From Goodreads: It’s been three months since former enforcer Amaranthe Lokdon and the notorious assassin 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.
When Amaranthe’s team discovers mutilated bodies in the city aqueducts and a mysterious illness incapacitates thousands of citizens, she and Sicarius see an opportunity to solve the mystery and prove their loyalty. But they’ll have to defeat vengeful shamans, man-eating predators, and deadly mechanical constructs, all while dodging imperial soldiers who would rather kill them than accept their help.
Nobody said exoneration would be easy.
The Writer's View:
This is the second installment in the Emperor's Edge series by Lindsay Buroker. Lindsay is a talented indie author, and I love her stories. This book was no exception. It's a non-stop adventurous romp with a lovable cast of characters in a nifty steampunk setting. You can check out my review of the first book in the series, The Emperor's Edge, here.
Breadcrumbs vs. Cliffs
It's pretty common nowadays for writers to end a novel at a cliffhanger. I actually don't mind cliffhangers, but Lindsay took a unique segue approach into her next novel, which I thought I'd discuss.
This novel is complete within itself -- it has a beginning, middle, and end. No cliffhangers. What's neat is that throughout the novel, Lindsay sprinkles breadcrumbs that leave you wanting more -- an ultimately make you want to pick up the next book. These breadcrumbs are small, unresolved plot threads that carry over into the next novel.
Here are a few examples (without getting too spoilery): unresolved romantic tension between two main characters; an ultimate goal that's not achieved by the main characters; unresolved heinous acts committed by a mysterious Big Bad; etc.
All these little breadcrumbs make a nice segue into the next novel. I really like this approach. I can appreciate a novel that is complete within itself, and I can also appreciate a story that subtly leaves me wanting more, rather than forcing me to want more be leaving me with an unresolved ending, which is what a cliffhanger does. (Again, not knocking cliffhangers -- they're definitely effective in their own way.)
For those of you who haven't read any of Lindsay Buroker's books, I highly recommend them!