Author: Amy Raby
Publisher: Signet Eclipse
Part of a Series: Hearts and Thrones Series
Type of book: Fantasy, politics, maimed hero, strategy game, romance, adult
Year it was published: 2013
Vitala Salonius, champion of the warlike game of Caturanga, is as deadly as she is beautiful. She’s a trained assassin for the resistance, and her true play is for ultimate power. Using her charm and wit, she plans to seduce her way into the emperor’s bed and deal him one final, fatal blow, sparking a battle of succession that could change the face of the empire.
As the ruler of a country on the brink of war and the son of a deposed emperor, Lucien must constantly be wary of an attempt on his life. But he’s drawn to the stunning Caturanga player visiting the palace. Vitala may be able to distract him from his woes for a while—and fulfill other needs, as well.
Lucien’s quick mind and considerable skills awaken unexpected desires in Vitala, weakening her resolve to finish her mission. An assassin cannot fall for her prey, but Vitala’s gut is telling her to protect this sexy, sensitive man. Now she must decide where her heart and loyalties lie and navigate the dangerous war of politics before her gambit causes her to lose both Lucien and her heart for good.
I liked that the characters were damaged physically and emotionally, which made for an interesting pairing. Lucien lost part of his leg to Riorca, while Vitala herself is also damaged in a way I will not reveal. Lucien is best described as loyal, doing what needs to be done, a strategist, and isn't aloof from the lower ranks. Vitala herself is intelligent, brave, stubborn, and is willing to sacrifice things in the name of love.
Its possible to discover solutions no matter what
Its written in third person narrative from Vitala's and Lucien's points of view, although Vitala dominated almost the entire book. I really liked learning about the world the two inhabited, and although I found the beginning to be a bit slow, the middle and end picked up and really kept me reading it through. The world itself is very intriguing once I understood a little bit of it; assassins that kill by having sex, the game that sounds almost like chess, and the politics too. I really enjoyed spending time with Vitala and Lucien.
bornThe United States
Amy Raby is literally a product of the U.S. space program, since her parents met working for NASA on the Apollo missions. After earning her Bachelor’s in Computer Science from the University of Washington, Amy settled in the Pacific Northwest with her family, where she’s always looking for life’s next adventure, whether it’s capsizing tiny sailboats in Lake Washington or riding dressage horses.Assassin’s Gambit is her debut novel.
Awards: 2011 Golden Heart® finalist, 2012 Daphne du Maurier winner
Lately I become surprised that books I thought I wouldn't like, I liked very much, and this is no exception. I liked that its very character driven, and for those who are seeking steamy scenes, this isn't a romance for that. Most romance authors that I read seem to sacrifice character development for either steamy scenes or perhaps for something else. Very few authors focus on trying to convince me why the hero is such a great guy, and I get impression that sometimes the heroes are there just to be there. In this book, the author shows me why the hero is great through numerous actions, as well as why Vitala and Lucien connect and are perfect for one another. Some things that I wasn't happy with is I would have liked a mini glossary or something of the fantasy terms that are used in the book, and I also didn't really appreciate Lucien's solution to Vitala's legitimate problem.
Quick notes: I would like to thank the author for the opportunity to read and review the book.
4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)