Mia Corvere is finally training to be an assassin in the infamous Red Church to avenge her family after she lost everything 6 years ago. After her father was hanged and her mother left to lose her mind in the darks of prison, she was supposed to die as well. She escapes death but has no friends and nowhere to go.
In her struggle to survive, she meets a retired assassin who is becoming her tutor and preparing her to be one of the deadliest killers around. After six years of training and waiting for her revenge, she finally makes the journey to the Rad Church where she is one of many who try to become assassins as well. She is trained in the arts of steel, poison, thievery, and seduction and even with her the help of the ever lurking shadows of the halls, she has to give everything.
Especially when every misstep in their tasks could mean their end and a killer on the loose in the academy. On top of that, everything could be going wrong when secrets of her past start to haunt her before she has the chance to be the hunter herself.
This was really a book I could not wait to start reading as it had the potential to be amazing because it is about assassins. O yes, assassins, I definitely need more books about assassins.
After hearing so many (good) things about the book I think I had quite high expectations to begin with but O they have been fulfilled. I really hoped that the writing would be something different from basically every book I normally read, especially because I loved Illuminae so much. And I dare say I was not disappointed, I was in love after the first chapter. Yet then I was anxious that the marvellous level could be maintained throughout the rest of the about 400 pages. To my delight, I actually had no reason for fear because I loved the footnotes and the language, basically everything about the storytelling which brings me to the next point.
The world building. Such a richly elaborated world which reminded me a little of the ancient Roman Empire. But there were so many elements that are becoming to fit perfectly together the farther the story progresses and I love the three suns, each shining in a different colour (how lovely it would be to see something like that with my own eyes). Throughout the book, there is so much the reader learns about the places and the people and – which is beautiful – ‘unimportant’ aspects as well. And by that I mean things that don’t contribute to the development of the story like the origin of sayings or something about the wildlife. Yet these aspects just show how much though has been put into the construction of the world.
Apart from the story and the writing style, the characters are extremely interesting as well, and as we are told in the story, Mia is no hero and that’s also true for the other characters. Nobody is perfect and with the continuation of the story secrets and background of the people are revealed and they are not always of the happy and friendly kind. Mia, although wanting to avenge her family, is not the bloodthirsty killer she maybe wants to be (seen as). Also, the interaction between the characters is beautifully crafted and leaves no room for wanting more.
Overall it was an amazing read and it was great that it was over 400 pages so I could enjoy the book for a great amount of time. Yet at the same time, I can’t wait for the sequel to see how Mia’s story continues. I hope for more fantastic world building, more assassins and more things assassin. More pages with dark and unexpected scenes that take your breath away and leave you speechless.
What’s left to say, well, I think the cover art grew on me after reading more and more pages. At first, I was a little sceptic of the UK edition and thought the US edition to be way prettier but after reading the book, I would not want to have any other edition. It makes sense, everything, the colours, the pictures, it’s just beautiful when you hold it in your hands.
Oh, and something else, the maps in this book are just plain gorgeous, so detailed… I guess, no, I know there is no reason to not read this book!!