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Kara has achieved something that no Majat has ever managed – freedom from the Guild! But the Black Diamond assassin Mai has been called back to face his punishment for sparing her life. Determined to join his fight or share his punishment, Kara finds herself falling for Mai. But is their relationship – and the force that makes their union all-powerful – a tool to defeat the Kara has achieved something that no Majat has ever managed – freedom from the Guild! But the Black Diamond assassin Mai has been called back to face his punishment for sparing her life. Determined to join his fight or share his punishment, Kara finds herself falling for Mai. But is their relationship – and the force that makes their union all-powerful – a tool to defeat the overpowering forces of the Kaddim armies, or a distraction sure to cause the downfall of the Majat?


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Kara has achieved something that no Majat has ever managed – freedom from the Guild! But the Black Diamond assassin Mai has been called back to face his punishment for sparing her life. Determined to join his fight or share his punishment, Kara finds herself falling for Mai. But is their relationship – and the force that makes their union all-powerful – a tool to defeat the Kara has achieved something that no Majat has ever managed – freedom from the Guild! But the Black Diamond assassin Mai has been called back to face his punishment for sparing her life. Determined to join his fight or share his punishment, Kara finds herself falling for Mai. But is their relationship – and the force that makes their union all-powerful – a tool to defeat the overpowering forces of the Kaddim armies, or a distraction sure to cause the downfall of the Majat?

30 review for The Guild of Assassins

  1. 5 out of 5

    Koeur

    http://koeur.wordpress.com/2014/05/30... Publisher: Angry Robot Publishing Date: August 2014 ISBN: 9780857665287 Genre: Fantasy Rating: 1.0/5 Publisher Description: Kara has achieved something that no Majat has ever managed – freedom from the Guild! But the Black Diamond assassin Mai has been called back to face his punishment for sparing her life. Determined to join his fight or share his punishment, Kara finds herself falling for Mai. Review: Cover art is a lot better than the first novel but not http://koeur.wordpress.com/2014/05/30... Publisher: Angry Robot Publishing Date: August 2014 ISBN: 9780857665287 Genre: Fantasy Rating: 1.0/5 Publisher Description: Kara has achieved something that no Majat has ever managed – freedom from the Guild! But the Black Diamond assassin Mai has been called back to face his punishment for sparing her life. Determined to join his fight or share his punishment, Kara finds herself falling for Mai. Review: Cover art is a lot better than the first novel but not by much. We now find our intrepid gang of post adolecsents embroiled in Majat code, where Mai spared Kara’s life and has been recalled to the Guild to answer for his impertinence. We not only still find Ellah bumbling around and blushing every time she looks at Mai, but now Kara is blushing as well. Why do you ask? Well, it seems that Kara left the Guild for her love of Prince Douche Baggery, yet just broke up with him in order to go back to the Guild with Mai as she owes him her code of life…blah, blah. So, anyway, as a freshly single Diamond assassin, she finds Mai encamped and soon they are banging their brains out in a clearing (Nora Roberts love scene with arched backs and heavy panting). Wow, Kara must love….er love? What is even more ludicrous is the Jilted Prince is already checking out Princess Hotness Cornupia that just so happens to be at the castle on some exchange program. She is handy with vitriol, sharp as a tack politically, good with a bow and hotter than a two dollar pistol. Good recovery batman. You were only crying your eyes out 2 hours ago. This all happens within the first third of the novel. Quite astounding really. Love must be a flippant and flighty thing in Majat world. While I am hard pressed to entertain any seriousness related to the story-line, the author’s overuse of words to expedite scene development still exists in spades. Take for instance “shiver”, “shivered”, “quivered”, “quiver” or “shivers”. Used approximately 72 times. “She shivered as he entered her”…”He shivered as the memories came welling up…” and on and on. As in the first novel we are assaulted with the old “He had mischief in his eyes” and my favorite “He smelled like mountain pine” or “He inhaled her scent of wild flowers”. Fug me. The fight scenes are still ludicrous. In one instance Mai takes on the Guilds finest warriors with Kara and “moving as one” (as they are bang mates), they take down scads of assassins. YAWN……Well, fug. Of course they are not only the hottest looking assassins around, they are the best of the best as well. Would you have it any other way, minion? I just don’t get Angry Robot sometimes. They can have the best cutting edge novels and at the same time, publish really weak drivel. While this installment is better than the first, it still needs better story-line and character development. This rushing into and out of relationships in a love quadrangle is not believable. When your main character gives up all she has for love, which is the basis for the whole story-line, and then without a care starts humping someone else, the whole process falls flat. What next? Kara starts banging Princess Cornupia in the third installment? I want to like this novel, yet there is too much love addled spooge draped in assassins mien. The infatuation levels skyrocket for both Kara and Mai….THE LEGENDS OF THE GUILD! -barf-

