Review: King of Assassins by RJ Barker

31933095The very second I had access to a NetGalley of this book, I was all over it. I have really, really enjoyed the adventures of Girton, Merela, Rufra, and everyone else in and around Maniyadoc.

So, I’d like to thank the author and Orbit via NetGalley for the advance reader copy.

Many years of peace have passed in Maniyadoc, years of relative calm for the assassin Girton Club-Foot. Even the Forgetting Plague, which ravaged the rest of the kingdoms, seemed to pass them by. 

But now Rufra ap Vthyr eyes the vacant High-King’s throne and will take his court to the capital, a rat’s nest of intrigue and murder, where every enemy he has ever made will gather and the endgame of twenty years of politics and murder will be played out in his bid to become the King of all Kings.

Friends become enemies, enemies become friends, and the god of death, Xus the Unseen, stands closer than ever – casting his shadow over everything most dear to Girton.

I could be a whirlwind here; none would stand against me if I cut my way through this place. A dancer on the edge of the blade, my steps set out in red.

It’s all lead to this one. This review is going to be a bit difficult to word in a way that is not going to spoil anything that was revealed in Age of Assassins, or further revealed in Blood of Assassins but I will do my level best to not be spoilery here. I want you to have all the surprises that I had, and there were plenty! So, I’m not going to give any sort of plot summary, because even the basics are going to spoil at least some part of the first two books for you.

This one was one of those books that was very difficult to put down. Each volume of the series has its own mystery within. They all add to the overall story of the entire trilogy, but each book resolves its own mystery by the end, and this one was no exception. I was only 20% or so in and I had to pry the damn book out of my own hands to make dinner. All kinds of stuff happens that keeps this one a fantastic read from beginning to end.

I love a good story that’s told in the first person, and this one is fantastic example of it. I especially like first person POV when there is a mystery involved and the person whose perspective you are seeing the story from might not see or learn all the parts of it. Girton is a great character to follow, as he is interesting and has very interesting things happen to him… or at least in and around him. He’s such a unique person in this world, and has unique problems within it, and getting the inside scoop, so to speak, is awesome. But seeing this story from Girton’s perspective gives us the chance to uncover the mystery as he does. Gain clues as he does. Maybe see things happen that are a clue but not realize it until it is clearly a clue! Things have happened and now they are smacking you in the face because they matter! Things like that. 🙂

Like the other books in the series, this one also has interludes every now and then, which are told in a different point of view than the rest of the story, and usually give us a bit of insight into events that aren’t happening right at the time that the rest of the story takes place, but events that tie into those events somehow. The interludes are one of my favorite parts of this series, and the interludes in this one especially give me some backstory on events that I have been really hoping to learn since the very beginning of the whole story.

This book, like Blood of Assassins (and I assume Age of Assassins as well, though I wouldn’t really know because I listened to the audiobook) uses text formatting to its advantage. Clever use of text formatting gave some of the book a bit of flair. In this one, there is a set of dialogue that uses formatting as a tool to show how… odd it is. Out of place, or odd. And it worked. In the specific example I am thinking of, it made it a bit difficult to read, but in a way that definitely shows that what is being said is difficult to understand. There is another section of text that is formatted in a way that shows two definite points of view in one place. This series is, maybe not the first example I’ve known of, but definitely one of the best remembered examples I can think of where text formatting has added to the narrative in some way.

This particular volume is also the darkest of the three books. There are events that happen is this volume that certainly seemed darker or… perhaps more gruesome than in previous installments, and I say that even knowing that this is a story about assassins. Things are coming to light in this one that… well they aren’t great. You learn about things that have happened which are quite shocking, and things that do happen that are quite shocking. There are consequences to things that have happened over the course of the trilogy, and those consequences are catching up.

All told, I thought this was a fantastic conclusion to the series. This series is an example of one of the very best assassin stories I have ever read! Girton is one of those characters that I just can’t help but like. Even when he sometimes makes a decision too hastily, or does something that I don’t necessarily agree with, he’s one of those characters that I just root for. The last few chapters of this one had me very nearly in tears. An emotional and very well put together conclusion.

sawsbuck_bw056
Xus is still my favorite mount ever. ❤ (And with this, I think I’ve compared him to every antlered Pokemon that exists at this point, lol)

This one was easily another 5/5 stars for me. Girton’s story is going to stick with me for many years to come.

You can see this book on goodreads here, and grab a copy of it here.

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