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Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Soul Assassin by Denise Marshall. Lottie King lives in a state of near domestic bliss with her partner Emma and their baby Rosie. Until the day the world witnesses the extreme act of terrorism forever know as 'The City Lights' massacre.

Stunned and appalled Lottie watched the events unfold on her TV screen and prays for the phone call that never comes. Survivors tell of the horror but Emma, her soul mate, Lottie King lives in a state of near domestic bliss with her partner Emma and their baby Rosie. Survivors tell of the horror but Emma, her soul mate, is not among them. Lottie's grief is raw, and her devastation absolute. Her fairytale world had had a makeover from Disney to Brothers Grimm. But on a day when thousands of lives are ruined and loved one lay dead in the rubble, Lottie is finally shattered because Emma is still alive Emma's betrayal means the end of everything Lottie has battled to achieve.

But it's only the beginning of a complex web of fractures that crack open to reveal the dirty little secrets reaching far back to a shattered childhood that laid the foundations for deception, pain, lies and revenge. Driven to the edge of sanity, Lottie accepts that sacrifices will have to be made if she is to hold her head high. But when you dig beneath the surface Lottie King is not quite like the other yummy mummies of Muswell Hill. And when her back it to the wall it's time to run for the hills. This is a chilling journey into the dark and fragile psyche of a woman who knows no limits.

Friend, mother, daughter, lover, sister She will draw you into her bleak embrace. She will take you on a dark and dangerous journey.

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And if you do return you will almost certainly be just like her. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. More Details Other Editions 1. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Soul Assassin , please sign up. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. The world is a traditional medieval setting, complete with political intrigue and a rich, detailed world. Despite this, Hobb manages to subvert the genre in a way that provides a far deeper, lasting meaning. Read if you like: Traditional fantasy settings, non-human connections, and characters that will keep you thinking all day long.

Gentleman Bastards. The Acts of Caine is another series that takes traditional fantasy and turns it upside down. The books take us away from boring clichs and blends sci-fi, dystopia, and fantasy in a way that actually works. A futuristic earth pairs with the fantastical, parallel 'Overworld' to create a combined setting that is entirely dark and unique.

It's a story of rage, gore, and justice that leaves you questioning morality. Caine is a calculated killing machine that tears through anything in his way. His journey is from a piece of entertainment to caste breaking hero seeking to save the woman he loves. The covers really don't do justice to the incredible depth of character, world, and plot found in this story. It manages to touch on issues still relevant in society today.

Gore, lust, betrayals: It must be 'Duchess'

Part of this is an imitation of the very thing it's trying to disparage the obsession with violent entertainment. With a Martin-esque plot and Jim Butcher pace, The Axe and the Throne is a definite "must read" for even the pickiest fantasy fans. In his stunning debut, Ireman has built the type of world so vivid and engrossing that leaving it at the end is agony.

In spite of leaning toward grimdark, where authors often enshroud every scene in depressing darkness, there is no lack of cheerful moments or brilliant scenery. Yet the pangs of near-instant nostalgia that come after you put down a book like this have less to do with the inspired setting, and far more to do with those who inhabit it. From savage, unremorseful heroes, to deep, introspective villains, the cast of this story is comprised of believable characters capable of unthinkable actions.

And it is these characters -- the ones you wish you could share a drink with or end up wanting to kill -- that forge the connection between fantasy and reality. Keethro, Titon, Ethel, Annora. These are names you will never forget, and each belongs to a man or woman as unique as they are memorable. No book would be complete without a its fair share of intrigue, however, and there is no lack of it here. Each chapter leaves you wanting more, and Ireman's masterful use of misdirection leads to an abundance of "oh shit" moments.

Do not be fooled or do -- perhaps that's part of the fun by storylines that may appear trope-ish at first. This is no fairytale. Joe Abercrombie is one of the biggest names in grim fantasy, and his First Law trilogy stands out as a brilliant example of his talents. Best Served Cold is a standalone that sits in the same world but features an entirely different storyline.

It follows famous mercenary Monza Murcatto as she looks to murder seven men at any cost. By now, fans of Abercrombie will come with certain expectations. Bleak worlds, dark humor, and a close examination of gray areas.

