About the Book
A cold-hearted assassin. A boy with a price on his head.
Rhisia Sen is one of the Empire’s highest paid assassins. Living a life of luxury, she chooses her contracts carefully, working to amass enough wealth so she can leave her bloody trade. She is offered a new contract on the outskirts of civilization, and almost refuses—until she sees the purse. It could be the last job she ever has to take.
But when she reaches the destination, she discovers her mark is a child.
The contract, and her reputation, demand she kill the boy—if she can banish his innocent face from her mind. But another assassin has been sent to kill her, and a notorious bounty hunter is on her trail. She doesn’t know why the boy is a target, or why her former employer wants her dead. Saving the child could be her only chance at survival.
This book is part of the final round of the SPFBO.
Assassin’s Charge is a book that left me somewhat mixed. There’s a lot about this book that I truly, genuinely enjoyed, but there are some aspects that have left me… I don’t know… I guess underwhelmed.
This is a book full of action and adventure. While it’s fast moving, I got a little tired of it, probably due to the repetitive nature of all of this action and adventure. That being said, the book is fast moving, and the action tends to really pull you in. If it does make things feel a bit repetitive, there are other areas where this novel really shines.
Claire Frank has a real skill with the written word. Her talent for writing showed right away. Her prose never let me down, and this is really shown in her well-crafted characters. Rhisia Sen is a character that instantly captivated me. She’s a high paid assassin, and the best at what she does. However, where many authors would easily build her up to be almost untouchable by flaw, she’s got her own quirks and issues that humble her and bring her down to a human level.
Rhisia is offered a contract in a remote part of the empire, and this is really where things get rolling. Rhisia has a line, and this contract crosses it. To stay ahead of the empire and all those looking for her and her new charge, she takes off and from that point on most of this book is running and dodging people looking for them.
Rhisia shines. I really liked her, and I enjoyed how Frank had created a protagonist that is obviously skilled and strong, but also unashamedly human, and it’s that humanity that makes her relatable and oh-so-captivating.
I was left with a feeling that this novel lacked a bit of substance. It’s fun, and it’s fast moving and the adventure keeps on keeping on. It’s hard to not care about Rhisia and what is happening to her. The issue is, as I mentioned above, the repetitive nature of much of that action. Even more than that, though, I did feel like this book lacked a depth I like in the books I read. For example, I never was quite clear on some of the motivations behind some of the actions that take place in the book. I did feel like some of the world could have been almost any world.
I’m a reader who loves details, and when I edit manuscripts, I often pick on those details and probably drive the authors nuts with it. I think details matter, and details can make or break a book and I found myself wanting more details. I wanted those details that made me feel like this world had a sense of time and place that was all it’s own. I wanted to feel it’s history. I wanted it to give me something that would make me want to know more about it’s history, it’s time and place, and the people who have made it what it is. Often times it’s the details that make me want to know more, or that set this book apart from all the others I’ve read, and I just felt that this was lacking those subtle cues that mean so much to me as a reader.
In the end, I think this is kind of a surface level book. If you want to read an enjoyable romp and just sit back and love what you’re reading, then this is exactly what you want. It’s a story of hope, relationships, the struggle to survive and make it to the other side is really well done. The characters are poignant, and the writing it fantastic. However, the repetitive nature of parts of the plot made it feel like occasionally things dragged on too long, and I ended this book feeling like it had missed something, those damn details that I love so much, that would make it stick out and truly become its own creature, and give it that depth and substance that I tend to gravitate toward.
Was this a good book? Yes.
Did it have problems? Yes.
Should you check it out? Sure, if you’re in the mood to not poke at things too much, and just accept a book for what it is, then this is your beast.