General Édo is a stone-cold killer, brutal and inspired in crushing the enemies of the Boorhian Army. The elite Shadows who cluster around their General boast about their number of kills, and tell stories of her power and ferocity… but she’s getting a little older, and tireder, and the Emperor’s demands finally go too far. Even her own Shadows will come after her… but Édo has some tricks up her sleeve, and a Djinni on her side.
I was a little confused by other reviews who found this funny; I didn’t get the joke, if there was one. It’s fairly brutal and there are long stretches of action sequences — beautifully choreographed, and never boring, but definitely not funny. Édo makes for an interesting character: she doesn’t really seem to regret her brutal past, or have very strong feelings about having to kill: what she’s asked to do seems more like it’s demeaning for her, or at least unfitting, because it’s unnecessary.
It’s not that she’s tired of killing per se, but it no longer seems worth it: she wants more, now, and the Empire won’t let her have it. It’s not a moral stand, exactly; in fact, it’s rife with her ego and her need to be recognised as powerful, as worth all the adulation and everything she’s been paid. She’s a strong female character, and yet profoundly flawed in a way I’m more used to seeing for male characters.
The Djinni was a fascinating bit of the story that didn’t quite work for me — the story could have functioned almost the same without the character entirely, and yet I wanted to know so much more about the Djinni.
All in all, a fast and entertaining read; if I gave half-stars, I’d bump it up higher, but I didn’t quite connect with it enough to give it a four.