This was such a great quick fantasy read. As far as plots go it wasn't mindblowing, but if you put the characters, the pacing, the dialogue and the plot all together you get one very enjoyable fantasy read.
Like any other fantasy book out there The Emperor's Edge revolves around a plot to take control of the empire from the current emperor. In this case our MCs are trying to keep the current emperor in power instead of overthrowing the whole empire. As far as plans go to keep the emperor in power it was neither terribly silly nor a mastermind like plan. It was a plan thought of in the spur of the moment and brought to fruition thanks to Amaranthe's brilliant 'suggestions' and that's the real selling point of this book. Amaranthe and all it's characters.
Amaranthe starts out as an enforcer and because the circumstances thrown at her she is forced to change career paths. I loved seeing Amaranthe at work. This girl can talk Satan into buying fire in hell. She is so good at pinpointing people's weaknesses and then exploiting them and they don't even notice that she is manipulating them, and even when they do half the time they end up doing what she wants anyway, because she is just that good at 'persuading' them. But Amaranthe isn't a special snowflake, she is just a smart, clever girl doing what she thinks is right and obsessively cleaning while she is doing it. She gets caught multiple times, she trips, and she tends to trust too easily. She felt real to me. Her whole team of misfits does.
"Guess I'm like a persistent toenail fungus, huh?"
"Hm." Sicarius sat up on the cot and dropped his feet to the floor. His face betrayed no pain, but stiffness marked his movements. "A stray cat perhaps."
"Adorable, loyal, and lovable?"
"Nosey, curious, and independent." His eyes crinkled. "Not something you plan to bring home."
This team is made up of a recovering alcoholic, and a former gigolo, a surly, young, untrained wizard ex-gang member and an assassin. They were great together. They each have a specific set of skills that are put to good use and their interactions between each other drew a few chuckles out of me.
Maldynado started to reach up to remove it but paused. He wriggled his eyebrows at Amaranthe, "Does it look good on me?"
"You look like an illiterate buffoon," Books said.
"But does it look good?"
I would have liked if this world had been explained some more, but I think it did a good enough job to set it up as the first book in a series. Even though we get told all the main pieces like the three main players (country wise), some of their distinguishing political systems, some background on wars and how things have changed over the years because of these wars. I would have appreciated more details, specially about the mental sciences and how things were before Sespian became emperor, but I guess we'll get told more as the series progresses, or at least I hope so.
So while the plot isn't amazing, the overall book is great combination of realistic characters, fast pacing, underhanded plotting, humor, action, intrigue and betrayal.