‘The rifle is the first weapon you learn how to use, because it lets you keep your distance from the client.

tough travel

The closer you get to being a pro, the closer you can get to the client. The knife, for example, is the last thing you learn.’

It’s time once again to go Tough Travelling with Fantasy Faction,  On the first day of each month, with a pre arranged theme in mind, we will all come up with out own individual selection of books that take us travelling through the tropes of fantasy.  This month’s theme: Assassins

Assassins are ubiquitous throughout fantasyland. Sharp-eyed readers (or even dull-eyed ones) will notice that their hooded forms often adorn book covers, and that they frequently appear – rather improbably – not to mind being the sole focus of our attention. Whether they’re spotlight hogs or camera-shy and brooding, most assassins will have trained for years and are very, VERY good at their job (i.e. killing people for money).

Apart from the opening title (taken from Leon) I’ve gone with a cast of female assassins:

Nona – from Red Sister, (book of the Ancestor #1) by Mark Lawrence.  Nona is only a young girl when she is taken to the Convent of Sweet Mercy to train as an assassin, but don’t let her age lull you into a false sense of security – Nona has a bloody history in spite of her young years.  This is a great coming of age story with a strong cast of characters told in Mark Lawrence’s highly discernible style and set in a harsh world.


Mia Covere – from Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicles #1) by Jay Kristoff.  Again, Mia is a young protagonist when the story begins and similar to Nona she attends a school for assassins where staying alive is the most important lesson of all. Mia can use the shadows to cloak herself in darkness and in fact the shadows themselves provide her with the constant presence of a companion – a cat she calls Mr Kindly.  To be clear this book is not a YA novel – there is plenty of bloody violence and other material that would be unsuitable for younger readers so don’t be misguided by Mia’s age or the school type setting.  Hogwarts this isn’t.


Katsa – from Graceling (Graceling Realm #1) by Kristin Cashore.  In the world created here some people are born with certain skills – these people are known as gracelings.  Katsa seems to have been graced with the gift of killing which has led her to be used by her uncle, the king, as his own personal hit woman.  If Katsa comes to visit then your days are numbered.


Rhisia Sen -from Assassin’s Charge by Claire Frank.  This was one of the finalists from the Self Published Fantasy Blog Off.  Rhisia, also known as the Reaper’s Bride, is arguably the best at what she does.  When she is offered a very lucrative purse for a job she grabs the chance thinking that this will be her last hit.  Unfortunately, when Rhisia eventually locates her target she discovers that even she has boundaries – and killing a young boy it not something that she can do.  Her new found conscience means that she herself is now on the ‘most wanted’ list and so her only hope is to take the boy and try to keep them both alive.


Another very recent read:

Pyrre – from Skullsworn by Brian Staveley.  Pyrre is a devotee of the God of Death – not yet a priestess the book tells the story of her trial in which she must complete a number of objectives dictated by an old song.  For this, strangely enough, Pyrre will have to fall in love.  This is a great story with a fantastic setting.


Finally, lets finish with this character from SinCity (a series of comics by Frank Miller): Miho – often referred to as ‘Deadly Little Miho’ because of her lethal ability with twin Samurai swords.  Assassin and enforcer for Old Town.


Next month’s theme will be non-human protagonists – get your thinking caps on now.


23 Responses to “‘The rifle is the first weapon you learn how to use, because it lets you keep your distance from the client.”

