Assassin's Gambit

Assassin's Gambit
Amy Raby, 2013

Premise: Vitala has been sent undercover to kill the young emperor and hopefully strike a blow for her conquered homeland. Of course, politics are more complicated than she's been told, and then there's the little problem of falling in love.

This book is one from a short list of books that I bought for a dollar (or less) at some point, looked at a few months ago when I was cleaning my bookshelf, and decided to give a chance to. It's the only one of those books so far that didn't get relocated to the donate box after just a few chapters, but that doesn't mean it isn't going there now.

It's not bad. It's a fantasy romance with some interesting magic and an interesting political situation for the leads. It moves pretty quickly past the assassin-falls-for-the-target premise into more nuanced arguments about how a few people in the right positions might actually untangle a hostile territory occupation without destroying either side.

Plus both leads have trauma, and possibly PTSD, which is interesting. Vitala from the harsh training she underwent, culminating in a combination sexual assault/murder, and the emperor from fighting in a recent conflict, where he lost many people and his leg. Their attempts to work with and help heal each other were my favorite part of the book. Unfortunately, first we had to get through plenty of stereotypical-romance miscommunications and misunderstandings on the topic.

Again, it's not bad for it's genre, but neither does it fully transcend its tropes. Mostly amusing, although I started skimming through the sex scenes because they just didn't work for me, and that's never a good look for a romance.

2 Stars - An Okay Book


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