The Perfect Assassin was a Perfect Read!
I was somewhat worried in the beginning, as assassins’ stories in fantasy worlds are often rather amoral. In those books, killing isn’t a problem for the assassin, who doesn’t value human lives as we does, because of a particular upbringing. In « The Perfect Assassin », Amastan have been trained since fourteen years old to be an assassin. But a lot of this trade is about lurking in shadows and learning about the mark, to kill them discretely, after having checking that the contract was sane. Assassins kill those who would have been executed if their crimes would have been publicly revealed. Most of the times, those secret executions are a mercy for the family or entourage.
Furthermore, Amastan, who’s just finished his formation, isn’t sure about his calling. He’s never killed before and isn’t sure that he’d be able to. Killing isn’t just a « thing » in the story, but a central considerations, developed with deep thought. Not to forget that assassins are so secret that most people think they don’t exist at all, and would condemn their deeds if they did knew about them.
The narrative, as a fantasy story, is really excellent: excessively easy to read on, with an immediate immersion in this strange arid world, where towns are erected upon huge stilts, faraway from the dangerous sands, where demons roam at night, demons from dead people souls….
The world imagined unfurled slowly, in a very sensory way, the so hot days, the smells, the colors.
I applaud the author who’s stuck to the facts of this different world, where the water is so rare that people may die without it (and of course, never wash!)
Water is central is this book in a very clever and original way: its access is monitored by an ancien device, which work with a finite number of coins, which are given back by the machineries later on, only after the end of the dry season. Rain waters are toxic, and the only way to gain access to good water, water from the mountains, is from this mysterious old devices from an another time. This water is vital for drinking but also for healers, who use it to cure their patients.
All these points are brilliantly woven in the book to make a fascinating story.
The characters are all interesting, with a very attaching main character, a sedate and timid boy, clever and shy, who’s day job is being an historian. His relation with other people, and particularly one, are subtile and credible.
I could go on and on, raving on this book!
Suffice it to say that this book was one of my best read of the year, and one of my best fantasy read ever.
I’ll buy the paper book as soon as I can and will read the sequel as soon as it’d be published!
(I thank Netgalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge for sending me the ARC in exchange for my honest review)