Series: Book #1 in the Hearts and Thrones series
Release Date: April 2nd 2013
Number of pages: 400 pages
Source: Paperback copy purchased by reviewer
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author's Website, Amazon, Kindle
Grade: 4 stars
Goodreads appetizer: Vitala Salonius, champion of the warlike game of Caturanga, is as deadly as she is beautiful. She’s a trained assassin for the resistance, and her true play is for ultimate power. Using her charm and wit, she plans to seduce her way into the emperor’s bed and deal him one final, fatal blow, sparking a battle of succession that could change the face of the empire.
As the ruler of a country on the brink of war and the son of a deposed emperor, Lucien must constantly be wary of an attempt on his life. But he’s drawn to the stunning Caturanga player visiting the palace. Vitala may be able to distract him from his woes for a while—and fulfill other needs, as well.
Lucien’s quick mind and considerable skills awaken unexpected desires in Vitala, weakening her resolve to finish her mission. An assassin cannot fall for her prey, but Vitala’s gut is telling her to protect this sexy, sensitive man. Now she must decide where her heart and loyalties lie and navigate the dangerous war of politics before her gambit causes her to lose both Lucien and her heart for good.
My Thoughts: I have a thing for assassins! That's not a big secret! So naturally as soon as I read the blurb for Assassin's Gambit and quite a few stellar reviews about it, I just had to read it! And I'm so glad I did. Amy Raby delivers an interesting and really well written story that all fans of fantasy should read!
The world building is incredible! Amy Raby did a fantastic job not only creating a very interesting and detailed world but also presenting it. Everything in this story, every little detail is well researched and placed in just the right spot. The world the author envisioned is rich and full of colours, the journeys she describes vivid. And I have a soft spot for books that include a long journey in it, especially if it is well described. And Amy Raby did an incredible job both with her characters' descriptions and the different villages and places Vitala and Lucien met at their journey.
While reading Assassin's Gambit I felt like I was reading two books squeezed into one. There were so many things happening, there were so many things the reader should learn and understand about how the world worked and I loved it. I didn't feel bored even for a minute.Well, the fact that it wasn't so easy to see where the story would lead kind of made sure that I wouldn't feel bored. I mean there were moments where I was certain of where the story would go or what would happen next only to be proved wrong after a while. One thing is for sure, the story of Assassin's Gambit doesn't follow many cliches out there.So points here to the author for her creativity.
The characters are well developed, with enough background to make the reader care for them and understand them. And not just the main characters but the secondary ones as well. The one thing I didn't enjoy in this book as much as I hoped to was the romance between Vitala and Lucien. I didn't really feel the spark between them. But I'm not complaining here. I was more than compensated from the fast paced plot and the incredible writing style. That plus how well researched every strategic move Lucien did was. I'm not a big fan of strategy games nor have I any strategic knowledge whatsoever but still I couldn't help but appreciate the genius Lucien was. Well, actually the genius Amy Raby is for creating such a complex character as Lucien is!
Verdict: Assassin's Gambit is a debut novel no fantasy lover should miss. It's so well written that will satisfy even the most demanding reader out there! Totally recommending it!