Assassin’s Charge (Echoes of Imara) by Claire Frank

assassinsAssassin’s Charge was my final SPFBO book and was the entrant put forward to the final stages by The Bibliosanctum.  It’s an enjoyable read and I found it very easy to get along with although it had a few issues that perhaps stopped it from really blowing me away.

The story begins with an introduction to Rhisia Sen.  Rhis is an assassin, quite possibly the best at what she does.  She lives a very comfortable lifestyle and can afford to be picky about the jobs she takes.  When Rhis is offered an incredibly lucrative job, quite possibly a payday that will enable her to give up work completely, she decides, against her better judgement and the fact that the location is not ideal, to take it.  Of course, a thing that is too good to be true, more often than not turns out to be exactly that.  Rhis finds herself in the unenviable situation of finally finding the line she won’t cross.  The target is a young boy and although it will be a black mark on her reputation she’s unable to go through with the assassination.  Unfortunately, swift upon the heels of this revelation Rhis discovers that a contract is out on her head and she is forced to make a difficult choice.  In order to save the boy from future contracts and also to give herself time to find out why she is now a target she must take the boy and keep him alive.  Of course from hereon in this becomes a fast paced chase across the country as Rhis searches for clues about the boy (Asher) whilst trying to find allies and stay one step ahead of the game – which isn’t easy with the empire set against you, would be assassins second guessing your every move and a ruthless bounty hunter hounding you relentlessly.

What I really liked about this.

I enjoyed the writing, clearly this isn’t Fuller’s first novel and I think that shows.  The story is very easy to read with a good pace, entertaining fight scenes and likeable characters.

The characters are well drawn, particularly Rhis.  At the start of the story she’s not particularly likeable to be honest, and in fairness I don’t think she should be.  She’s an assassin after all and suffers no qualms about killing people for a purse of gold.  Basically you can assume this makes her a somewhat cold and calculating character and as the story starts I would say that is the case and evident in that she has no attachments and treats people a little high handedly even her reasoning for taking Asher is not completely altruistic.  What I think CF gets absolutely right here is a slow development and realisation on Rhis’s part that she’s allowed her protective wall to fall and actually started to care about other people rather than simply looking after No.1.  This was a really good and convincing story arc.  Asher is also an enjoyable character to read about although in parts his story is a little bit predictable and also not quite as satisfying in that I don’t feel I have the full picture even now.

In terms of my niggles.  I don’t think the world building is particularly strong – personally, I don’t really mind that it had a generic type feel (more about that in a moment) but, I think coupled with a plot that quite quickly settles into a series of slightly repetitive episodes of flee, fight, escape, rinse and repeat then the two things taken together just hold the book back a little.  In fairness to the author I checked out her page on Goodreads and I think, although I could be wrong, that Assassin’s Charge seems to be a companion novel in her Echoes of Imara series.  Obviously if you’re already reading that series and you read Assassin’s Charge I imagine it segues in as an enjoyable character story in a world that is already very well developed.  I particularly enjoyed a couple of the adventures such as the visit to the library and the climb up into the mountains to find a deserted and ghostly village.  I would have liked more from both of those stories to be honest but again I wonder if these in some way play into the books already out there.  You could argue that each book, even in a series, should have enough for a reader to come along and pick it up on it’s own merits and to be read alone.  It is a difficult line to walk between repetition for established readers and lack of detail for new ones.  I think Assassin’s Charge manages to stand on it’s own two feet really well, it lacks a bit of substance but not in a way that detracted from the read in fact quite the opposite really because it has made me want to investigate the rest of the series to see if this does indeed hail from the same world.

Overall this was an entertaining read.  I did have a few issues but nothing that made me lack interest and I would be keen to see how well this book sits with the rest of the series.




8 Responses to “Assassin’s Charge (Echoes of Imara) by Claire Frank”

  1. Tammy

    This sounds pretty good! Assassins do seem to be popular these days, don’t they?

  2. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    I’ve liked the core idea of the assassin who discovers she possesses a conscience since the first time you mentioned this book, and even though there are some drawbacks, the story sounds solid enough to try.
    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      It really is – and I think it probably links into the author’s other works.
      Lynn 😀

  3. sjhigbee

    I like the sound of this one, Lynn. Many thanks for an excellent review – nuanced and fair minded.

    • @lynnsbooks

      It was a good read – so many good books in this SPFBO.
      Lynn 😀

  4. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    Obviously I really enjoyed this one! But yeah, I found the world-building to be sparse as well and wondered if I would find out more if I picked up the Echoes of Imara series. It’s on my list now 🙂

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