[A quick note: I’ve been really into assassin books lately. Probably because I’m writing one and I want to get into, and stay in, the assassin mindset. I’ve been working on my assassin’s book for over a year now, and I stumbled across this one a few months ago. It sounded absolutely perfect! And even has some similarities to what I’ve been writing, which was amazing! I love to see how different authors handle similar ideas.]
“𝗦𝗵𝗲’𝗱 𝗳𝗮𝗹𝗹𝗲𝗻 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗞𝗼𝗵𝗹, 𝘄𝗿𝗮𝗽𝗽𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗹𝗶𝗳𝗲 𝗮𝗿𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗱 𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝘁𝗼 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗽𝗼𝗶𝗻𝘁 𝘄𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝗶𝘁 𝗻𝗲𝗮𝗿𝗹𝘆 𝗸𝗶𝗹𝗹𝗲𝗱 𝗵𝗲𝗿, 𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝗯𝗲𝗰𝗮𝘂𝘀𝗲 𝗵𝗲’𝗱 𝘀𝗵𝗼𝘄𝗻 𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝘀𝗼𝗺𝗲 𝗸𝗶𝗻𝗱𝗻𝗲𝘀𝘀. 𝗛𝗲’𝗱 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗺𝗶𝘀𝗲𝗱 𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘄𝗼𝗿𝗹𝗱, 𝗵𝗲’𝗱 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗺𝗶𝘀𝗲𝗱𝘀𝗵𝗲’𝗱 𝗻𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿 𝗳𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝗮𝗴𝗮𝗶𝗻—𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗻 𝗵𝗲’𝗱 𝗿𝗲𝗺𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘄𝗼𝗿𝗹𝗱 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗺 𝘂𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗿 𝗳𝗲𝗲𝘁 𝘀𝗼 𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝘀𝗵𝗲 𝗰𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱𝗱𝗼 𝘄𝗮𝘀 𝗳𝗮𝗹𝗹.”—Francesca Flores
Aina is one of Kosín’s fiercest assassins. But she isn’t entirely heartless. She dreams of starting her own tradehouse. When the job of a lifetime comes along, her dreams are closer than ever. Assassinating one of Kosín’s Steels. Some rich kid who had everything handed to him while she was forced to starve and survive on the streets. Seems easy, right? With failure nipping at her heels, her ruthless boss threatens to disown her. Good things don’t happen to girls who come from nothing. She’s going to have to risk everything if she wants to claim a future for herself.
This story delivers! Assassins? Check. Betrayal? Check. Heart pounding action? Check. Diamond City has it all. Once the plot got going, it was hard to set this one down, especially when things escalated near the end. Aina is the type of morally gray character we love to see redeemed. She’s someone who claws her way, tooth and nail, from awful circumstances to claim what she deserves.
“𝗔𝗶𝗻𝗮 𝗱𝗶𝗱𝗻’𝘁 𝘀𝗮𝘆 𝗮𝗻𝘆𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗮 𝗹𝗼𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗶𝗺𝗲, 𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗼𝘂𝗴𝗵𝘁𝘀 𝘀𝗽𝗶𝗻𝗻𝗶𝗻𝗴. 𝗞𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝗼𝗿 𝗯𝗲 𝗸𝗶𝗹𝗹𝗲𝗱. 𝗠𝗮𝗴𝗶𝗰𝗼𝗿 𝗶𝗻𝗱𝘂𝘀𝘁𝗿𝘆. 𝗡𝗼𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗰𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝗰𝗼𝗲𝘅𝗶𝘀𝘁—𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗲𝗹 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘀𝗺𝗼𝗸𝗲 𝗻𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿 𝗹𝗲𝗳𝘁 𝗿𝗼𝗼𝗺 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗻𝘂𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲.”
Francesca Flores creates a world reminiscent of Leigh Bardugo’s ruthless Ketterdam. Kosín is a roaring twenties-esk city ripe with gang violence, political intrigue, and lots of cultural diversity. Trade houses call the shots. Blood magic clashes with industry. And diamonds reign supreme. There’s little room for failure in a place like this. And Aina certainly faces plenty of struggles of her own, like surviving drug addiction, homelessness, and the brutal upbringing of her tradehouse.
“𝗪𝗵𝗲𝗻 𝗹𝗼𝘃𝗲 𝘄𝗮𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗹𝗮𝘀𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗴𝗶𝘃𝗲𝗻 𝗼𝗻 𝗞𝗼𝘀í𝗻’𝘀 𝘀𝘁𝗿𝗲𝗲𝘁𝘀, 𝗶𝘁 𝘄𝗮𝘀 𝗵𝗮𝗿𝗱 𝘁𝗼 𝘁𝗲𝗹𝗹 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗿𝗲𝗮𝗹 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗺 𝘀𝗼𝗺𝗲𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗼𝘅𝗶𝗰.”
The characters in this story follow a beautiful arc. Diamond City needs saving. They realize there’s something worth fighting for beyond their own petty agendas. They band together to fight their oppressor to secure freedom for those too week to seek it. Aina is at the heart of this struggle. It takes her some time to realize it. But she has a others to help, like her right hand man, Tio, Ryuu, and Raurie.
“𝗜𝘁’𝘀 𝗮 𝗿𝗶𝘀𝗸, 𝗯𝘂𝘁...𝗽𝗲𝗼𝗽𝗹𝗲 𝗱𝗶𝗲 𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝗰𝗶𝘁𝘆 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘆 𝗱𝗮𝘆 𝗻𝗼 𝗺𝗮𝘁𝘁𝗲𝗿 𝘄𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗶𝗿 𝗿𝗲𝗹𝗶𝗴𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗶𝘀, 𝗮𝗻𝗱𝗜𝗻𝗼𝘀𝗲𝗻 𝗱𝗶𝗲 𝘄𝗵𝗲𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝘄𝗲 𝗵𝗶𝗱𝗲 𝗼𝗿 𝗻𝗼𝘁. 𝗜𝗳 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗹𝗶𝗳𝗲 𝗶𝘀 𝗮𝘁 𝗿𝗶𝘀𝗸 𝗻𝗼 𝗺𝗮𝘁𝘁𝗲𝗿 𝘄𝗵𝗮𝘁, 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗻 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝗮𝗰𝗵𝗼𝗶𝗰𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝗲𝗶𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗵𝗶𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗼𝗿 𝗱𝗼𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘀𝗼𝗺𝗲𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗮𝗯𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝗶𝘁. 𝗜’𝗺 𝗱𝗼𝗻𝗲 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝗵𝗶𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘀𝗮𝘃𝗶𝗻𝗴𝗺𝘆𝘀𝗲𝗹𝗳 𝘄𝗵𝗶𝗹𝗲 𝗼𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗽𝗲𝗼𝗽𝗹𝗲 𝘀𝘂𝗳𝗳𝗲𝗿.”
I adore assassin stories because assassins tend to be morally gray characters in need of saving. I love following a good redemption arc. Aina is certainly intriguing, but she fights for what she wants, even if she stumbles along the way. If you like gunfights, lots of action, assassins, and a city in need of saving, this one is for you! I’m excited to read the conclusion of this duology, Shadow City. MY RATING: 4/5⭐️