  2. 5 out of 5

    Luke Taylor

    DNF

  3. 5 out of 5

    Dark Faerie Tales

    Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales Quick & Dirty: Kashina does an excellent job working backstory into this installment, giving those who haven’t read the first book a strong understanding of the unfolding events. Strong female characters, imaginative world building and a unique approach to the usual love triangle combine to make The Guild of Assassins a highly entertaining and sexy read. I truly enjoyed this unique story and look forward to reading more of her work. Opening Sentence: Prince Kyt Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales Quick & Dirty: Kashina does an excellent job working backstory into this installment, giving those who haven’t read the first book a strong understanding of the unfolding events. Strong female characters, imaginative world building and a unique approach to the usual love triangle combine to make The Guild of Assassins a highly entertaining and sexy read. I truly enjoyed this unique story and look forward to reading more of her work. Opening Sentence: Prince Kythar Dorn narrowed his eyes watching the lonely rider approach the castle at a slow walk. The Review: The Guild of Assassins wastes no time diving into the action. Oden Lan is still reeling from his order to have Kara assassinated for defending Prince Kythar Dorn from an earlier attack by the mind-controlling Kaddim Brotherhood. His conviction that Kara’s actions stemmed from her lovey feelings towards the Prince is intolerable because 1) Majat warriors are not allowed to have warm gushy feelings for anyone, and 2) despite rule #1, Oden Lan suddenly started having funny (read lustful) feelings toward Kara. If he – a man more powerful than any King – couldn’t have her then no one would! Oden Lan’s only comfort was knowing that Mai, the Majat’s most highly respected and deadly Diamond, killed her quickly with a signature move called the “Viper’s Sting.” Or so Oden Lan believed until a mysterious stranger brings him unwelcomed news. The stranger, whose knowledge of the internal operations of the Majat is eerily accurate, shocks Oden Lan by claiming that Kara is still alive. He states this is possible because Mai used the “Viper’s Kiss” – a move which mimics the effects of the Sting by instantly incapacitating its victim. It does not, however, result in immediate death. Incensed beyond reason at Mai’s deceptive betrayal, Oden Lan issues an ultimatum – either Mai turn himself in for a creatively detailed tortuous death that only begins with impalement; OR be hunted for the rest of his days by other Diamond-level warriors (and then be tortured to death). Either way Mai chooses to play it, Oden Lan is intent on sending another assassin to finish Kara (for reals this time). Kara’s fear that Oden Lan will punish Mai for his decision to spare her life is realized when another Diamond arrives at Castle Dorn. Mai, who’d been assigned to lead Dorn’s Royal Guard, has been relieved of duty and recalled to the Majat headquarters. Knowing that she will be killed once they’ve reached their home, Kara nonetheless vows to accompany Mai in the hopes of lessening his punishment. Guilt may have been a factor in her decision to accompany Mai, but this decision is the first glimpse at Kara’s strength. She’s not content to let others suffer for her mistakes nor will she shy away from her responsibilities. She acknowledges her feelings for Kyth (Prince Kythar’s nickname) played a role in her decision to defy Oden Lan’s orders, but realizes those feelings may not mean she’s in love with Kyth. His attention flattered her, as he was the first guy to treat her like a desirable woman and not simply a trained killer. It was exhilarating, the first true emotions Kara allowed herself to feel, but Kyth’s adoration cannot change the fact that she’s a Majat Diamond. Her banishment from the Guild (if that’s what you can call being on the receiving end of an assassination attempt) has shaken her to the core, yet she refuses to let Kyth become her whole world. Returning with Mai – even if it’s to face death – is acknowledging who and what she is even if the Guildmaster doesn’t. Which is a serious pain in Mai’s toned buttocks. Majat warriors – Diamonds in particular – are obedient to their leader’s orders. It wasn’t an easy decision for Mai to question Oden Lan’s erratic behavior and willingly choose to defy his direct orders to assassinate Kara. It’s clear he knew his defiance would bring severe punishment, but he also believed Kara made the right decision to save Kyth’s life. He accepted whatever consequences his actions would bring, even if a paranoid psychopath would mete out those consequences, the moment he chose to use the Viper’s Kiss. But he cannot bare the thought of Kara following him to her death. Even though he is one of the most disciplined and honorable Diamonds in Majat history, Mai has broken the first rule by falling in love with her. Mai does everything possibly to dissuade Kara from turning herself in. He tries to fight her, purposefully downplays the descriptive missive outlining Oden Lan’s plans of torture and even sneaks out while she is still preparing her supplies. Yet she finds a way to be by his side when he faces the wrath of their Guildmaster and uncover the hidden threat to the Empire. Something that definitely did not make Kyth happy. Granted, I did feel pretty bad for the guy. He’s hopelessly in love with a woman who has broken up with him in order to follow another (extremely good-looking and powerful) man to certain death. I think Kashina did a fantastic job translating the insecurities of first love – and a first broken heart – as Kyth begrudgingly realized his own mistakes. However, I was a little disappointed with his secondary position in this book. Learning how to control his resistance to the Kaddim Brotherhood’s mind control, noticing Lady Celana’s blush, killing Mai with his eyes and pining after Kara sums up his entire role in this story. Yet I highly enjoyed the approach Kashina took for her love triangle between Kyth, Kara and Mai. Kyth was obviously a very sweet guy who would do anything for Kara. Sadly, his immaturity and feelings of a “claim” on her was a stark contrast to Mai’s approach. That said, the number of times Mai looked at Kara with longing in his eyes came close to crossing from sexy to restraining-order-needy. Of course neither could resist getting into a pissing contest whenever the opportunity presented itself, but they eventually came to an understanding that kept their angst to a minimum. I was happy Kara had an active sex life minus the slut shaming. She was honest with both men about her feelings and actually took the time to reflect on what she wanted in life for herself before thinking about what either of the guys wanted – a refreshing character trait in a world of Bellas. The Guild of Assassins is an all-around entertaining read for fans of most any genre. It has the drama and heat to keep Romance fans happy, the mystical action Fantasy readers enjoy and enough mystery to keep a reader’s interest to the satisfying conclusion. Notable Scene: “Like I said,” Mai continued,” none of your business. No offense, Aghat Kara.” Kara nodded with the grim expression of one whose worst fears had been confirmed. “I’m coming with you.” “No, you’re not.” She lifted her chin. “Is there anything you can do to stop me?” Mai’s eyes flared. His hand darted to this back, flicking his double-bladed staff out of its sheath. Almost simultaneously, Kara drew her two narrow swords with a long silken sound. Before anyone else could react, Raishan darted forward, throwing himself between Mai and Kara. In the ensuing silence, the three Diamonds glared at each other. “Stand down, both of you,” Raishan said. “You’re not planning to fight each other, are you? Not in the presence of the King and royal heir I hope?” Mai held still for a moment. Then he slowly sheathed his weapon. His eyes slid over Kara, who stepped back and withdrew her swords. For a brief moment Mai’s gaze softened before resuming its tranquil, impenetrable expression. “You’ll have to kill me to stop me, Aghat Mai,” Kara said. FTC Advisory: Angry Robot provided me with a copy of The Guild of Assassins. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Isis

