By Jay Kristoff.

 

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, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.
Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?

The first thing you need to know about this book is that its writing style is not for everyone. I’ve seen references to this in almost every review I’ve read, and I think it’s particularly true in the beginning of the book, or maybe it’s just less noticeable as you go on because you start getting used to it. Either way, it’s a writing style that I enjoyed.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book, and the plot did manage to surprise me on a number of occasions because I didn’t read the blurb very carefully. All I knew going into it was this: it’s about a girl and assassins.

The opening pages switched back and forth between a sex scene and a murder scene, and it pretty much sold me on the book. While I thought at times that it was trying a little bit too hard, it was nevertheless well done and set the tone for the rest of the story.

I liked Mia quite a lot. She was just the right amount of everything to me. The not-cat was suitably intriguing, as was the whole investigation into what exactly is a darkin (answer: in the next book, probably).

And then there was that character death, which took me completely by surprise. I didn’t believe it until the very end, thinking the author would come out from somewhere behind the page and shout ‘Ha, fooled you! He just fell and is indeed dying but will miraculously be saved by magicks!’ Not so. And that was not the only major death that happened in this book. I loved it, and I hope they don’t undo it in the next book.

A lot of loose ends were tied up in neat bows by the end of the book, which gave me a nice sense of closure, so I have no idea where the next one is headed. And I like that feeling. Bring it on.

 

4 hearts out of 5

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