Love assassins? Desert settings? Awkward first love? Terrifying sand spirits? Well, have I got the book for you!
Book: The Perfect Assassin by KA Doore
Read before: No
Ownership: Review copy sent free of charge by Tor. All opinions my own.
If you’re looking for a rollicking fantasy romp that feels fresh and unique while keeping that classic magical feel, then you need to read The Perfect Assassin! Young assassin Amastan, who isn’t entirely sure that killing is his passion, gets caught up in a murder mystery with a magical side – and if he can’t solve it, then the dead man’s spirit will terrorise his home. It’s the perfect mix between coming-of-age fantasy and action-packed thriller, with brilliant world-building and compelling characters, and I absolutely raced through it.
I loved the setting so much – it provides so many facets for the characters and worldbuilding to shine. The worldbuilding is so unlike the basic European medieval setting, and the details are fantastically well done. I found the concept of water as currency fascinating, and the way that assassins, with their mafia-esque family, fitted into society was also really interesting. Also, anyone who knows me knows I love a good rooftop chase scene or assassin training test, and this book has both in bucket loads. The City of Ghadid is built on platforms high above the desert, to protect its inhabitants from the dangerous jaani below, which are terrifying spirits seeking bodies to possess. The opening scene, which has Amastan and his fellow trainee assassins scrambling across the sands below to test their mettle, really sets the tone for the action side of this book – it’s just so much fun!
That doesn’t mean that this is in any way lacking in the quieter, more character driven side of things. I fell head over heels for our awkward hero as he navigates the murder investigation, his reluctance to kill, and a budding relationship that he is in NO way prepared for. The romance really took me by surprise as it is so sweet and well-written, and I’ve never read a fantasy book with an explicitly asexual protagonist before, so I was really excited to see that, and the romance is m/m. The scenes between Amastan and his love interest are just so realistically awkward and cute that it’s easy to really root for them (which may be a problem later on… but no spoilers!). The side characters, too, are well-drawn and fun to read, and you get the sense that they all have stuff going on that Amastan isn’t paying attention to, which is always the sign of a well-thought-out world.
Essentially, The Perfect Assassin is a huge amount of fun wrapped around a thoughtful, intricate world, and I loved it! Five out of five stars!