Shawn happens to be a Twitter friend of mine (@stwick) but don’t think that’s influenced my review. I wouldn’t say it if it wasn’t the truth, and those of you who know me well know just how true that particular statement is – some of you to your regret. I don’t regularly review books, but I think I have pretty high standards. The Penitent Assassin is better than the latest Terry Goodkind book (The Omen Machine) and it runs rings around Sara Douglass’s last series (Darkglass Mountain).
Technically classified as dark fantasy, in my opinion it still counts as high fantasy. It ticks all the boxes, including a confrontation between good and evil. Looks like high fantasy to me – multiple books optional! So if you’re a lover of fantasy of any kind, you should definitely check this out.
The Penitent Assassin is dark and gritty and will take you on a rollercoaster ride through a vivid yet fantastical world of crime, drug-addiction and evil powers. This is a book that will take you by the scruff of the neck and shake you, and you don’t get to walk away until it’s finished with you. Around every corner lurks a new surprise.
If you’re interested, don’t read the blurb. It contains a spoiler. I hadn’t read it until I was halfway through the book, and two lines into the blurb, I stopped. I knew immediately I didn’t want to finish reading the blurb because I could see it was about to ruin the maelstrom of tension and conflict building. Suffice to say, Mallor wants a magical artefact, the Armillae, for multiple reasons, some of which become apparent over the course of the book. It seems like everyone else wants it, too. We don’t know who is for Mallor, and who is against, and the wondering will keep you turning the page.
Be warned; nothing is as it seems! Really, nothing. I’m not joking. The whole book takes place over a very short period of time – I forget exactly, a few days I think, definitely no more than a week – and the pace of the book is commensurate with so much action being crammed into such a short period of time.
I am not much of an indie author fan. Not because I think indie authors can’t be good, but because self-publishing provides an avenue for people who think writing is nothing more than putting pen to page, who know nothing about the craft of writing, to publish absolute crap. And those people clog the market and make it hard to find the proverbial needle in a haystack, because the needles are very few and far between, and the haystack is unbelievably huge. In fact, last year there were around 3,000,000 books published and a great many of them were self-published.
The Penitent Assassin is one of those needles you want to find. It’s solidly written and shows a dedication to the writing craft on the part of the author. If you take pleasure in not just an exciting and interesting storyline, but also a well-crafted book, this is a novel for you.
I give The Penitent Assassin nine out of ten. Just so you know, I don’t use a five star scale because I just don’t believe there is enough scope in it to do justice to every book. It costs $2.99 (a bargain by any measure) and you can find it here.
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