Assassin’s Gambit – Hearts and Thrones #1 – Amy Raby

Whoa! That was my first thought when I read the prologue. It started out in the middle of a sex scene where the protagonist kills the man she’s having sex with. I was debating on whether or not to continue reading but money is tight and books are expensive so I decided to keep reading.

I had just finished reading an excellent Young Adult Fantasy series and was looking for something similar so I looked into romantic fantasy and found several blogs with lists. This series was recommended on two lists so I tried it.

Vitala is an assassin who has trained since she was eight years old by the Obsidian Circle, an order of assassins and spies for the country of Riorca. She has been sent to kill the emperor of Kjall who has invited her to his palace because she is the world champion in Caturanga, a strategy game much like Chess but more difficult and complex.

The Obsidian Circle believes killing the emperor will throw Kjall into a civil war while nobles vie for the throne. But Vitala wonders if killing Lucien, the emperor, might put someone worse on the throne like Cassian, Lucien’s highest ranking military officer and a distant cousin. Heis middle-aged and has eyes for Lucien’s thirteen year old sister because it could put him on the throne if something happened to  Lucien. His goal is to obliterate Riorca but Lucien keeps him in check.

The story was okay but I think there should have been more background story building with secondary characters and political scheming to keep me interested in future books. As it stands, I didn’t connect with any of the background characters. I did with one but he was killed off early in the story. That left none.

I’m still debating on whether or not to buy the next book.

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