The Perfect Assassin by K.A. Doore

Ghadid is a desert city that is built on an economy of trade and water. Neighborhoods ruled by drum chiefs battle for power, yet peace has ruled for several years. So much so that assassinations had been banned during that time because the powers that be believe they were not needed to end conflicts. But a drum chief has been murdered, and then one of the members of the family of assassins… their angry souls (jaani) are let loose, and the remaining counsel chiefs turn to those they outlawed to save the city.

The Perfect Assassin is a good combination of stealth, city and family politics, and bit of coming of age. Amastan is a young man who is newly trained in the art of the kill. He questions his willingness to take a life, but is quickly tasked with doing the legwork to find the killer.

For the most part, Doore utilizes a good measure of what to include and what to leave out. For example, I was surprised at how good the mystery thread was, maybe ‘surprised’ is not the best word to use, but it was great how Amastan used his existing historian/ scribe skills to track down the killer. Yet, when the reveal came, it was less a “wow” and more of an “yep, I knew it.”

The book does thrive in worldbuilding and character development, particularly in Amastan’s emergence as a contributing part of his family and the gathering feelings he experiences as a gay man. The city of Ghadid is a place that I would like to visit: a series of platforms connecting buildings high above the dangerous sands.

The pieces are there for a solid novel, yet they may not be connected in the best way. The Perfect Assassin in a nutshell: great world and character development, but several holes in the plot. Yet, I’m definitely willing to give the second book a try.

3.5 out of 5 stars

Releases on March 19th.

Thank you to NetGalley, Tor Books, and the author for an advanced copy for review.

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