Blood of Assassins by RJ Barker
I received an advanced review copy of Blood of Assassins in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank RJ Barker and Orbit Books.
*May include minor spoilers*
The second novel in The Wounded Kingdom trilogy picks up the action five years after the climactic events of Age of Assassins. The assassin Girton Club-Foot and his master have been operating as mercenaries since they left Maniyadoc. They've travelled throughout the majority of the Tired Lands following violence and battles, putting their skills in dealing death to use and getting paid for completing vicious and bloody set objectives. On the road and after a confrontation his master gets poisoned and Girton races to return to Maiyadoc, which is ruled by his old friend Rufra; seeking aid and hoping to find sanctuary. Times have changed, as have the people Girton trained with half a decade earlier. Three of them all believe they are the rightful King and are now competing for the throne. Girton’s focus now is on being at his friend's side and finding a cure for his master's ailment.
As mentioned, times have changed. Once again presented in the first person perspective, Girton is not the same character he was when Age of Assassins concluded. Beforehand for him, the killing was an art, a poem, a song, a ballet, now it is just a necessity in this ever-decaying world. He replaced his blades with an almighty war hammer and is not always the rational thinker the way he was. His master has to tone down his destructive nature and as someone who has magic within him, he could wield catastrophic city-annihilating power. When his master is ill he sometimes loses his focus and has a creeping voice in his head offering him all the possibilities he could wish for. It's like Girton is suffering from a sort of magic influenced psychosis or schizophrenia yet still remains intelligent, fiercely loyal and an assassin at heart. Blood of Assassins features a variety of unfamiliar characters, new religions, and unvisited settings. I'd say half of the ensemble we are familiar with name-wise, however; not always with who they have become. My favourites to be reintroduced were Nywulf, the former sword trainer and now war commander, Boros, once pretty boy warrior and now a scarred veteran out for revenge, and Rufra, an overthinking but loved King who can't see the threats and dangers within his camp and the surrounding world.
As well as aiming to heal his master and aid Rufra if he can, Girton is tasked with finding a spy. It is in this area of his focus that the amazing mystery and espionage element that wowed me in the first book is reintroduced. Age of Assassins blew me away with its mix of sleuthing and fantasy that seemed completely original to me, making the story one of my favourites from last year. In great fashion Blood of Assassins is more of the same and the writing is just as beautiful and poetic in manner. Similar to my thoughts regarding the prior book, I don't think anything written here is coincidental and Barker maps his work out expertly in this puzzling narrative throwing up twists, shocks, betrayals, and surprises where we have to reanalyse where certain characters loyalties may lie. Some of the set-pieces featuring battles and sieges are true standout moments. The world presented here is truly decaying and that is reflected in just how dark some of the scenes in this story are. I didn't care too much for a few of the brief interlude dream sequences but that is the only negative I have. That isn't to say they won't be engrossing to others. In my opinion, Barker's work is superbly unpredictable and engaging and Blood of Assassins is just as enjoyable and addictive as the first. If anything it's a better standalone written in a style that has led me to devour both his books within a handful of days. If you haven't already - do yourself a favour and start this series. Girton is a brilliant character and luckily King of Assassins is only a few months away from release.
This Blood of Assassins book review was written by James Tivendale
All reviews for: The Wounded Kingdom
Age of Assassins
The Wounded Kingdom #1
Girton Club-Foot, apprentice to the land's best assassin, still has much to learn about the art of taking lives. But their latest mission tasks him and his master with ...
Blood of Assassins
The Wounded Kingdom #2
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 Gir...
King of Assassins
The Wounded Kingdom #3
THE KING IS DEAD, LONG LIVE THE KING . . .Many years of peace have passed in Maniyadoc, years of relative calm for the assassin Girton Club-Foot. Even the Forge...
Have you read Blood of Assassins?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Blood of Assassins reader reviews
8.5/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
Book of the Ancestor
At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth....
When a scrawny, unwanted child - so lowly that she does not even have a name - is sold into slavery, a chain of events is set in motion that will have a profound impact on ...
The Legend of Eli Monpress
With the pressure on after his success in Gaol, Eli Monpress, professional thief and degenerate, decides it's time to lie low for a bit. Taking up residence in a tiny s...
The Gutter Prayer
A group of three young thieves are pulled into a centuries old magical war between ancient beings, mages, and humanity in this wildly original debut epic fantasy....
Matthew Woodring Stover
Renowned throughout the land of Ankhana as the Blade of Tyshalle, Caine has killed his share of monarchs and commoners, villains and heroes. He is relentless, unstoppable, ...
To find the Sword, unearth the Barrow. To unearth the Barrow, follow the Map. When a small crew of scoundrels, would-be heroes, deviants, and ruffians discover a map that t...
Where Loyalties Lie
Rob J Hayes
Everybody knows Captain Drake Morass is only out for himself. As the fires of a dying city burn on a distant shore, Drake sees an opportunity to unite the other pirate Capt...
A Dance of Cloaks
The Underworld rules the city of Veldaren. Thieves, smugglers, assassins... they fear only one man. Thren Felhorn is the greatest assassin of his time. All the thieves'...
George RR Martin
A collection of twenty-one original stories by a list of contributors including a new A Game of Thrones story by George R. R. Martin. Follow along with the likes of Gillian...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages: