One of my cats, Clouseau, poses with the e-book cover. He likes to consider himself an assassin of bugs. Photo by Kate Ota 2020
When I finished The Perfect Assassin by K.A. Doore, I didn’t want it to end. (Lucky for me, there’s more books in this series!) This was an excellent adult secondary world fantasy. The lead character, Amastan, finishes his assassin lessons in the desert city of Ghadid, only to discover a dead body. He needs to solve the case or risk the assassins being blamed and expelled from the city. Not a typical plot expected from the title, it was what I’d call fantasy noir.
This world also features a touch of magic, and souls of the dead left un-tended turn into wild spirits that drive people insane. There’s some water magic as well, with healing properties reminiscent of Avatar the Last Airbender. The made-up words were sprinkled throughout with plenty of context, and all added to the flavor of the setting.
Positives: Some of the best world building I’ve read in a while. A secondary world can sometimes be an uphill battle against a lot of unfamiliar terms, but this was done extremely well. Plot was interesting and kept me reading, and Amastan was a very sympathetic lead.
Negatives: None. Fight me.
Overall rating: 5/5
I’d recommend to anyone who loves fantasy, especially if they’re not looking for a major romance subplot. (There’s a romance, but it’s not at the forefront, and it’s sweet instead of hot and heavy.) If you’re writing a secondary world fantasy or another genre with lots of made-up terminology, I recommend this as a book to study. The balance of words, how they’re spread out, the way they are embedded in context, are all on point.
Not for people who are looking for typical high fantasy, because while this is another world and has a little magic, it isn’t a sorcerer-and-dragon book. However, these people might come around eventually and enjoy it too. Everyone just give it a chance.
Have you read The Perfect Assassin? Let's discuss in the comments!