    I would like to thank NetGalley & Angry Robot for granting me a copy of this e-ARC to read in exchange for an honest review. Though I received this e-book for free that in no way impacts my review. Normally I'd give this book 3.5 stars, but since I'm required to give full number rankings, I'm rounding it up to 4 stars, based upon the first book and potential of the story line. Kara has achieved something that no Majat has ever managed – freedom from the Guild! But the Black Diamond assassin Mai ha I would like to thank NetGalley & Angry Robot for granting me a copy of this e-ARC to read in exchange for an honest review. Though I received this e-book for free that in no way impacts my review. Normally I'd give this book 3.5 stars, but since I'm required to give full number rankings, I'm rounding it up to 4 stars, based upon the first book and potential of the story line. Kara has achieved something that no Majat has ever managed – freedom from the Guild! But the Black Diamond assassin Mai has been called back to face his punishment for sparing her life. Determined to join his fight or share his punishment, Kara finds herself falling for Mai. But is their relationship – and the force that makes their union all-powerful – a tool to defeat the overpowering forces of the Kaddim armies, or a distraction sure to cause the downfall of the Majat? Picking up essentially where the first book left off, the story seamlessly moves forward. Mai is struggling to retain his poker face after receiving a letter from the Guildmaster himself. A letter ordering him to return to the Majat stronghold, most likely to face his punishment for disobeying his previous set of orders. At least that is what everyone is speculating about, including the lovely, and lethal, Kara. However Kara is determined to share Mai's fate, as he put his life on the line to save hers. Since Mai won't share the contents of his letter she assumes the worst - that he is heading back to face his death. But it's in the journey back that things become more complicated for Kara, as she struggles with feelings for Mai that she didn't know she possessed - or at least had never acknowledged before. Meanwhile Crown Prince Kythar is struggling with his own feelings, or feeling. He is suffering from raging jealousy, for he's seen how Mai looks at Kara. And Mai is older than Kyth, more cosmopolitan, and seems to have a glamor about him that draws women to him like a Christian Louboutin sample sale. At the heart of the story is the larger picture of a power struggle between good and evil, and on a more personal level there is a love triangle. Though the ages of those involved are relatively similar their responses are not. One is dealing with their first serious infatuation/love, as well as the first person they've been sexually involved with. Another has sexual experience but previously no emotional experiences to go with the physical. And the third is the most mature about this, having the most experience with those of the opposite gender. They are also simply more accustomed to not exposing any emotion, and they want the person they love to be as free to choose as possible - even if that choice has the power to shatter them. Yet as the arc of the story peaks, so too does the love triangle and emotions of those involved. They have all made strides in maturing, and to some extent or another they are all ready for the situation to be resolved. Of the three I found the response of one to be particularly surprising, but in a positive way, giving me hope for their life's choices in the future. Each will have the power to shape countries, if not the known world, so it is crucial that they put this tangle of emotions behind them and look forward to the time when they can mutually work together for the benefit of all. I found the end of the story to be rather surprising. It almost seemed to be the end of the series, yet the major conflict has yet to be resolved. Maybe it is simply because so much of the time in this book was expended on the love triangle. But then again maybe not. It almost felt as if Ms. Kashina had run out of steam for this story line, though she ended talking about the unresolved issue, so hopefully she'll put pen to paper (not literally!) and write the conclusion to this entertaining story.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Marlene

