Here is the blurb you can get for the book
"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 before 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."
This is actually a hard book to write a review about as I did not feel a strong connection to the characters. It does not have the same feel as the “Emperor’s Edge” which showed a very developed world. But I read it in one go! Ok it is short enough (epub of 182 pages on my ipad) that it does not represent a wild feat, still, it says something! It is a compelling story, fast paced and happening over a very short period of time, all of this making you want to know what is going to happen next. And there is Sardelle’s life on the line… oh wait, this is a romance and she is the heroine… I’m sure Ridge will find a way out of that!
What makes it a book I wanted to finish fast (at the same time I would not have pulled an all-nighter for that one) is also my main problem with it… I felt this book could (should?) have been longer! It feels rushed, the biggest part of the book happens in a few days… kind of short to fall in love to the level of betrayal… There were a lot of issues that were resolved too easily in my view… Also, three hundred years in mage stasis and she can just function in this new world fast… ok, she is helped… but I feel like it should have been more difficult, that it could have led to funny misunderstandings, ok more of those…
About the story in itself, it is more steampunk (love it), more romance (a bit less my cup of tea) than "Emperor’s Edge" and... there is a talking sword!!! when I talked about this book to my husband I told him the heroine had been in mage stasis for a long time and aimed to recover her sentient sword… his first question was “does it talk?" and when I said yes he declared he would read the book! He has not yet so I will have to wait to add his review on the book (but it might be too romancy for him).
As in “Emperor’s Edge” there are a lot of fun little quirks and facts… I will let you discover the “teenage soul sword” and her commenting on just about everything going on, or about Ridge’s dragon and also Sardelle’s reaction about what the miners are looking for! It is written lightly, even if lives are on the line. Indeed, who can feel heroic when what one has to do is go after an owl… a big magic owl… but an owl nevertheless… This is the kind of humor that I liked, and expected from the author’s other books and I was not disappointed!
So, though the book has a feel of “short and rushed”, it is a fun and fast read! Great for a plane trip or a rainy day at home with tea and cookies! If the author continues in that world I will pick up the book; after that story there is so much more to discover!