Age of Assassins by R.J. Barker

Age of Assassins is a great book. It is not, however, a book about an assassin or two sneaking around killing people — I mean, that does happen, but it isn’t the focus. Instead, it’s about a young assassin in training, Girton, taken way outside his comfort zone, and how he learns and grows as a person through his experiences.

Setting

Age of Assassins is set in Castle Maniyadoc in the Tired Lands. Magic leaves death and desolation in its path, and carries the death sentence across the world. The Gods have long since died, the world is in turmoil, and there are lands left dead due to sorcerers. All in all, it’s a captivating world with a rich history, that never feels over-explained. By limiting the setting to the Castle, Barker leaves a lot more space for other interesting information for the reader.

Characters

The main character, Girton Club-Foot, is a disabled teenager. He’s spent all his life thus far under the tutelage of his master and never really had friends. Thrown into a role as a spy rather than an assassin, Girton works to figure out how to deal with social situations, people his own age, and keeping his job a secret.

Age of Assassins is written in the first person, and gives a good insight into Girton and how he deals with his disability and general life problems.

Plot

As I may have alluded to, this isn’t so much an action heavy book as a mysterious intrigue with some serious character growth too. Girton and his master have been tasked to find the assassin hired to kill the Queen’s son. To find this assassin they both go undercover and find themselves wrapped in schemes within schemes with obstacles at every turn. Barker does a fantastic job of creating a compelling story about a young assassin facing new challenges, with twists, turns every step of the way.

Other Thoughts

Age of Assassins was a fantastic book and I really enjoyed it. I loved reading about our disabled protagonist and seeing a fairly realistic representation of disability and its impacts.

Book 2, Blood of Assassins, was released last week (Feb 2018), and I definitely do not plan on going to the bookstore tomorrow to pick up a copy… ok, I lied, I’m definitely getting myself a copy.

Audience

This book is probably best for people who like:

  • Character based fantasy
  • First person POV
  • Assassins
  • Worldbuilding
  • Disabled characters
  • Mystery novels
  • Intrigue
  • Coming-of-age

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