    This joint review was originally published at The Book Pushers Marlene: I loved this one even more than the first, Blades of the Old Empire. While I enjoyed the “split-screen” plots in Blades, where some of the action followed Prince Kyth and some King Evan, Guild works better (for me) because the action stays focused on one part of the epic story. This time around we follow Kyth and his attempt to ally with the Majat Guild. Also his unfortunate love life and the Guild’s massive change of perspect This joint review was originally published at The Book Pushers Marlene: I loved this one even more than the first, Blades of the Old Empire. While I enjoyed the “split-screen” plots in Blades, where some of the action followed Prince Kyth and some King Evan, Guild works better (for me) because the action stays focused on one part of the epic story. This time around we follow Kyth and his attempt to ally with the Majat Guild. Also his unfortunate love life and the Guild’s massive change of perspective. But even though the story follows Kyth, it really isn’t his story. It’s the assassins’ story, Kara’s and Mai’s, even though Kara’s love for Kyth is what initially sets things in motion…and occasionally messes things up. E: Such a great read! *clears throat* Like Marlene I read and enjoyed Blades of the Old Empire, which I reviewed here. I am also going to agree with Marlene on this point as well. This second installment was even better! I enjoyed the split-screen Kashina used in her first installment because it was a great way to introduce the world and the variety of major characters. This one had a much tighter focus on the Assassins who despite their vaunted neutrality can be used and appear to have developed a schism. I have a soft spot for assassins so this made me pretty happy. I was also glad to see that Kyth would play a prominent role because I enjoyed getting to know his character in the first installment. Marlene: This installment was so action-packed, that I couldn’t stop reading. At the same time, there is a huge dose of crazysauce, in a very excellent way. The world is going to hell in a handcart, and all the people who are responsible for keeping things on an even keel discover that it’s been going to pot for a lot longer than anyone thought. The evil Kaddim Brothers seem to have invisibly infiltrated every institution, include the Church and the Assassins. The good guys discover that the evil dudes have been privy to their greatest secrets for at least ten years. And the story sets things up so that the only forces capable of stopping them, if they can manage an alliance, are headed by two young men who are both in love with the same woman. There are points where the force driving the story may just be a grand case of testosterone poisoning. And it’s awesome. E: One of the things I really enjoyed about this installment is how Kashina addressed the elephant in the room, which was the relationship established in the first installment. She really showed both the power and the peril of love along with some of what it would take to really lead as a ruler, not just hold the name. I loved seeing how much love was a factor. From the forbidden, to the wishful, to the improbable, to the impractical, to ideal, and even the love of power. Sacrifices were made, jealousy threatened, and the Empire almost lost on multiple occasions due to love yet that same love enabled otherwise impossible things to happen. On several occasions I was worried that the combination of relative youth, hormones, and emotional immaturity would result in an irreversible action or comment. Thankfully it wasn’t just Kyth, Mai, and Kara who were impacted by love but also some cooler heads who were able to intervene just enough to keep things going. I will admit since it was on Twitter last night that at about the 74% mark I REALLY REALLY REALLY wanted to end read because the tension was built so high from the combination of action, discovering exactly how much was at stake, and how deep the corruption ran. Marlene: Some of the best, craziest and tenderest moments revolved around forbidden love. Kyth loves Kara, even knowing that what they have can’t possibly have a future. Kyth is slated for a dynastic marriage, and it’s not just that Kara is assassin, but that she has no desire to squeeze herself into the proscribed role of “political wife”. Mai loves Kara, but assassins of the Majat Guild are not supposed to have emotional relationships of any kind. Sex is fine, but love is not permitted. He’s sure they have no chance to be together. Guildmaster Oden Lai has been the only father-figure that Kara has ever known. But his forbidden feelings for the woman she has become drive him to greater and greater abuses of power in order to “protect his authority”. He can’t see that he is just plain jealous, and that his feelings are being manipulated. And then the situation gets even more twisted, but in a way that just invests the reader in the characters more. E: Oh yes much more complicated. It was evident to any outside observer that the Guildmaster wasn’t quite in his right mind but he controlled the power and no one dared question him. Mai knew something was wrong and was prepared to sacrifice himself to make that point. Kara blamed herself for Mai’s upcoming death and vowed to go with or follow him to give him a chance to survive. Kyth caught between his love for Kara and his duty to his people had to lead a diplomatic embassy to attempt to high members of the Majat in the war for the Empire. And in the background all along were members of the Kaddim subtly and not so subtly influencing the other powers in the Empire. I loved each reveal, each twist, and the tension between Mai, Kyth, and Kara as they struggled with their emotions and the impact of their position if they acted on those emotions. I also loved the inclusion of fatherly or motherly figures. The impression was never given that the adults or older generation were useless, they just weren’t necessarily the ones at the center of the physical action. Marlene: You are so right about the use and purpose of parental-type figures in the story. I’ve said before that I really like that Kyth’s father isn’t dead at the start of the story. He’s still important even though he isn’t the focus of the action. Every character seems to have someone that they see as a parental or previous generation influence on their lives. Those people are still very vital and invested in the narrative, just not the center. We have two heroes, Mai and Kyth. Kyth is the traditional prince-hero, and he’s an excellent example of the type. He really does want the best for his people, but he is relatively young and learning his powers. It’s ironic that the best person to teach him is his rival, Mai, who is simply so much better at everything than Kyth is. Their jealousy and resentment make it much more difficult to reach an accommodation with each other. Mai is fascinating. He seems a bit too perfect in a lot of ways, and yet, he clearly has a difficult time controlling his anger and jealousy when it comes to Kara. She’s the chink in his very formidable armor. A chink that everyone seems determined to exploit in one way or another, and often without consulting Kara about whether she wants to be exploited. E: As I was alluding to earlier with the tension it was very fascinating to watch the two young men struggle with putting their egos aside long enough to work together. It was as if each thought they knew the line the other would stop at when it came to negotiations especially if Kara was used as a tool. Instead Kara’s inclusion only seemed to make matters worse because of the undercurrents involving their reaction to her. Marlene put it perfectly when she described Kyth and Mai. They both had strengths and weaknesses with Kara at the centerpoint. I will say I really enjoyed watching all three of them grow emotionally and as people during this series. I went from fearing the world was going to end to thinking they actually had a fighting chance. It wasn’t easy for any of them and seeing their individual struggle made it seem so much more valid and touching when their growth became apparent. Marlene: Kara is the hinge-point for much of the drama. She’s a strong female character who has struck out on an unexpected path and is sometimes foundering. Her default mode is self-effacement and self-sacrifice, so she often gets in her own way. She’s never had the power to make decisions for herself, and doesn’t know what to do when Mai presents her with more options than she knows what to do with. It’s her nature to assume that she can’t have anything for herself. She’s also an absolutely awesome heroine. not just because she’s physically strong and capable, but because she has a tremendous amount of agency and is totally (and very humanly) conflicted about what to do with it. E: I so love Kara. As Marlene said she had several positive strong elements but she also wasn’t perfect. She never thought anything would happen with Mai or Kyth and really didn’t want to be caught in the middle. For those of you who are worried about a love triangle, everything gets resolved and Kara never bounces back and forth or tries to play one against the other. More reasons to explain why I enjoy her character so much. I loved how she used Mai’s logic against him while he and Kyth were measuring parts of their anatomy against each other. She was able to keep Kyth’s spirits if not high at least not depressed while he struggled to master his gift. She also proved a sounding board for Mai and his plans once he realized she wasn’t going to give up. In addition I thought the way she reached out to Guildmaster Oden Lai really said a lot about who she was and how she thought of others. For a while I was afraid she was going to sacrifice any chance of her future happiness out of a lifetime of training to be in control and to channel all emotion into her fighting. It was great seeing her get a little nudge from someone outside of the situation who felt for all parties and wanted the best for them and the kingdom. Marlene: Amen to the joy about avoiding the dreaded love-triangle. Kara’s reasons for her behavior make sense, and make the reader feel for her dilemma. She doesn’t bounce, she doesn’t play games, and she doesn’t waste inordinate amounts of time brooding about her overly complicated love life. But then, she didn’t expect to have a love life to brood over. I was also afraid that she wasn’t going to get the happiness clue. The scene where the Magister hits her over the head with the cupid-shaped clue-by-four was a terrific use of the parental figure. It’s a good thing she did, because I think that both Mai’s and the kingdom’s future survival is going to depend on Kara being there. Speaking of that future survival, as much as I loved this book the overall story is clearly NOT DONE. The kingdom is still going to hell in a handcart. The evil Kaddim Brothers are very much alive (again) and still plotting a return to their tyrannical ways. While The Guild of Assassins definitely resolved some of the issues from Blades of the Old Empire, it also created a ton of bright shiny new issues. There HAS TO BE a book 3 in this series, but I haven’t been able to find an announcement of it. That’s my one true grumble about this book. I NEED TO KNOW that the story will continue. I give The Guild of Assassins an enthusiastic (if slightly frustrated) A. E: This was a great second installment. It didn’t suffer from any of the unfortunately all too typical lags or filler material. This picked up shortly after Blades of the Old Empire ended and made it clear the long game was still in play. Kyth, Mai, and their associates have won another battle but as Marlene stated, things aren’t finished. Far too many people are still vulnerable to the powers of the Kaddim Brothers and there are still the impacts of their decades of planning and unseen moves to counteract. I have a theory that the elimination of those who can use magic was initiated under their influence. Something I hope to find out more information in a future installment **not so subtle hint about needing more installments.** Like Marlene I am eagerly awaiting information about the third book because there is still SO much left unresolved. I give The Guild of Assassins an A.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Dangermousie

    Much better than the first book (through which I had to slog at times.) It helps that the focus is on ninja assassins and not the magic prince dude, who is seriously one of the most boring main characters I have ever come across. Still pretty cliche-full but in a fun way, and I am warming up to some of the characters (mainly Mai, who should be in a better novel, but does fine where he is.)

