alwaysanswerb’s #CBR5 Review 51: Assassins in Love by Kris DeLake

Goodreads summary:

Agent: Misha
Profile: Highly trained in every method the assassins guild has to offer. Always goes by the book.
Agent: Rikki
Profile: Rogue assassin who kills only to rid the world of hardened criminals. Hates organizations. Always does it her way.

Misha’s mission is to get Rikki to join the guild or give up her guns. He completely undere

stimated the effect she would have on him…and what heat and chaos they could bring to each other…

You guys, I just can’t with that cover and title. I CAN. NOT. The book was pretty bad too: what you see is what you get. I finished it a week or two ago and can barely remember enough of it to compose a thoughtful review; I only remember that I thought it was pretty banal and followed a pretty typical pattern of instant lust somehow becomes love even though they barely know or trust each other, because in the world of romance, pants feelings conquer all. In some cases, “love” is measured here by the two having growing respect for each others’ skill at their jobs, but this is pretty rich because we never see Misha complete a job in the book and Rikki doesn’t come across as a superstar in the one job she does on her own at the beginning either.

This isn’t really worth reading, but I am generously rounding up to 2 stars from 1.5 because the author did some competent world-building to flesh out the sci-fi universe, and there were details there that I appreciated outside of the hum-drum romance.

alwaysanswerb’s #CBR5 Review 49: Born of the Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Goodreads summary: “Awakened from a drugged sleep in a cold cell, the Princess Kiara finds herself a prisoner of the merciless marauders who threaten her father’s planetary kingdom. Miraculously, a rescuer appears, but behind his fearsome mask is the handsome face of a dark avenger whose outlaw touch sets her very soul aflame.”

The last time I reviewed Kenyon, I somewhat flinchingly (really though — I did NOT like them, but lots of other women do and I am not generally contrary just to prove a point) bashed the first few books of her Dark-Hunter series. Perhaps a bit of healthy distance did us well, because I was able to more-or-less enjoy this book despite it being, seemingly, the original template she used to create her other popular series. She even likes to reuse names a bit. Here, our hero is Nykyrian; the second Dark-Hunter hero is Kyrian of Thrace.

The tortured and broken hero is not a uniquely Kenyon device, but she has a particular brand that was unmistakably born here: self-loathing, forsaken by his parents and would-be peers, but with one or two loyal and fiercely protective friends, this hero has no love to give any woman because he can’t even love himself. But lo! He then encounters THE ONE WOMAN who re-ignites his soul and his erection, and the province of Sadland slowly transforms into Gladland after much turmoil and upheaval.

Other than healthy distance, I think the thing that allowed me to enjoy this one a bit more was a fairly interesting sci-fi universe. It’s built on classic tropes of the genre, but I liked Kenyon’s version of shadowy assassins and who-watches-the-watchmen?-isms. Kiara was a fairly standard heroine: she’s stubborn and snarky (read as: “different” from other princesses who probably just want to stay home and knit space petticoats and drink intergalactic tea, or something), but more importantly, she somehow has the capacity to fix our broken hero, and that’s really all we need from our romance heroines anyway (HINT I’M CHOKING ON MY SARCASM. How’s that for a sarcasm font?)

Anyway, I’m talking more smack than not, again, but really this one wasn’t so bad. It was fun, even! If you’ve read Kenyon, it’s probably an interesting experiment to read this one if you haven’t already, just so you can keep tracking her tendencies backward.

Malin’s #CBR Reviews #15-16: The Assassin prequels and Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Total page count: 773

Prequel novella 1: The Assassin and the Pirate Lord – 3 stars
Prequel novella 2: The Assassin and the Desert – 4 stars
Prequel novella 3: The Assassin and the Underworld – 3.5 stars
Prequel novella 4: The Assassin and the Empire – 3.5 stars
The actual novel: Throne of Glass – 3.5 stars

WARNING! It’s actually impossible to review the book without some of the stuff in the prequel novellas being spoiled – hence if you want to go in completely blank as to what’s going to happen in these stories, you may want to read the review after you’ve read the various stories.

Celeana Sardothien is the world’s most notorious assassin at the tender age of 18. She’s also been a slave in the salt mines of Endovier for a year, after being captured by the ruthless king of Adarlan. The prequel novellas give the back story of how Celeana was found orphaned at the age of 8 and trained as the heir to the King of the Assassins in Rifthold, how she realised that her best interests were no longer in being a member of his guild and went on to buy her freedom and that of her fellow assassin Sam, and how she was set up and betrayed, losing her freedom, while Sam lost his life.

After a year of grueling work in the mines, Celeana is given an offer she cannot refuse. The King is holding a competition to find a new Champion, and Crown Prince Dorian, in an attempt to piss off his dear old dad, picks the most famous assassin in the country. If Celeana beats the other 21 candidates and wins, she will receive a full pardon, serve as King’s Champion for four years, and then be completely free, to do as she wishes. More on my blog.