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Best Served Cold has all of those things and more. A fast, suspense-filled plot carries you along effortlessly, bloody action scenes keep the entertainment, and beautiful description and dialogue build on an already nuanced world. The characters aren't likable, but they often get what they deserve and rarely do what you expect.

Now, while the character is NOT necessarily an assassin or a rogue, she's a seriously pissed off mercenary leader that's hell bent on getting revenge on the men who betrayed and tried to murder her. This one is all about revenge, but a cold, calculated revenge; and the heroine, a brilliant military leader has the means to do achieve her revenge. The result is an excellent fantasy novel about the all-consuming desire for revenge and murder that deserves a place on this list.

This one's gritty, realistic, and bloody as hell. It's one of the best revenge tales in the genre. The Night Angel trilogy is one of those series that instantly sucks you in. While some fantasy assassin books focus on character, Weeks has a perfect blend of elements. An extremely detailed, well-written world, with the perfect balance of emotion, setting, and plot.

Despite this, the books are some of the darkest in the genre and don't shy away from difficult topics like rape, abuse, and massacre. While that may not be everyone's cup of tea, it makes for some incredible characters. There's the full range: from cold killers, to rivals, to tutors, to magicians. It describes how an orphan boy, despite being in a hard profession, can rise up with cold determination and still make friends.

The plot is chock full of twists, turns and thoughtful details, the cast staying with you for weeks after you're done.

Soul Assassin: A Tale of Betrayal and Madness

There's a lot of grittiness in this one and every other character is a bit 'over-the-top' and overpowered, but on a whole, this is one of the better pure fantasy tales about a magical assassin character. Martha Wells is best known for her Books of Raksura series, but this nebula nominated book is one of her best by far. Despite its publication in the late nineties, Wells' writing has a classic feel to it, and not least because of the Victorian-esque setting.

It has elements of old detective novels, though admittedly it's a lot darker. The story follows Nicholas Valiarde, adopted son of a necromancy-convicted noble. On the outside he's your typical noble, but his second life is as the master thief Donatien. Needlessly to say, he's not happy about his father's fate, not least because it was a setup. Angered, Valiarde seeks revenge while staying one step ahead of a legendary detective. Wells' story is augmented with incredible attention to detail, which extends to the characters.

Traits and back stories are revealed naturally, and romance isn't overdone. It also throws in magic, necromancy, and Fey to create a suspense-filled tale that doesn't hold back on gore. Think Oceans 11, but the fantasy version where the characters have magical abilities and you have some idea what Leigh Bardugo's fantasy trilogy is about. A band of thieves teams up to rob the mother of all vaults in an impenetrable fortress controlled by a very bad wizard. The series is surprisingly complex the description comes off as a light YA fantasy tale with a detailed magic system, compelling and complex characters, and thrilling tale that will grip you from start to finish.

It's also a gritty fantasy tale with flawed characters who suffer and have suffered. The author has found mega success with this series and I feel the success is very well deserved. If smartass characters are your thing, then Vlad Taltos by Steven Brust should be at the top of your list. The book is unoriginally named after the protagonist, but in this case, he deserves the praise. Brust introduces one of wittiest characters around, a second-class human with witch-like powers and a mental bond with a dragon-like creature.

Using that magic, Vlad takes on an assassination contract that could start a war. The tale from there is a blend of sci-fi, detective, fantasy, and action. It spans a total of fourteen books in non-chronological order, with more on the way. That extreme number means it covers everything you want in a fantasy assassin series. There's heists, twists, intricate plots, romance, teleportation, floating castles, and more.

This intelligent blend of traditional fantasy elements and other genres makes it one of the best in its category. It's not often you get a likable murderer, but in his Tales of the Kin series Douglas Hulick manages to do just that. Drothe lives in a world of snitches, killers, and thieves, and he's perfectly suited to that world.