  7. 5 out of 5

    Grace Troxel

    This review originally appeared on my blog, Books Without Any Pictures: http://bookswithoutanypictures.com/20... The Guild of Assassins is the second book in Anna Kashina’s series The Majat Code. If you haven’t read the first book, see my review of Blades of the Old Empire instead, as this review will contain spoilers from the first book. When Kara made the decision to disobey her orders to save Prince Kythar’s life, she was cast out from her guild. The assassin Mai was sent to kill her, but he cho This review originally appeared on my blog, Books Without Any Pictures: http://bookswithoutanypictures.com/20... The Guild of Assassins is the second book in Anna Kashina’s series The Majat Code. If you haven’t read the first book, see my review of Blades of the Old Empire instead, as this review will contain spoilers from the first book. When Kara made the decision to disobey her orders to save Prince Kythar’s life, she was cast out from her guild. The assassin Mai was sent to kill her, but he chose to instead spare her life. Now the Majat Guild has finally found out, and demands that Mai return for punishment. Meanwhile, a crazed cult is attempting to take over the kingdom, and Mai and Kara suspect that they have managed to gain insider guild knowledge. Our heroes decide to return to the guild, even though it might cost them their lives, in order to make things right and warn the guild about their impending danger. The plotline in this series feels a bit pulpy, and that’s a good thing for me. There are evil cultists, dastardly plots to take over the world, and epic arena battles that probably didn’t need to happen but are certainly fun to read. I’m looking forward to the next book and to seeing how it all wraps up. One of the central threads in The Guild of Assassins was a love triangle. Usually I hate love triangles, but I didn’t mind it so much here. In the previous book, Kara was in love with Kyth. It was Kara’s first real relationship, and being with Kyth taught her how to open up and let herself feel. At the same time, the two of them were clearly never right for each other in the long term. Kara is bound by a sense of duty to her guild that Kyth doesn’t understand, and Kyth is heir to the throne and needs to make his decisions based on politics. It’s really clear that Kyth loves Kara a lot more than she loves him. Enter Mai, who is more of an intellectual match for Kara. He’s also a member of the guild, so he understands her sense of loyalty to them despite the fact that they tried to kill her. The two of them both made choices where they put their own sense of what was right ahead of the mandates of the guild, and as they travel together, they develop a relationship that’s cemented by the fact that they are both pretty sure they are about to die. It’s only after they realize they might stand a chance of living more than a fortnight that things start to get complicated. I think what made this love triangle work for me was the understanding that relationships don’t always last forever, and that sometimes people need to move on and make the choices that are right for them. Imagine if you ended up with the first person you ever had a crush on, or even dated… it’s probably for the best that that relationship ended, even if it was nice while it lasted. When I first read Blades of the Old Empire, I noticed a lot of problems with the book, and my general impression was that the book had been rushed to publication without the usual editing or quality control that I’ve come to expect from Angry Robot. In retrospect, I realize that they were going through a major transition as a company, and there was radio silence for a few months as they went through a lot of changes. I’m pleased to say that my experience with The Guild of Assassins was much better.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Hilary

    3.5 stars Mai's ploy from Blades of the Old Empire didn't last long. If you haven't read the first book there's a neat recap near the beginning which covers the essential plot points, but for other reasons it's better to read this series in order. (view spoiler)[The UST (unrelieved sexual tension) from Blades is even worse until the issue's resolved, and then the scenes fall away from fantasy and move firmly into romance territory, making this a borderline choice for anyone looking for YA fiction 3.5 stars Mai's ploy from Blades of the Old Empire didn't last long. If you haven't read the first book there's a neat recap near the beginning which covers the essential plot points, but for other reasons it's better to read this series in order. (view spoiler)[The UST (unrelieved sexual tension) from Blades is even worse until the issue's resolved, and then the scenes fall away from fantasy and move firmly into romance territory, making this a borderline choice for anyone looking for YA fiction. (I wouldn't necessarily want a younger teen reading this.) (hide spoiler)] The Kaddim are continuing to manipulate events and people in their political intrigues, trying to gain power and weaken the Majat to where the Majat become irrelevant, all in their evil plans for control. Through the Majat themselves we see more clearly how he who commands them will control the kingdom, (especially if you missed the phrase the first two times), as their unique structure and fighting prowess are displayed. I found Kara and Mai's incorrigible sense of honor quite inconvenient most of the time, which does mirror reality, but was also frustrating as they both seemed ready to throw their lives away at the drop of a hat. The Majat have no place in their ranks for mercy, so a betrayal by one of their own, as Mai and Kara's appeared to be, is unforgivable, yet somehow a solution is found to the initial problem - and it was a good one! Stylistically the writing is a little straightforward and simple for my preference, lacking some elegance, but this makes it more accessible to less frequent readers. The magic "poof" used by the Kaddim remained a little annoying, but luckily wasn't overused, unlike some mild swearing which emerged only in one scene but felt completely overdone at that point for that very reason. Though the forlorn lovers were a little much for me at times, I still enjoyed the story. The solutions were innovative, and the unique rankings of the warriors and the further explanation of their skills and training kept it interesting, even when I was tempted to skip past some of the sexual content. Disclaimer: I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jo (Mixed Book Bag)

    While some things were resolved in Blades of the Old Empire many were not. In The Guild of Assassins those unresolved issues are at the heart of the story. While there is a lot of action in The Guild of Assassins the characters really drive the story. Mai, Kara and Kyth seem to be locked into a hopeless love triangle with Kara at the center. Their reactions as they have to work together as they try to defeat the Kaddim are a large part of what is driving the story. Anna Kashina has added to the i While some things were resolved in Blades of the Old Empire many were not. In The Guild of Assassins those unresolved issues are at the heart of the story. While there is a lot of action in The Guild of Assassins the characters really drive the story. Mai, Kara and Kyth seem to be locked into a hopeless love triangle with Kara at the center. Their reactions as they have to work together as they try to defeat the Kaddim are a large part of what is driving the story. Anna Kashina has added to the intricate world building started in the first book. There is much to learn about the Majat and over the course of the book much more is woven into the story. She has also shown facets of the characters that were previously hidden. The plot itself is an extension of the action in Blades of the Old Empire and follows a path that does not always go where I expected. I felt that I knew more about both the world and the characters after reading The Guild of the Assassins. What made it so enjoyable was that all that knowledge was wrapped up in an exciting story that was difficult to put down. While the book came to a very satisfying conclusion there is much more story to be told. Read Anna’s guest post (click here) to see what she has to say about the plans she has the world of the Majat. Read Blades of the Old Empire first. It will make the story in The Guild of the Assassins much better.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Debra Martin

