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I'll be the first to admit that this book didn't seem like my usual fare. Which is funny, because I like fantasy, I like steampunk, and I like it when characters have romantic feelings for others. I think what put me off was the slightly romance novel-style cover.
However, once I got past the cover I found this to be a fast-paced fantasy steampunk character-driven action story with elements of romance. Let's break down the book down into a few pieces
Every scene advanced the plot, there wasn't a dull moment in the whole book. Descriptions were concise but not to the point of being utilitarian. When things started to settle down and the characters thought they could take it easy, the author would throw new elements into the mix. She used this technique really well, using it to introduce new characters.
The plot moves forward because of the characters. Ridge, Sardelle, and the secondary characters are proactive, each trying to accomplish their own goals. All the characters are knowledgable and capable in their own ways, even if that way is murderous. All the characters are likeable or despicable as they are meant to be.
Scenes of danger are well described and made sense. They were thrilling. On the other hand, I never really felt like anyone was truly in danger. Feelings of loss are also rare. I think that's part of the fun of the book: it's meant to be fast-paced.
As for romance, the characters are drawn to each other. It's magnetic and I appreciate how well the author pulled it off without coming across as sappy.
This is a fantasy story: the female protagonist is a sorceress of great power. Magic in this world, for all that it is instantaneous in effect, seems almost mechanical in its well-defined description. This matches the technical side of the steampunk elements of the setting. In my experience, many authors have magic systems that come with a price, and this story is no different. In this case, the price is the social stigmata of using magic; the female character is as much danger from her side as she is from the enemy.
Maybe it's the engineer in me, but I love when there are guns and steam elements in fantasy. This story has lever action rifles, propeller-driven flying machines, airships, and a whole bunch of mechanical devices. They aren't just in there for color, like magic they serve as a key part of the story.
I can think of four problems for the book:
Balanced on the Blade's Edge is a fun book and at $0.00 on Kindle Unlimited you can't beat the price. Hence why I gave it 5 stars. Get it and enjoy a nice, light read.