He's not an incredibly powerful magician, instead relying on supernatural night vision and good fighting skills to keep him alive. Drothe's forte is information brokering, not killing, but he doesn't shy away from murder if will get him what he wants. When his line of work leads him to a valuable artefact, he becomes the target of entire empires and has to fight tooth and nail to stay alive. Other than the incredible character building, Hulick brings years of expertise to the sub-genre. The man has an MA in medieval history and is a martial arts and 17th-century rapier expert.

That shines through heavily in this book, with a Byzantine-inspired setting and incredible action scenes. If you're tired of drawn-out, unrealistic swordfights, it's safe to say this book is for you. Drothe is not immune to injury and often survives through dumb luck. This combines with some truly satisfying moments as the puzzle pieces form a cohesive bigger picture. The result is a gritty, fast-paced series that keeps you entertained the whole way through. Poison Study is another novel that toes the line between young adult and mature.

It opens with an incredible hook and drags you all the way through the story on a wave of suspense and fascination. The story starts with Yelena on the chopping block, where she is offered a choice. She can either test the crown's food for poison or die. She makes the obvious choice and ends up beholden to her employer via a poison that needs an antidote every day. You know the sub-genre, so I'll let you connect the dots from there.

Let's just say that Yelena's latent magical powers can be used for more sinister means, as can her first-hand knowledge of poisons. There's just one small problem: magic is punishable by death. In some ways, the Study series is a coming of age story. There's training montages, a progression from broken to badass, and even a bit of romance. It's a story where the main character slowly recovers from trauma and learns more about herself along the way. However, Snyder manages to push it past clich with concise prose, interesting characters, and fantastic world building.

She pays particular attention to the detailed political system, a factor instrumental in fantasy assassin novels but often overlooked. In all, it's an addictive read, with a good blend of new and traditional elements.


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Brandon Sanderson is a name that most avid fantasy readers have heard, and the internationally best-selling Mistborn was one of his breakout successes. It's not a traditional assassin tale, in that there's just one main target. Not a nobleman, not a politician, but the god-like ruler himself. Sanderson builds an incredible world in which magic is fuelled by ingesting twelve metals, with very few 'Mistborns' that can use all of them.

One such rarity is Vin, a young girl who grew up with abuse on the streets. The series detail Vin's struggle to protect the people she loves without being used a killing tool. The ever-evolving plot brilliantly details a band of rogues as they set their ambitions far higher than anyone expected. It's a perfect blend of swordplay, character, intrigue and environment. The world is so rich and detailed that it almost hurts to leave it behind.

A fantasy assassin list would not be complete without a mention of David Dalglish's Shadowdance series. Through the course of the novels, we get the viewpoint of not one, but two trained killers. Aaron Felhom a. He's been trained since birth to kill, but that doesn't mean he's happy with his father's ambitions. Throughout the course of several books, Dalglish drags you through a story of growth, political intrigue, and action.

It's fast, deadly, and home to interesting and developed characters. Some of these make an appearance in the Half-Orc series, and those tie-ins give the reader a more detailed impression of the author's dark and brilliant world. Of course, the series also features magic, and this is another place the books shine. Haern doesn't have any powers of his own, giving a refreshing viewpoint and opening the plot up to some more great characters.

Unlike some fantasy, magic isn't used to get the hero out of any sticky situation. Instead, the protagonist has to rely on wits, skill, and brutality. As you can imagine, it doesn't always play out well, and Dalglish creates a GRRM-like world where characters can die at any moment. Kan Savasci: a legend, a warrior, a mage… hero and villain. Tears of a Heart marks the tale of a young man, Aeden, who unwittingly shapes the world.

The writing is beautiful, layered, and timely.


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Chase Blackwood weaves an intricate tale that hints at so much more. And that may be its greatest challenge. Tears of a Heart, the first book in the series, was beautifully written, and interesting. It shows us an amazing world filled with detail and depth, but for a portion of it, just a touch slow. The writing, such beautiful writing, overshadows this, as does the ending.

Tower of the Arkein , the next book in the series, is where the story truly begins to unfold, and where Chase Blackwood shines as an author. It is fast paced, full of action, adventure, and love. A very strong entry in the fantasy genre, and if the next book is equally as good, expect it to make quite a splash.

