Sunday, January 20, 2013

Review: "Flash Gold" by Lindsay Buroker

I'm a fan of Lindsay Buroker's Emperor's Edge series. I find the combination of characters, offbeat humor, and the overarching story themes a fun and enjoyable read.

So I was interested in reading her "Flash Gold" novella. Kali McAlister lives in an 1890s era Yukon style setting. Though she's only 18, she lives alone. She's a mechanical wizard, having modified her rifle to rapid-fire, constructed robotic guard dogs, and built a dogless sled that she intends to enter in an Iditarod-style dog race. Her technical wizardry hasn't gone unnoticed; the power source is unusual, and many in her village whisper of witchcraft.

She's attacked in her home shortly after receiving a guest inside, a man named Cedar who looks to accompany her during the race to provide protection in exchange for a small share of the prize money should she win. He proves himself efficient in those skills in helping to thwart the attack, and she reluctantly agrees to take him along.

The trip is fraught with peril, and Kali learns just how many people find something about her they'd like to take, whether her sled, her knowledge or her life. Cedar proves quite the mercenary... but what, exactly, is his true motivation? And what is the mysterious "flash gold" so many want to take from her... if they can find it?

While it doesn't possess the depth or spirit of the Emperor's Edge novels, Flash Gold is clearly recognizable as Buroker's: strong, chatty female lead, silent, deadly male lead; lots of creative steam-based technology; and quirky humor found in the ongoing banter.

3.75/5.00 stars.

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