Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Balanced On A Blade's Edge, by Lindsay Buroker - Book Review

Balanced On A Blade’s Edge, by Lindsay Buroker
Published:  March 30, 2014 on Smashwords, and Amazon Digital Services, Inc.,
Pages:   226 kindle
Genre:  Adventure, Magical, Steampunk
Source:  Author Free Day on Amazon Kindle

Colonel Ridge Zirkander isn't the model of military professionalism - he has a tendency to say exactly what’s on his mind and his record has enough demerits to wallpaper the hull of an airship - but as the best fighter pilot in the Iskandian army, he’s used to a little leniency from his superiors. Until he punches the wrong diplomat in the nose and finds himself issued new orders: take command of a remote prison mine in the inhospitable Ice Blades Mountains. Ridge has never been in charge of anything larger than a flier squadron — what’s he supposed to do with a frozen fortress full of murderers and rapists? Not to mention the strange woman who shows up right as he arrives...

Sardelle Terushan wakes from three hundred years in a mage stasis shelter, only to realize that she is the last of the Referatu, the sorcerers who once helped protect Iskandia from conquerors. Their subterranean mountain community was blown up in a treacherous sneak attack by soldiers who feared their power. Everyone Sardelle ever knew is dead, and the sentient soulblade she has been bonded to since her youth is buried in the core of the mountain. Further, what remains of her home has been infested by bloodthirsty miners commanded by the descendants of the very soldiers who destroyed her people.

Sardelle needs help to reach her soulblade — her only link to her past and her last friend in the world. Her only hope is to pretend she’s one of the prisoners while trying to gain the commander’s trust. But lying isn't her specialty, especially when the world has changed so much in the intervening centuries, and if Colonel Zirkander figures out who she truly is, he’ll be duty-bound to sentence her to the only acceptable punishment for sorcerers: death.
I really enjoyed reading Balanced On A Blade’s Edge as it has the right mix of adventure, sweet romance, and other-worldly elements that work for me. Lindsay Buroker’s writing style is direct, with steady pacing that moves, and she develops the romance gradually. Overall, I found this to be more of an adventure novel with magical, steampunk, and romance elements.

Colonel Ridge Zirkander isn’t thrilled about being sent to the remote Magroth crystal mines as new commander of the fortress for a year as a reprimand for assaulting a diplomat. After all, he’s a celebrated flier. Magroth prisoners are used to mine for special crystals that enable the airships of their world to fly at a bleak outpost location. I love that the Colonel isn’t a stickler for behavioural or other protocol. And he’s a bit of a quirky, funny character who cleans his own office, speaks with the prisoners, and even talks to himself.

Sardelle is one of the ancient Referatu sorcerers that settled the Magroth area over 300 years ago. Buried in an explosion long ago, she has miraculously survived and now is released due to mining activities that open the cave she’s trapped in. She’s smart and book-read, and I really like how stealthy she is about getting around on a prison base using her magical talents.

In this new world, magic and sorcerers are feared. The Colonel begins to suspect that Sardelle isn’t a regular prisoner but doesn’t know her true nature. He might not fall for her if he did. Things ratchet up when the fortress comes under magical airship attack, and the miserable General Nax shows up.

I found this a very satisfying read all around that I would heartily recommend to all adventure, steampunk/romance enthusiasts. You won’t be disappointed.

 My thanks to Ms. Buroker for a free day on Amazon, though it’s taken me a while to get through backlog. I look forward to reading more of Lindsay Buroker’s books in future.  4.5 Stars!

You will find her on the internet at the links below:

Happy New Year 2016 Readers! This will be my last review for 2015 but I’m already lining up new reads for the new year and hope you will join me again.

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