I’m a fan of science fiction and fantasy stories that are actually romances in disguise. Put a normal romance novel in front of me, and my eyes glaze over. Add magic, airships, and magic swords, and you’ve got a reader. And this is what Lindsay Buroker has done with Balanced on the Blade’s Edge, her first installment of the Dragon Blood series. Consequently, I’m now hooked.
This steampunk adventure romance checks pretty much all of my boxes. We have a fun, secondary world that Buroker unpacks slowly rather than dumping a lot of explanations upfront. While the romance is the core of the plot, there is a lot of magic and action paired with it. At times I’m reminded of Firefly or Thor: Ragnarok as Buroker’s playfully snarky humor is also on full display in this novel.
The characters are successes as well. Colonel Zirkander is one of the world’s best airship pilots, but has been assigned to a prison camp as a slap on the wrist for his behavior. There, he meets Sardelle—a mage who has recently awakened in a secret cavern below the mountain where the prison camp is situated. Unfortunately for Sardelle, mages have been extinct for over three hundred years, and the accusation of being one can land you on the chopping block.
If you’re like me and want your romance dipped in SFF action/adventure, or if you’re looking for your next steampunk adventure, this is a good place to get your next fix.