Another great entry for fans of The Emperor's Edge series. After leaving us on a cliff-hanger, Ms. Buroker plunges us directly into the action, with the team in danger . Told from Amaranthe's and Maldynaldo's points of view, this book is darker than earlier entries, but that's balanced against a greater sense of urgency in their mission. The team has picked up two extra members--Sergeant Yara and Emperor Sespian himself--but lost their intrepid leader Amaranthe. Faced with conflicting priorities (help the emperor or find the boss), the team splits up. This allows for some interesting character growth among the secondary characters, Yara in particular, adding depth to the story and the already colorful cast of main characters.
Mal's point of view is particularly intriguing. After seeing him as just a pretty face in earlier books, his interior monologue is surprisingly soulful and tragic as we find out more about his past, and why he was disowned. Being Mal, however, he also manages to get the team into hot water on more than one occasion, while attempting to win the trust of Emperor Sespian...often to very entertaining (and disastrous) results.
Amaranthe's side of the story uncovers many secrets from the mysterious Forge coalition. It also tests her mettle and her loyalty to Sicarius.
All in all, Blood and Betrayal is a very satisfying read. If you love steampunk, fantasy, kickass heroines or a good steamboat crash, this is a definite recommend.
(reviewed the day of purchase)