“Cursed by a queen, pursued by death squads, mistaken for master assassins.”
Author: Robert V.S. Redick
Category: High Fantasy
Series: The Fire Sacraments #1
Podcast Review: Episode 75
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For some reason this tagline and the description made me think this book was going to be more lighthearted than it actually was. I was expected something perhaps a little bit goofy and that didn’t take itself too seriously. That is not what this is.
This is a story about two (half) brothers that both love and resent each other and can never seem to find a balance between the two. Now they are on the run with next to no allies and with a bounty on their head, they can trust no one.
This story is told in two timelines; the first is while they are on the run, the second being flashbacks to growing up. Both timelines are told from Kandri’s perspective and, apart from Kandri and Mektu, have a completely different cast of characters so it was really easy to keep track of both stories.
Honestly, I might have liked the backstory and flashbacks more than the main plot.
Kandri and Mektu’s relationship is probably my favorite thing about this story. They love each other, are constantly looking out for one another, pulling the other out of harm’s way and fretting over injuries. But at the same time there is some deep resentment. Part of this seems to stem from the way they just have polar opposite personalities. Kandri is quiet and reserved while Mektu is the equivalent of a class clown. He doesn’t ever seem to take anything seriously and consequently no one seems to be able to take him seriously, including Kandri.
Some of this resentment and jealousy also comes from things that happened in the flashbacks that even though the plot of that has caught up to how the boys ended up in the Prophet’s army, there are still some mysteries and still some questions about things that happened that I am still intrigued about.
The other thing that really caught my attention with this book was the World Plague.
Master Assassins takes place in a nation called Urrath…and calling it a nation is probably being generous. Mostly it is a geographic area made up of warring clans. Urrath just makes up a tiny portion of the world though but they are under a quarantine. The World Plague, also known as the Throat Rust, kill 1 in 7 people in the outside world. But natives or Urrath have a natural immunity.
This plays a relatively small role in the this book but I have no doubt that it will be larger in the rest of the series. See, since Urrath has been quarantined (I’m not sure for how long. At times it seemed like it was for maybe a decade or two but that doesn’t fully explain some other things) they have not been part of technological leap that the rest of the world has gone through. While Urrath is still travelling via horseback and camels and fighting with spears, the rest of the world has electricity and modern medicine.
The only thing that I was not very crazy about, and this is a pretty minor thing, was that the chapter were so long in an almost 450 page book, there are 6 chapters. Ultimately, this does not impact my opinion of the book hardly at all but it was frustrating to realize that I couldn’t do the “just one more chapter!” before putting the book down because they were sooooo long.
Overall, this book has some really Overall, this book has some really intriguing character relationships, numerous mysteries that I need answers to, and some great world building. Definitely recommended.