In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.
Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.
Now, a sixteen year old Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic — the Red Church. Treachery and trials await her with the Church’s halls, and to fail is to die. But if she survives to initiation, Mia will be inducted among the chosen of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the only thing she desires.
This is one of my favourite books of the year. I was so hooked on this story that I found it almost impossible to stop reading. It was inventive, interesting, and a very creative story. I’ve never read anything quite like this. I’m not really sure whether this book is marketed as an adult or young adult fantasy novel, but there’s a lot of explicit sex and a lot of graphic violence. Honestly, it’s been a really long time since I’ve read such an explicit and graphic novel, but I loved every moment of it.
Mia Corvere is one of those main characters you wish you knew in real life. She’s so clever and interesting, and such a badass, but she has her flaws. Even though her main desire is revenge for her family and even though she’s willing to do anything to achieve her goals, there’s still a part of her that wants to retain her humanity. This internal conflict makes her such a sympathetic main character. She’s not golden-hearted, and she can be quite brutal and uncompromising at times, but due to her ability to remain true to her beliefs, she’s complex and dynamic. Personally, I find characters like Mia the most interesting to read about. She’s both tough and vulnerable, and it’s the juxtaposition of this young orphan girl among the most dangerous killers in the world that drives this book. Even though Mia can fit in among the assassins really easily, she’s not fully like them. I think it’ll be extremely exciting to see how her character grows and which side of her wins in the two remaining books in this trilogy.
Another great aspect of this book are the relationships. There are so many relationships Mia developed that I thought were written so well. Her romantic relationship was really complex and multilayered. Mia also had a paternal relationship which was strangely out of place for a book about lone wolf assassins, but really worked well. It was riveting to watch Mia struggle with becoming friends with her fellow assassins in training while competing against them. I also loved the depiction of all the secondary characters in this book. They were all so intriguing and I wanted to know more about each of them. Even when there were characters you were supposed to hate, I still wanted more of them.
The actual plot of the novel starts off slowly with a lot of world-building and detailed descriptions, but once the story starts, it’s fast paced and completely engrossing. There were so many things I didn’t see coming, which is really rare for me.
The one problem I had with this book (that many other reviewers have also mentioned) was the writing style. It was really hard to adjust to the overwrought metaphors and purple prose. There were times I actually cringed while reading some of the ridiculous metaphors. I also didn’t like the use of the footnotes to add history about the world, even if some of the footnotes made me laugh out loud. I just thought they were out of place for this sort of novel.
Overall, this book was my fourth 5 star read of the year. It’s so richly imagined with such great character development, and such a compelling plot and main character. If you’re a fan of fantasy novels with strong, resilient main characters, I highly recommend this book.
I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This has not affected my review in any way.