    GUILD OF ASSASSINS is the second book in the Majat Code and what a fantastic book it is. Ms. Kashina weaves a powerful story of honor, loyalty and the bonds of love that drive this story forward following two assassins, Kara and Mai as they face the consequences of their actions. Mai is being recalled to the Guild House to face his punishment for sparing Kara's life and Kara cannot let him face it alone. Together the two powerful Diamond assassins are a force to be reckoned with, but there is a GUILD OF ASSASSINS is the second book in the Majat Code and what a fantastic book it is. Ms. Kashina weaves a powerful story of honor, loyalty and the bonds of love that drive this story forward following two assassins, Kara and Mai as they face the consequences of their actions. Mai is being recalled to the Guild House to face his punishment for sparing Kara's life and Kara cannot let him face it alone. Together the two powerful Diamond assassins are a force to be reckoned with, but there is a greater evil sweeping the land, the Kaddim, a brutal guild of brothers who are bent on ruling the Kingdom. Ms. Kashina never lets up in the action. Just when you think Mai and Kara are safe, she throws another heart wrenching twist into the story. It makes it impossible to put the book down. All of the characters are nicely fleshed out, but my favorite is the reserved Mai. The reader is privy to his inner thoughts and it makes him come alive as one of the greatest fighters the Kingdom has ever seen while harboring a deep and personal secret. No spoilers here. Fans of epic fantasy will thoroughly enjoy this story. Can't wait to see where the author will take the story next. Highly Recommended. I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Stuart

    In this second book, Mai, Kara and Kyth seem to be locked into a hopeless love triangle with Kara at the center. Their reactions as they are forced to work together to defeat the Kaddim largely drivie the story. Anna Kashina has added to the intricate world building started in book one which, I enjoyed greatly. You learn more about the Majat over the course of the book. She has also shown facets of the characters that were previously hidden. The plot itself is an extension of the action in Blades In this second book, Mai, Kara and Kyth seem to be locked into a hopeless love triangle with Kara at the center. Their reactions as they are forced to work together to defeat the Kaddim largely drivie the story. Anna Kashina has added to the intricate world building started in book one which, I enjoyed greatly. You learn more about the Majat over the course of the book. She has also shown facets of the characters that were previously hidden. The plot itself is an extension of the action in Blades of the Old Empire and follows a path that does not always go where I expected. I felt that I knew more about both the world and the characters after reading The Guild of the Assassins. What made it so enjoyable was that all that knowledge was wrapped up in an exciting story that was difficult to put down. While the book came to a very satisfying conclusion I feel there is much more story to be told.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Oliphaunt

    An action-packed romantic epic. I enjoyed book 1 in the series, and I loved book 2 even more. It is a complete stand-alone, but it also seamlessly blends with the story from "Blades of the Old Empire", and adds to it. I loved the action, so intense that it is impossible to stop reading. I also enjoyed the romance, more physical than in book 1, and also much more gripping. To me, all the romantic interests and relationships in this book finally fell into place. The characters and their interaction An action-packed romantic epic. I enjoyed book 1 in the series, and I loved book 2 even more. It is a complete stand-alone, but it also seamlessly blends with the story from "Blades of the Old Empire", and adds to it. I loved the action, so intense that it is impossible to stop reading. I also enjoyed the romance, more physical than in book 1, and also much more gripping. To me, all the romantic interests and relationships in this book finally fell into place. The characters and their interactions evolved so much throughout the story. Like book 1, the story here ends with all the major plot lines resolved, but leaves a thread that would hopefully be picked up in the next installment in this exciting series. Highly recommended!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Josh Catchur

    I won a copy of this book, but didn't want to start on the second book of a series. So I bought the first book, and the short story as well. I am so glad that I did. I've really enjoyed all three. I wanted so much more. Usually, I kind of pick a character and there my loyalty stays. But I found my loyalties switching back and forth. One chapter I was rooting for one person, the next chapter I was rooting for their rival. It was a new and interesting experience for me and I loved it! I won a copy of this book, but didn't want to start on the second book of a series. So I bought the first book, and the short story as well. I am so glad that I did. I've really enjoyed all three. I wanted so much more. Usually, I kind of pick a character and there my loyalty stays. But I found my loyalties switching back and forth. One chapter I was rooting for one person, the next chapter I was rooting for their rival. It was a new and interesting experience for me and I loved it!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Carol Fitzgerald

    Fantastic book. Anna Kashina is one of my new favorite authors. I couldn't put this book down after I picked it up. Very enthralling story. I love all the characters in this book and hope to see another in the series soon. There were things left untold that I would like to know more about in future. I want to know more about Prince Kyth, Lady Celana, Alder and Ellah. I would like to see what the future holds for Kara and Mai as well, as they were my favorite characters of the whole story. Fantastic book. Anna Kashina is one of my new favorite authors. I couldn't put this book down after I picked it up. Very enthralling story. I love all the characters in this book and hope to see another in the series soon. There were things left untold that I would like to know more about in future. I want to know more about Prince Kyth, Lady Celana, Alder and Ellah. I would like to see what the future holds for Kara and Mai as well, as they were my favorite characters of the whole story.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Darren

    It was a good book. I liked it a lot. I look forward to reading more books by this author.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

