King of Assassins by R.J. Barker

details
Title: King of Assassins.
Series: The Wounded Kingdom #3.
Writer(s): R.J. Barker.
Publisher: Orbit.
Format: Paperback.
Release Date: August 7th 2018.
Pages: 508.
Genre(s): Fantasy.
ISBN13:  9780316466585.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★☆.
Previously on The Wounded Kingdom:
Age of Assassins by R.J. Barker.
Blood of Assassins by R.J. Barker.

thoughts

The Wounded Kingdom trilogy has grown to be one of the most enthralling excavation of a young assassin’s place in the world as he slowly discovers who he is and what he is capable of whilst protecting those who he loves the most from those who want nothing more than death, but also from himself. From deadly confrontations to heartbreaking revelations, the story never seized to play with its reader’s emotions from cover to cover. But what truly stands out of this series is how quintessential emotions are in this universe. With King of Assassins, R.J. Barker delivers what will probably go down as an exquisite finale to a fantasy trilogy in recent years.

King of Assassins continues the story of assassin Girton Club-Foot in the realm of Maniyadoc and Ceadoc. Taking place countless years after the events in Blood of Assassins, the cast of friends and foes have aged and gained wisdom at the cost of lives that they’ve cherished with all their heart. Once a learning amateur of the arts of being an assassin, he is now fulfilling a role his master would be proud of as circumstances have stolen her own ability to be as cunning and stealthy as she once was. Girton’s adventures have however only reached new depth and stakes with the murders that are about to pervade his life. The story now pushes its exploration of politics even further by looking at the rise of a High-King, a throne reserved to an individual who will serve as the ultimate ruler of the kingdom.

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In King of Assassins, the reader is quickly drawn back into this world of kings, assassins and jesters, as they all play out their roles as a facade to their true intentions hidden from the public eye. As one of those rare fantasy stories that puts a heavier accent on mystery and suspense, this final book of the trilogy isn’t an exception and continues its exploration of Girton’s moral code and dilemmas. What’s most stunning is how Girton’s grasp of his relationships with other is as complex as his own understanding of his identity. As friends become foes, and foes become friends, his struggle to understand who to trust while also to identify the threat is only half the fun. However, it is safe to say that R.J. Barker’s characterization game is on point.

Although I found those interlude chapters, also known as dream sequences, a bit too odd to get into, they did add a whole level of complexity to the narrative with hints of the past and of mystical lore. While character development, politics and mystery were center-stage in this story, the action scenes weren’t neglected at all with R.J. Barker’s wonderful description of battles. From all-out confrontations, sneak attacks to the dance of blades between assassins with various special iterations, it is always a pleasure to see how his prose manages to capture the essence of a battle and all the intensity of it. In the end, the story shows readers its true colours and highlights every character’s internal struggle while having control on the external dynamics of politics.

King of Assassins is a marvelous finale to a trilogy that draws out some of the most emotional moments in the coldest of hearts.


EXHIBITA

3p

Thank you to Orbit for sending me a copy for review!

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14 comments

  • Don’t you love it when a trilogy has a strong ending? Glad you loved this, I hope to read this series someday. (Its always “someday” isn’t it, lol?) Awesome review😁

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s a wonderful series from A to Z! And yep. For someone who reads sooooo much, it is a funny thing to hear you say just as often that you need to read something “someday” hahahah Thanks for reading, Tammy. 🙂

      Like

  • Your reviews of this trilogy were really well done, but nothing in them, or about the books, made me want to read this trilogy. It is almost like I feel guilty for not adding a series that somebody else really likes. I suspect it is a hold over from the days before books were widely reviewed online (at where ever) and so you never knew if something you were picking up was going to worth it. OR what you could read after that. There is such an absolute GLUT of books available that we’re drowning in too much.

    What a fantastic problem to have, eh?!?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahahah I totally understand and I won’t hold it against you if you don’t add this trilogy to your pile of books to read, but at least now you know that they exist and if you have a change of heart, you know where to look for them. I too do feel like there’s too much new content and even more old content that submerge us to the point of being incapable of being up to date with everything, read everything. I’ll have to personally change up my own “reading prioritization” in 2019 to make room for things I thought I’d be able to fit in 2018. Clearly, it’s much harder than I thought hahah

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, I think I’m going to add 3-10 “new” books in 2019? And most of that will be from 2016-2018 😀
        An almost literal flood of literature waiting to be consumed!

        Liked by 1 person

  • Just had a chuckle as I thought of the odd juxtaposition of listening to The First Noel on the radio while reading this review. 😄😄
    That aside, love the covers! And I’m happy you were satisfied with the ending.

    Liked by 1 person

  • This sounds like a really great series! Really awesome that this was such a fantastic conclusion to the trilogy as well- knowing that makes me even more excited to check it out. And love that this was so complex and it dealt with character’s internal struggles so well.
    Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

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