I wouldn't normally read fantasy though I have watched plenty of films in this genre. The first half of the book set the scene; a new world different to anything else I have been presented with before. I found myself wanting to read carefully to absorb all the powerful imagery. The worlds painted were colourful and dangerous; real and yet ethereal. The layers offered an edge of mystery and intrigue. You never knew what might happen next. There was poetry and threat. It was a world of innocence and experience. I was reminded of so many different literary influences and also epic scenes akin to those you may find in Japanese cinema, both anime or otherwise. The book cover gives you a great sense of this also.
Towards the latter half of the book, when the action ramped up, there were breathless moments. There were scenes that drew a disturbed reaction from me. There was splicing between worlds and layers and voices and it was done to move the action rapidly onwards. Even when you get to the epilogue, you yearn for the return of Ami's innocence, though you know she can never go back. The connection she has with Hero is genuine, heartfelt and never overdone. It was refreshing to read a book where a lot is left to the imagination and you can see the scenes but also draw your own interpretations. It is a living, breathing book. I think there is much yet to be drawn from these characters and this book gave me a sense of that, so I look forward to seeing what might happen next!
I don't usually write book reviews as everybody has their own reading preferences, likes and dislikes, and I've read some fantasic books that have been given bad reviews and loved them and similarly read some complete trash that others have raved about so each to their own I say! However, I just had to write a review on this book as it had me hooked from the beginning and was different from my usual reads! I hope others will give it a go and enjoy it as much as I did. The book takes you into a fantasy world of Princesses, Heros and Unicorns but wait - this is no fairy tale! Death, desctruction and misery also accompany our main characters and with twists and turns in every chapter to keep you reading on it has you holding your breath, willing them on and routing for the good guys all the way through. I can't wait to read the next installment...
The Assassin Princess is a fantastic, epic adventure that took me back to Gaiman, or Pullman's Dark Materials. The landscapes are beautiful but often dark, vast and claustrophobic. Everything has a place, a story, and a reason for being there, which helps build a very believable world full of characters you will both love and hate. Though the story is mostly about Ami and her internal conflicts as she travels the world of Legacy, it is also the other characters, their goals and reasons for their actions toward one-another, that make this a very exciting, very tense and thoroughly enjoyable read. The fight scenes are absolutely breathtaking. Expertly written with a style and language that suit the setting perfectly, The Assassin Princess will pull you in as a reader to a place that you don't actually want to leave. Or at the very least, would want to go back to.
I loved this novel from a fledgling author, and want to encourage as many people as possible to discover the world of Legacy and the delights of Blake Rivers' imagination.
This is the author's first novel and I found myself expecting a lesser read, but from page one I found myself hooked and page after page I was not disappointed.
The characters and settings are engaging, the settings are realistic yet fantastical, and like with any good read I found myself thinking about it even when not reading. I'm a big fan of fantasy novels and I found this refreshingly different to the "normal" fantasy. I can't wait for the next installment.
If you're into fantasy stories that recall the brilliance of C.S. Lewis, The Assassin Princess is your book. Author Blake Rivers has taken the familiar genre and sprinkled in his own unique spin, avoiding the usual clichés common to such stories. And where The Chronicles of Narnia were aimed toward a younger audience, Blake Rivers nudges his tale into a decidedly grown-up light.
The Assassin Princess opens with our protagonist Ami being yanked from her world and pulled into another. This other reality is still here on planet Earth, though it exists in another layer. She's the lost princess of a place called Legacy, where she's expected to reign as the rightful heir to the throne. But trouble ensues when Ami's half-brother Adam enters the picture, looking to take the throne for himself. Ami, an artist, discovers she has all the powers one would expect of a mythical princess. This girl is not one with which to mess. As she travels through this alternate realm, she learns all about these amazing powers she possesses, putting them on display in a classic battle between good and evil.
Rivers has filled his novel with vivid images of talking unicorns, intricate plot lines, interesting characters, and fantastical scenes that would surely make C.S. Lewis himself jealous. This book is well written and highly entertaining from start to finish. And though I'm not one to normally read the fantasy genre, I can honestly say I enjoyed this novel. I highly recommend it to anybody who does feast on good fantasy stories.
The Assassin Princess opens with the main character, Ami, who is pulled into a different reality. She is taken on a journey, both physically and psychologically, and revealed to be a powerful heiress to this magical land of Legacy; but she soon meets darker forces intent on taking her and using her for their own purposes.
Rivers creates breathtaking scenes that lead away from the traditional fantasy novel and take you into a darker mindset of your own desires and wants, were you offered the slightest of temptations. A quote used within says: "How many of our daydreams would darken into nightmares, were there a danger of their coming true!" and this is very true of this book.
Vividly written and well rounded, The Assassin Princess was a thrilling adventure.
Normally I don't read fantasy novels per-say, but this one struck me as quite different and is deserving of praise.
