The Emperor's Edge, by Lindsay Buroker
Several months ago I reviewed Buroker's "Flash Gold" and "Hunted", two short stories that were nearly free on the Kindle. They were pretty damned enjoyable anyway, and at their price point I was willing to overlook any minor weaknesses. And, as has happened so often now, a cheap (or free!) short story introduced me to another great self-published author.
The Emperor's Edge is similar to those shorts. It's not set in the same universe but it might as well be - it's another steampunky world with a little bit of magic, although this time the action is set in a city instead of on a wild frontier - and it has a capable, likeable central female character. There's grime, crime, corruption and heroism, and you almost (but not quite) believe in the setting. The action is exciting throughout, making it a good page-turner, but there are also clear boundaries between segments, so you won't be too upset at having to put it down at bedtime.
Buroker's policy for her stories, it seems, is to give the first one in each series, including this one, away for free. I've always known that books are a drug, and in doing this she is following the honourable precedent set by many a dealer. I think I'd give it four stars anyway, despite there being little depth to the story or characters, simply because it's so damned entertaining, but at the price I have absolutely no hesitation whatsoever.