Title: Blood of Assassins
Author: R.J. Barker
Series Name: The Wounded Kingdom
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Publication Date: Feb 15th, 2018
Pages: 434 (Paperback)
Publishers: Hachette Australia/Orbit
The king is dead, long live the king…
The assassin Girton Club-foot and his master have returned to Maniyadoc in hope of finding sanctuary, but death, as always, dogs Girton’s heels.
The place he knew no longer exists. War rages across Maniyadoc, with three kings claiming the same crown – and one of them is Girton’s old friend Rufra. Girton finds himself hurrying to uncover a plot to murder Rufra on what should be the day of the king’s greatest victory. But while Girton deals with threats inside and outside Rufra’s war encampment, he can’t help wondering if his greatest enemy hides beneath his own skin.
Blood of Assassins is the epic sequel to RJ Barker’s debut Age of Assassins, set in a world ravaged by magic, featuring a cast of assassins, knights, ambitious noblemen, and fools.
You can find my review of Book 1 in this series, Age of Assassins HERE.
I feel the same about this cover as I did with the first. It appears simple from a distance. Just a red cover with a slash and a person standing in it. But then you look closer and there is heaps more detailed than you realised.
So, my main complaint from book 1 was that the world building was lacking and that still stands in this book. There are words that are used with no explanation (Hedging, Thankful, Yellowers, Blessed, Nonmen and a few more I can’t think of). I understand that they are different types/classes of people but I don’t get how they are determined, what they mean or what the difference is.
Book 1 had chapters that were just Girton’s dreams and they were really well done. Most of the dreams were things that happened in his past and it was an awesome way to get some background on both him and Merela. The same thing was used a couple times in this book, but they were horrible. I couldn’t understand what was going on in these dreams at all. Everything was disjointed, repetitive and utterly confusing. They also didn’t seem to have a point. In the first book, it was history, so it was giving us background but these didn’t seem to try and show the reader anything in particular.
Besides the lack of world building and those weird dream chapters, I did enjoy the book. It flowed well and was extremely engaging. I had trouble putting it down, especially in the last two days when I was near the end of the story.
Again this book is kind of a mystery, but this one has a bit more action and other events mixed in compared to book 1. I enjoyed the action and as I said this book was gripping and hard to put down. This one also has a lot more twists and turns than book 1 and I was not expecting most of them (except that plot twist with Aydor at the end, I totally guessed that!).
Girton, is a little annoying honestly. He is stubborn but not necessarily in a good way. He also jumps to conclusions really quickly and doesn’t always think about his actions before he does something. I also don’t feel like he has grown up, even though this book is set 5 years after the first.
I honestly don’t even see him as an assassin. Assassins need to be quick, calculating and cunning. Girton isn’t really any of these things. As I said he jumps into things without thinking all the time, which I feel like is the opposite of what he should be doing. Mesela is a good portrayal of what I feel like an assassin should be. She is cunning, intelligent, patient and waits for the right moment and never goes into something without having a reason. Girton is the opposite basically. So if you are looking for a book with an awesome assassin that does assassin like things, this is not the one for you. This is a book about war, not assassins.
The other characters in this book have changed a fair bit. Rufra, Aydor & Thomas all make appearances in this book. Thoms was my least favourite character, not because he is meant to be a kind of villain character but because he was kinda pathetic. He never even spoke for himself. He just sat there while Neander told others what he would be doing. It was really strange considering how dominant he acted in book 1. Rufra was a little more real. He was struggling with being a friend, being a king and the loss that he suffered between Age of Assassins & Blood of Assassins. You saw the struggle with basically every encounter he had with Girton.
Overall I really enjoyed this book. There were a couple things that could use some improvement, like the world building and some of the characters. But I still had heaps of fun reading this book and it was extremely gripping! I really hope some things are explained a bit more in book 3, but by this point, it’s probably not likely. Either way, I can’t wait for book 3, King of Assassins and luckischeduledchedualed to release in August according to Goodreads, so I don’t have long to wait!
I was provided with an eGalley of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you very much to Hachette Australia/Orbit & NetGalley for this opportunity.
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