    This review originally published in Looking For a Good Book. Rated 3.0 of 5 The first book in this series was a delightful surprise. (Read review here.) This book continues the adventures of Kara and Mai - Majat (Assassins). There's a quick recap of the important events of the first book - something I wish would be done with much more regularity in publishing for those of us who may start with the middle book of a series from time to time. Kara and Mai both have a tremendous sense of honor and dut This review originally published in Looking For a Good Book. Rated 3.0 of 5 The first book in this series was a delightful surprise. (Read review here.) This book continues the adventures of Kara and Mai - Majat (Assassins). There's a quick recap of the important events of the first book - something I wish would be done with much more regularity in publishing for those of us who may start with the middle book of a series from time to time. Kara and Mai both have a tremendous sense of honor and duty. Kara is prepared to sacrifice herself in the line of duty for her prince (a young boy). Mai is recalled to the Guild of Assassins to face judgment for his not killing Kara. But Kara accompanies Mai to the Guild and despite the clear and present threat to her life for doing so, stands by Mai as he issues a challenge against the best assassins. Mai and Kara become much too familiar with politics and the underhanded business of going against what a leader wishes, but manage to come out on top after each (nearly) sacrifices their life for the other. (Yes, I'm being a little cagey in order to not give anything away. Author Anna Kashina's writing is very smooth and this book is a quick and easy read But the plot...? An awful lot happens here without actually having much happen. We spend a lot of time - a LOT of time - with Kara and Mai fighting against their much too obvious affection for one another while fighting alongside one another. They make Sam and Diane (of Cheers fame) look absolutely steady. There is some story here, and Mai manages to rise in the ranks very swiftly, but really this book has the classic second-book feel to it. It's a place-holder - a lure to book three and not much more than that. I have book three ready to go and I hope that we can get back to some serious story-telling instead of the insidious romance-hiding-behind-epic-fantasy veil. Looking for a good book? The Guild of Assassins by Anna Kashina reads like a YA romance instead of the epic fantasy that was being promised through the course of the first book in the series. I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Christine H Russell

    Could be better This is not as good as book 1 but middle books are often a disappointment. It has promise if you can believe the premise... Kyth is overly childish throughout the book, especially during negotiations. As the crown prince, wouldn’t he have been trained in the art of diplomacy? I rolled my eyes a lot at his behavior, and started to really dislike (and dismiss) the character as overdone and frankly I didn’t care about his feelings or his ridiculous rationale. I didn’t throw the book Could be better This is not as good as book 1 but middle books are often a disappointment. It has promise if you can believe the premise... Kyth is overly childish throughout the book, especially during negotiations. As the crown prince, wouldn’t he have been trained in the art of diplomacy? I rolled my eyes a lot at his behavior, and started to really dislike (and dismiss) the character as overdone and frankly I didn’t care about his feelings or his ridiculous rationale. I didn’t throw the book aside, and I’m glad I didn’t because the ending was very good. I look forward to the third novel. I think Kyth has grown up a bit and I can tolerate him now.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Franki

    Very interesting story and characters, some surprise and it's still so dificult to stop reading even whem my eyes are closing ... Very interesting story and characters, some surprise and it's still so dificult to stop reading even whem my eyes are closing ...

  19. 5 out of 5

    Online Eccentric Librarian

    More reviews (and no fluff) on the blog http://surrealtalvi.wordpress.com/ I am sure that many will enjoy this book purely on the romance aspect, which is pretty much the entire plot (anything about the Guild, Kingdom, or evil bad guys are pretty much McGuffins to showcase the romance elements). But for me, I want a strong storyline, grounded nuanced characters, and imaginative unique worldbuilding first - and then a nice romance in between (see "Moth and Spark" by Anne Leonard for a great e More reviews (and no fluff) on the blog http://surrealtalvi.wordpress.com/ I am sure that many will enjoy this book purely on the romance aspect, which is pretty much the entire plot (anything about the Guild, Kingdom, or evil bad guys are pretty much McGuffins to showcase the romance elements). But for me, I want a strong storyline, grounded nuanced characters, and imaginative unique worldbuilding first - and then a nice romance in between (see "Moth and Spark" by Anne Leonard for a great example). Story: Kara was prepared to give her life for the young prince - but it is Mai who ends up having to pay the price as he is called back to the Guild to face judgement for his failure to kill Kara. Jealous Prince Kyth, along with all the regulars from the first book including a new princess madly in love with Kyth, will journey to the guild along with Mai and Kara in the hope of appeasing the Guildmaster, who is still madly in love with Kara and seething with spiteful jealousy. But if the Guild itself has been compromised by the brotherhood, what hope will they have? Most of the book plays out like a high school melodrama - she loves him, he loves her, she loves somebody else, and they are all going to fight in jealous fits and destroy Guilds and nations in the process. Mai, Kyth, and Oden are all in love with Kara so strongly that they are senseless and do stupid things as a result. It got old, fast. And it began to feel very much like a Mary Sue since so many men were in lust with Kara. Clearly, this is a world where everyone goes crazy in love at the drop of a hat (Kara goes from being madly in love with Kyth and sacrificing everything for him in book one to liking him as a friend in book 2 and feeling it for Mai - I had whiplash). Most telling for me is that if you stripped out all the romances, there would be no meat left on this turkey. Everything - every action, monologue, dialogue, scene - is to make someone look more noble to the opposite sex or cause someone to get jealous and brood about it and overreact. There is no plot, no character development, and very little in the way of imaginative world building. I could forgive that in the first book in the series if we got all that nonsense out of the way. But the romance aspects actually got worse (meaning: even more ridiculous) in the second. Compounding the problem are simplistic, cardboard characters. They have one thing on their mind: romance. There wasn't an ounce of a realistic person or situation any where in this book. Fantasy needs some grounding - it can't be an excuse to make people super perfect or super attractive or it won't hold up to close scrutiny. I was greatly reminded of Mark Twain's essay on Fennimore Cooper's Deerslayer (another oversentimentalized, over romanticised mess of a novel). After reading the first book, I kept feeling that there might be something more there but with this second book, I've come to realize that it just isn't so. Assassins too noble to kill? A Prince who is affronted about having to lie to another country about their true military might? Potions that can heal any kind of wound> bad guy whose power is to sense emotions and make people jealous? Warriors with super human feats? Beautiful but noble men whom all the girls want? A single girl whom all the guys want? An older narrator who muses CONSTANTLY on how perfect the younger characters are and their angsty love problems? Deus ex machina magical power for the noble prince? That's a lot of heavy handed writing all wrapped up in one book. No seasoned reviewer appreciates tearing apart a work that has taken an author time and tears to complete. But at the same time, someone (writing groups, friends, etc.) has to be willing to be hard on the author to help them develop their artistic talent. I felt often while reading this that the grammar might have been fixed but no one was there to help her develop a more nuanced, coherent, and thoughtful storyline beyond excuses to create a romance. That the main love interest changed from the Prince to Mai between book 1 and 2 says a lot, I feel, about the books lacking coherency and direction - and feeling very ad hoc, in the moment, and without a strongly enough defined end goal. Reviewed from an ARC.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Tsana Dolichva