Ripping through layers of reality like Neil Gaiman (Sandman, Mirror Mask), Assassin Princess conjures the magic of fantastic worlds (Peter Beagle's The Last Unicorn), with a puzzling environment as fascinating as an encounter with Hayao Miyazaki's (Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke) Radish Spirit.
Assassin Princess was a refreshing read, because it does not incorporate popular fantasy cliches; the style is ethereal, like a mirage or dream, blending what happens inside the mind with the hard reality of the story.
The novel is set up in a highly archetypal fantasy world: there are crystal-clear babbling brooks, sparkling unicorns, pristine castles. The novel is written at an adult level, but the atmosphere of tidy castles and talking unicorns invokes a powerful childhood nostalgia. The language of the story, while painting an image in my mind, evoked powerful memories and associations from my own life, so I identified with the characters, felt like a part of their world.
Then the author takes this spotless world and smashes it. There lurks a bitter evil with the power to topple the strongest empires AND the strongest minds (emphasis on compelling psychological conflict!).
Ami, the protagonist, makes this story unique because (for a large part of the story), she is passively thrust between good and evil. Her juxtaposition between the various forces at work through Legacy make her journey incredibly interesting, in that she isn't black or white, she is fallible, and one of the more intriguing aspects of the book was the process of unraveling her mind.
If you enjoy fantasy stories, or your inner child enjoyed inventing his own fantasy worlds, this book is a great read because it breaks convention, it takes you to magical places, its characters demand exploration, and it's full of things that sparkle.
Where to start? The writing, the characters, the plot, the world(s) - everything about this story is excellent. And unique. I can't think of any other story quite like this that mixes unicorns and alternate realities, swordplay and mystery. I thought it was going to be pretty typical fantasy, and then everything takes a spin. One of the first things that stood out to me was the way Ami's artistic nature comes through in the descriptive imagery. As we see what she sees, we also see HOW she sees - the worlds are described/painted in colors and textures, which is exactly how any artist sees the world. Also, the descriptions are really comforting to a reader because they aren't overdone, and your own imagination is given room to fill in the gaps. Even if a book has lovely writing, it can fall flat if it's not a good story. This is a great one. I never lost interest in any of the characters, and the complexity of the characters (I'm trying to remain spoiler-free) turns out to be one of the most interesting aspects of the book. The connection between Ami and Hero is simple and solid. The conflict between Adam and...everyone else is a great catalyst for everything that happens. The plot moves along with nice bits of action broken up by interactions that let the characters connect. The book could have remained on just the simple storyline and been a nice read, but the added layers of complexity add a real depth here that strengthens the story. I always wanted to know what was going to happen next because mysterious elements kept creeping in that told me something was going on beyond what I'd figured out already. I hate predictable stories - this certainly wasn't that - and even the use of unicorns was done in a refreshing way. It can also be really easy for a writer to tell backstory with simple flashbacks, but the use of dreams, visions, narrative dialogue, etc. keeps the story flowing so that all the backstory never feels like it's interrupting the main flow of the story. This really is some of the best fantasy I've read in a long time. Definitely reminded me of Naria mixed with the world of Snow White and the Huntsman (but done better). While the ending is satisfying and this book could stand alone, I'm certainly looking forward to a sequel.
This was a fantastic book that pulled me through the layers of this world and into another reality, constantly taking me away from my train rides. If you haven't worked it out yet, the story is about one individual in particular that gets pulled from our reality and thrust into one of fantasy and magic. The story reminds me of "The Barbed Coil" by J. V. Jones and "Mordant's Need" by Stephen R. Donaldson, so if you liked either of these, this is a good book to read.
It is fairly short but it doesn't lack in details. The story is well thought out and everything fits together to a T. The segments are short, making it perfect for those who don't have a lot of time to read, but you soon find yourself hooked and wanting to read it all right then and there.
The only downside of this book that I find has to do with more the medium that I have the book in. I have an e-book of this and though this is great and lets you read it on the go without a physical book, it can be read on different print sizes and page areas. How is this a bad thing? Well the story will sometimes jump in time or to a different character for another perspective for the story, but the only visual cue for this is that a double white space has been left between the paragraphs. This however was not always obvious on my device and sometimes would occur on the page break (and would be different at different sizes) and so would leave me confused till I worked out that a change had occurred.
A well paced, organized and interesting book from beginning to end.
Ami, an art student, is whisked away in the night into a different layer. A land with unicorns, magic, mystery and a city with a nontraditional line of succession that has been missing it's heir for the last 30 years.
When I picked up this book I wasn't exactly sure what to expect from the writing style but from the first page I knew I was going to enjoy reading this book. Blake Rivers' describes some scenes in ways that made me wish I was an art student so that I could paint the images on canvas like I did in my head. Action packed, filled with a deep story line of internal conflict and exterior corruption, this book kept me reading in place of sleep a few times. Jumping between characters with a simple but well utilized way, kept the story evolving without getting confusing and causing the reader to figure out what character is currently the focus.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who even slightly likes fantasy novels. Beginning to end this book was an absolute gem worth every second and every line read. I am now anxiously waiting the following book.