My rating: 4 of 5 stars
James is skilled, efficient, and deadly, a hired blade navigating the shifting alliances of a deteriorating Assassin’s Guild. Then he meets Thalia, an alluring but troubled dancing girl who offers him a way out—if he’ll help her kill a powerful nobleman. With the Guild falling apart, it just might be worth the risk. But when you live, breathe, and love in a world that’s forever flirting with death, the slightest misstep can be poison.
Now, that’s how you write a novella! Based on this novella alone, I was excited to read the series. The world-building was Adarlan-ish, with the Assassin’s Guild and all, but I was hooked from the first few lines. The writing captivated me, and I wanted to know more about this James, who isn’t all good, but isn’t bad. He wants to live his life on his own terms, and when the Guild is falling apart, he thinks he can finally do it. Thalia offers him a deal, and he is initially reluctant but then is okay about it. But Thalia’s quest somehow becomes his own, and the consequences of that have such an effect on him that the ending just gave me goosebumps. I knew then that I had to look up the next book right away, just to know what becomes of him. Amazing storytelling style!