fellows. Only time will tell and I'll be watching closely for the next instalment in this addictive series.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Corie Weaver on June 19, 2011 : star star star star star
Dark Currents picks up the story of Amaranthe and the gang as they continue their quest for exoneration. As in the first book, the action is fast paced and the relations between the characters develop nicely. Buroker's gift for snappy dialogue helps keep the pages turning. I didn't put it down (other than for dinner) until the end. Can't wait until the next one!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: AKK on June 13, 2011 : star star star star star
I've read Dark Currents together with its direct prequel _The Emperor's Edge_ and a related short story collection _Ice Cracker II_ in one go this weekend. This series is a fast-paced, character-driven page-turner one shouldn't start reading with major deadlines within the next three days, because it will grab you and not let go until you drop off its (hopefully current) end.

The imaginative - and neatly anal-retentive - female (former) police officer Amaranthe and the taciturn, mono-if not no-syllabic (not-quite-former) assassin Sicarius (yes, the one from _Encrypted_, but as a grown man now!) are an irresistible composition.

The setting is a refreshing genre mix with elements of steampunk, cop story, military and fantasy rolled into one to form an utterly compelling, self-carrying world that reminds as much of 19th Century London as of 19th Century Moscow.
Language and the style of the story-telling remind me of Lois McMaster-Bujold's early Barrayar books (most notably Shards of Honor), but the dry wit & humor shown by the well-defined characters are utterly unique and not to be missed.

I hope this series continues soon (though I would love seeing _Encrypted_, playing in the same universe but 25 years before the events in Emperor's Edge, continued as well).
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

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