Remember when I was writing, just yesterday, how a lot of fantasy had started to blur together? How I'd read some perfectly competent works that just didn't have their own unique voice - there wasn't anything wrong with them, per se, there just wasn't enough right? This was one of the books I was thinking of.
It's fine, for the most part. The story is fine. The characters are fine. It's just not a whole lot more, and at this point, I want more, I want inventive, or at least a distinctive authorial voice. So, while I may be critical of this book, keep in mind that it's fine. It's just much of a muchness, at the moment.
And there are some embarrassing copyediting mistakes - the kind of things that spellcheck wouldn't catch, but which caught my eye in a book that was otherwise quite readable. Gentile for gentle - not really the same thing! You also don't pay someone a complement.
In this story, Amaranthe is one of the first female Enforcers (read: police) in a vaguely fantasy, vaguely steampunk world - the lack of distinctness in this was one of my problems. It would seem very stereotypical fantasy, then there would be a mention of steam shovels. If you want to make it steampunky or more modern, you have to actually do that.
As the first female Enforcer, Amaranthe obviously faces discrimination and is passed over for promotions. She is a good officer, and a neat freak, cleaning everything, all the time. Not sure why, but fine. She does catch the eye and heart of the Emperor on their very brief meeting, which is a problem since the Emperor is being drugged by the former Regent, who doesn't want any meddlesome controlling young woman with delusions of grandeur horning in on his turf.
So, she ends up a fugitive, and manages to hire/bribe/appeal to the better nature of a rag-tag group, including an assassin, a nobleman/male model (not kidding), a street gang member, and...what was Books? Whatever. Wait, did I mention that Amaranthe also went to business school? At any rate, they team up to
save the Emperor from attempts on his life.
This book is mildly amusing, but I was never eager to get back to it, and once I was done, it quickly started to fade from my mind. I might read another in the series - it didn't actively irritate me, although there were some fairly odd features, but we'll see. I won't be seeking them out.
Crossposted to Smorgasbook