You can buy on Amazon now. However, there's also something to be said for books that are just effortless to read, and Sprunk's Shadow Saga is definitely that. Caim lives in Othir: a crime-ridden, corrupt holy city that perfectly suits his profession. Augmented by dark magic and a ghostly familiar, he becomes involved in a plot far bigger than himself.

It's not a complex plot, nor is it a particularly original one. However, Sprunk's simple execution brings new twists to familiar tropes and creates a series that's an absolute joy to read. Part of that is due to the excellent pacing of the books, with short chapters that end with you turning the page to the next every time.

You get the impression that everything in this novel is carefully and conservatively crafted. There isn't unnecessary exposition, yet the reader still gets a good sense of the world. Action scenes are perfectly placed to keep interest, while good character building provides plenty of entertainment in the downtimes.

Though there's plenty to love about the series, it's this simplicity that makes it so exceptional. Sprunk hasn't fallen into the trap of telling rather than showing. Instead, he's a perfect example that, with finesse, thousands of pages aren't required for a great fantasy novel. Though Graceling is marketed as YA , it leans further towards adult than others. The book accurately explores both teenage life and the moral struggle of a born killer. Katsa develops a magically enhanced ability to kill, her first victim slain in an accident at the age of eight.

The story follows her in Cashore's beautifully crafted world as she fights not just her King's enemies but her own desire to do the right thing. As with many YA books, there is an element of romance, but it plays out in a more realistic and non-intrusive way. This creates an excellent addition to the fantasy assassin genre that's suitable for a range of ages. Michael J. Sullivan's Ryria series is one of the highest rated in fantasy, and for good reason.

His books have sold over one million copies in English and thousands more across their fourteen languages. There's plenty to love here for fans of Tolkien, and just as much for those who aren't.

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Sullivan's world is set a thousand years after the fall of an empire, with magic all but gone and clashes between religion, race, and philosophies. However, the true marvel is Sullivan's incredible characterization. Riyria tells the story of the warrior Hadrian and assassin Royce, their adventures together and how they came to meet. Over the course of the six book series, Hadrian and Royce become one of the most iconic pairs in fantasy, with a depth and growth rarely seen in any genre.

Together, the two infiltrate fortresses, carry out assassinations, and flee with an entire kingdom at their back.

It's an astounding series made even better by its humble roots in self-publishing. David Gemmell's Drenai Saga burst onto the heroic fantasy scene in and bears no relation to the Draenei from World of Warcraft. His lasting impact on the fantasy world led to the post-humorous creation of the David Gemmell Awards for Fantasy, with awards going to some of the authors on this list.

It's no surprise then, that Gemmell's' legacy includes some of the best assassin fantasy around. Eleven years after the Drenai Saga's first book, the author wrote Waylander , marking the third in the series but first chronologically. Like Gemmell's previous books, Waylander is an exploration of what makes a hero and if there can be true redemption.

As you can imagine, there's plenty of evil to go around, and plenty of gray areas too. The title of the book is synonymous with its main character, a famous assassin who is betrayed after a particularly notorious contract. Waylander is in many ways an anti-hero, but that doesn't stop him from feeling real.

Gemmell's characterization carries the story, both through the protagonist and the rich supporting cast. It's a grimdark novel once more, but one that pioneered the genre rather than emulating it. It's filled with fast pacing, concise writing, and vivid imagery. Though they hinge on existing series, the Waylander books are accessible and brilliant enough to enjoy standalone. It succeeded almost unheard of hype, with trailers, apps, and 'best-seller' labels right off the bat.

Admittedly, the quality tails off by the end of the series, but it's easy to see why it garnered so much interest. Hoffman writes a fourteen-year-old character who grows up in order of monks that worship pain. Understandably, this can warp a boy, and Cale is cold, vicious, and complex.

Despite this, he still has a sense of justice, and it's this that leads to the assassination of the Lord Redeemer Picarbo and a subsequent escape from the twisted monastery. Despite some strange contradictions along the way, the characterization and pacing of the novels make it just good enough to deserve a place on the list. It's a page turner, toeing the line between fantasy and horror, with many diverse characters.