Book Review #11: Balanced on the Blade’s Edge by Lindsay Buroker

Hello Dear Reader!

Happy Father’s Day! I hope you all have a wonderful day with your dads and spend some awesome quality time with them. I know I’ll be doing that with mine.

Anyway, as I promised, I have another book review here for you! It’s on Book 1 of 8 of the Dragon Blood series, called Balanced on the Blade’s Edge, and boy was it an amazing read!

First, the back-cover summary (from Amazon):

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.

Summary end! Was it long? Yes, but the read is so worth it!

Balanced on the Blade’s Edge is a unique mix of modern military and fantasy magic with two very distinct, but complementary, main characters: Colonel Ridge Zirkander and Sardelle Terushan. Together, these two make the story so riveting and difficult to put down. I personally found it a bit addicting to read, and I finished it early in the morning.

I absolutely fell in love with the characters of Ridge and Sardelle. Ridge is that friendly, yet battle-hardened man who looks out for his subordinates, clearly cares about people and makes sure they’re treated family, and hates it when those in high places abuse their power. Sardelle is an intelligent young woman who is definitely the opposite of a damsel in distress. She’s a fantastic magic user, is cool-headed, and very clever.

Like I expected, there was a good bit of action in the book. There were great mentions and uses of military technology that I personally have never seen before in any book, and the magic in this story was really cool. The power of the soulblade when within the hands of the one it has bonded with is tremendous and very difficult to combat, and it just made me love Sardelle even more. What I wasn’t expecting was a romance between the two main characters. When I realized there was one, I was all for it, but I didn’t expect it to be so… steamy. There is a rather intimate scene in this book, which I didn’t think would happen, and I was very embarrassed reading it. So, if you’re not a fan of steamy intimacy, it’s not a long scene. It’s actually rather short, maybe two or three pages, and you can easily skip over it.

Unfortunately, despite the heavily implied vast world within the book series, this book takes place only in the isolated prison mine in the Ice Blades Mountains and the surrounding area. Still, the book made it seem like the prison was a huge place, and there are miles of tunnels dug into the mountain that the characters make pretty frequent visits to. So, while small, a lot of detail went into the setting.

So, Balanced on the Blade’s Edge rating:

10/10 and will definitely be reading the next book of the series! If you like a mix of modern and fantasy elements with a mxi of romance, then this book is definitely for you. I highly recommend reading it, and I hope you give it a try.  

Thanks for reading!

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