  1. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    Red Sister is indeed one of the books I need to read ASAP, but this is the first time I hear about Graceling, and I find its premise very, very intriguing…. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      I really enjoyed Graceling – it’s a YA read but I loved the idea -and the second book Fire – I really loved. They don’t have to be read in any particular order as they both stand alone (but from the same world).
      Lynn 😀

  2. Thoughts on Fantasy

    Love your picks! Three of them are ones I want to read and have had on my radar for a while: Red Sister, Nevernight & Skullsworn (and I’m curious about Assassin’s Charge now too). I’ve read the other three books in the Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne, so I know Pyrre, but I’m keen to see her at the centre of the story in Skullsworn… I’m actually kicking myself that I didn’t think of her for my own list, she’s a great choice! Glad we both picked Graceling though 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      I loved Skullsworn – I haven’t read the Chronicles though so I have no way to compare how this book stacks up to the original series -having read reviews though I think most people seem to be really loving Pyrre’s story and there are some fantastic secondary characters – plus the setting itself is amazing. It made me want to go back and read the series so that’s an achievement in itself really. I really liked Graceling and it was great to see it on another list too.
      Lynn 😀

      • Thoughts on Fantasy

        It sounds really good! I loved the original series and found Pyrre’s character intriguing (though she was a secondary character) so I think I’ll like Skullsworn… but I also have no idea how the two compare! I hope to find out soon though 🙂

      • @lynnsbooks

        I really look forward to seeing your thoughts on it 😀

  3. Laura M Hughes

    Miho!! Never read the graphic novels but loved that part in the film. Also, it looks like I need to read Nevernight . . .

    • @lynnsbooks

      I really enjoyed Nevernight but it seemed to be a divisive book – for two reasons I think, (1) what I’ve seen described as ‘purple prose’ – I kind of like the way he writes and the descriptions but it doesn’t seem to be for everyone and (2) the footnotes, at the start of the story the author used a lot of footnotes. Again, I liked these as they add to the world building – but, they were an absolute pain in the arse to keep on track with if you read e-books – the format was all over the place. I imagine reading a physical copy would be much more enjoyable.
      Lynn 😀

      • Laura M Hughes

        Ah, I can imagine… I’ve heard the same thing said of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. I loved the footnotes, but read the paper book. Must be a nightmare on a kindle…

  4. Nathan

    I have not watched Sin City in years. Miho was awesome. I must say you have me, I must not read much about assassins because Red Sister is the only one on your list I knew.

    • @lynnsbooks

      Did you not fancy Skullsworn?
      Lynn 😀

      • Nathan

        Didn’t read it. Wasn’t a huge fan of the first book in his first trilogy and haven’t read him since. Not against trying again with his new series if i get time though.

  5. April: My month in review | Books and travelling with Lynn

    […] Travels – a meme that takes place on the 1st of every month.  This month Assassins.  Plenty of time to create your own list and add it to the Fantasy Faction link up […]

  6. sjhigbee

    What a lovely topic and as ever – an excellent selection of books, Lynn:)

    • @lynnsbooks

      It is a good topic this month – if you fancy joining in next month (these are only once a month on the first day) the topic is non-human protagonists – which sound interesting.
      Lynn 😀

      • sjhigbee

        Ooo… that IS an interesting one and I have just the protagonist lined up!

  7. Peritract

    I keep on seeing Skullsworn recommended. I wasn’t a huge fan of The Emperor’s Blades though – how does it compare?

    • @lynnsbooks

      Ahh, this is the rub, this is my first book by this author so I really don’t know how it compares. I loved this though and I’ve read another review that seemed to imply that his writing is even better than the origianal series, I also saw a reviewer saying the two secondary characters imagined here are some of his best ever. Sort seems fairly positive – just I can’t say myself. I thought the setting was inspired though. It’s so well written and just packed with menace.
      Lynn 😀

  8. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    I also included Red Sister, Skullsworn and Nevernight. I can’t believe I forgot Graceling though, but in my defense it’s been years since I read it! 😀

    • @lynnsbooks

      I know what you mean – oddly, I remembered Graceling and the SPFBO book and then nearly forgot Skullsworn – which is ridiculous because I so enjoyed it.
      Lynn 😀

  9. jessicabookworm

    Great list Lynn 🙂 I am going to have to be inventive with my list, as I don’t read many books with the obvious sort of assassins in 😀

  10. Tough Travels #2: Assassins | Zezee with Books

    […] Lynn’s Book Blog, I […]

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