While Lindsay Buroker once again enthralls me and renders the rest of my plans for the day to waste, I have to say that Forged in Blood doesn't quite live up to the promise of the rest of her books. It may be just as (or possibly more) action-packed than her other stories, but the content hasn't changed all that much. She seems to have just rehashed old situations in newer forms, with different characters. It's an endless merry-go-round of failed infiltration, explosions, escapes of the skin-of-your-teeth persuasion, and even the same monsters and enemies -- at the end of the book, it looks like we're in for yet another railway adventure. Some jokes may actually start to have grown a bit old.
Not that this dampens my enthusiasm for the series. My affection for Amaranthe and her ragtag group of rebels remains as fondly exasperated as ever. Sicarius's attempts to form a bond with Sespian were possibly my favorite part, because the man, normally so inhumanly capable and self-possessed, has absolutely no idea how to deal with his son. This relationship takes center stage, with a few sweet interludes between Amaranthe and Sicarius peppered in between.
At this point, though, I feel that Buroker should have given the evil criminal organization Forge more definition by now -- or at least a face to focus the story on. Ravido is a figurehead, Pike is dead, and although Worgavic is obviously highly placed, she doesn't actually have much to do in this book, other than appear and be suitably outraged at Amaranthe's antics. I get that Forge is meant to be shadowy and legion, but by this time there should be a bit more direction to the story than "put Sespian back on the throne and hope that killing some Forge members will let us finally get back to the inevitably entertaining Sicarius-Amaranthe nookie."
Maybe I've been spoiled -- Lindsay Buroker's given me so much to delight over. As much as it pains me to do it, this is just a three-star book for me. Fingers crossed the second half changes my mind.