Balanced on the Blade’s Edge is the first book in the Dragon Blood series by Lindsay Buroker. This is the first book of Buroker’s that I read, and i have to say it hooked me on her work – I finished reading all four books currently available in this series, and now I’m onto Rust and Relics, which I’m also really enjoying.
This book bounces back and forth in POV between the two main characters, a cynical steampunk fighter pilot captain and a sorceress who has been in stasis for quite a while. Buroker handles the romance developing between these two characters expertly, at least for my tastes. I prefer romance where the romance happens as a result of two interesting characters struggling to figure out some other priority–in this case, protecting a kind of work camp from dangers I won’t detail so as not to spoil anything–and that’s how things unfold here. They are both strong, interesting, and independent people I felt like I’d really enjoy being friends with in real life, and so it was rewarding to watch things unfold between them.
Buroker also handles the fantasy and steampunk aspects with a skilled hand–I was surprised when I learned that steampunk wasn’t her bread and butter (though I have to adit it isn’t mine either, so I may not be the best connoisseur to judge the nuances of the genre–but I dug how she handled it). There is a wonderfully interesting world created here, in other words, one where magic exists but people are generally terrified of it, even when it gives them vital advantages in major conflicts.
Overall, this is a compelling and fresh read that I thoroughly recommend to fans of fantasy, steampunk or romance subplots.