The Guild of Assassins. Book Review

guild_of_assassinsTHE GUILD OF ASSASSINS by Anna Kashina
Angry Robot, p/b, 316pp, £8.99
Reviewed by Elloise Hopkins

Prince Kythar has no choice but to let go of the woman he loves. He knew, as a prince, she was not a suitable companion for his heart, but to lose her so soon is pain itself, especially as it now looks like another has taken his place in her affection.

Aghat Mai has to face the consequences of his decisions, and now he is being removed as King Evan’s bodyguard by the Majat order. Unable to disobey his superiors, despite what he may wish for himself, Mai must leave, and that includes leaving Kara behind.

The Kaddim brothers are still a threat and working out how to overcome them is everyone’s prime concern. War on the church seems a likely yet distasteful way to proceed, given the infiltration of the holy order by the enemy. If the stakes were high before, things have just got worse.

Whereas Blades of the Old Empire had a good balance between action, danger and the internal, emotional turmoil each character was experiencing, The Guild of Assassins places its focus much more on the relationships and emotional aspects of the continuing story, making it a far more reflective and psychological experience.

The result is that the terrible threats facing the world, which began in book one and are reaching a climax here, seem to lose their significance; the greater concentration is on the love stories and the anticipation of who will end up with whom, rather than if/how the enemy will be defeated and who will live to tell the tale.

Those who found themselves heavily invested with the characters in book one may enjoy the different style encountered in this book, as a slower pace and change in approach give it a much more modern YA feel, shifting away from the traditional fantasy adventure, but others will find the loss of pace and loss of such a tight narrative disappointing.