    The Guild of Assassins by Anna Kashina is the second book in The Majat Code series. I read and reviewed the first book, Blades of the Old Empire, earlier this year. Unfortunately, while I enjoyed book one, book two didn't really do it for me. Note that this review contains spoilers for the ending of book one. The story follows the same group of characters from book one, although with some emphases shifted. Ellah and Alder were point of view characters in the first book but in The Guild of Assassi The Guild of Assassins by Anna Kashina is the second book in The Majat Code series. I read and reviewed the first book, Blades of the Old Empire, earlier this year. Unfortunately, while I enjoyed book one, book two didn't really do it for me. Note that this review contains spoilers for the ending of book one. The story follows the same group of characters from book one, although with some emphases shifted. Ellah and Alder were point of view characters in the first book but in The Guild of Assassins they are merely background characters. The point of view focuses strongly on Prince Kyth, Kara the highly trained assassin and, somewhat unexpectedly, Magister Egey Bashi. Lady Celana, who was a minor character in book one, plays a more visible role in book two. Egey Bashi gets a surprising amount of point of view time for someone who's less directly involved in the action than some of the other characters. I suspect that might be because he's the only sensible adult around (well, Mai, a central character who doesn't really get point of view sections, is in his early twenties, but...) and is a useful tool to explain why other characters are doing silly things, or why those things are silly, and to fix some of the problems they cause. Unfortunately, that didn't make him a terribly exciting character. I didn't have strong feelings about him in book one and I still don't. Unfortunately, he plays such a large role in book two that I probably should have had a stronger reaction to him. The first thing that bothered me was actually a holdover from Blades of the Old Empire. Towards the end of that one it's revealed that Mai is in love with Kara and that storyline is explored extensively in The Guild of Assassins. It wasn't a storyline that I found worked for me very well and I didn't find it very interesting. It also meant that the relationship aspect of the story turned into a love triangle which I felt, again, pretty ambivalent about. But at least it wasn't like a cliched YA love triangle. What really bogged down the story for me was the copious introspection of all the characters. I think this existed in the first book but, for whatever reason — more interesting personal problems? A broader range of characters? — didn't bother me then. Here it often felt repetitive and I found myself skimming over a lot of inner monologue. Most of it was either about the love triangle from Kyth and Kara or about other characters' actions/motivations/mistakes from Egey Bashi. On the bright side, that made it feel like a quicker read than it otherwise might have. And I should add I wasn't bored or annoyed enough to stop reading the book (I considered it, but ultimately decided it wasn't that bad). I am not sure if there is a sequel (my guess would be yes) and, if there is, I don't know that I'll be reading it. The plot of The Guild of Assassins very much centred around defeating the evil brotherhood that had taken over a monastery (and was trying to take over the world) without very many side plots (other than the relationship one). By contrast, there was more mystery in Blades of the Old Empire, since we didn't know anything about the evil brotherhood, which kept things interesting. Given a sufficiently interesting plot, I might be tempted to have a go at a book three. If you enjoyed Blades of the Old Empire, then give The Guild of Assassins a go, particularly if you thought Mai and Kara together would be an interesting story. If you felt more meh about the first book, probably give this one a miss. 3 / 5 stars You can read more of my reviews on my blog.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Leader of the Pack

    The Guild of Assassins is a strong follow-up to the first book in this series. New focuses keep the story fresh and entertaining.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Aparna

    The second and final book of The Majat Code series (at least I am thinking it is final), titled The Guild Of Assassins was also published in 2014. I liked the conclusion well, although expected it a bit. Another adventure into the fantasy world of The Guild and the lives of Aghat Mai and Aghat Kara indeed This book follows more on the fate of Aghat Mai and The Guild rather than about the empire and the King who is defending it against the Kaddim armies. Kara, a Diamond Majat, achieved freedom fro The second and final book of The Majat Code series (at least I am thinking it is final), titled The Guild Of Assassins was also published in 2014. I liked the conclusion well, although expected it a bit. Another adventure into the fantasy world of The Guild and the lives of Aghat Mai and Aghat Kara indeed This book follows more on the fate of Aghat Mai and The Guild rather than about the empire and the King who is defending it against the Kaddim armies. Kara, a Diamond Majat, achieved freedom from the Guild. However in getting her freedom, Aghat Mai had committed a crime that is punishable according to The Guild. So he heads back to The Guild to face the music, so to speak. He comes with a high reputation that he had earned at a very young age with two blows named after his rune, Viper - Viper's Sting to kill the opponent and Viper's Kiss to save the opponent but have the onlookers to think it was deadly. His precision in technique and his strategy adds only to the power he wears as a cloak. He returns to The Guild, but not alone. He is accompanies by Prince Kyth, Aghat Kara, Keeper Egey Bashi, Truth Seeker Ella and Mother Keeper. Although everyone arrives at The Guild in different paths, they still form a unit in defending Mai and Kara for the valuable services they have provided to the empire as well as their powers that can be used successfully against the Kaddim armies. The journey also reveals a lot of truth in the feelings within Kyth, Kara and Mai. Who truly loves whom and what the battle means in the end. Kara is confused about her pull towards Mai and her love or loyalty towards Kyth. Kyth is stubborn as hell that his infatuation is love and fails in many cases to see how that causes trouble to Kara. Mai restrains his feelings the betterment of The Guild. Yet they all unite to save the Empire and the Guild. With ruthless politics, hidden agendas, killer strategies, forgotten code, mystery armies and confused hearts - all form the thread that weaves through the characters making it a complete plot. As I mentioned in my previous review of Part I, the flaws still hold good here too. However one more point I want to add is the childish nature of Prince Kyth. He seems to forget at times that he is the Crown Prince and instead behaves like a 14 year old on hormone high. Although it was a good characterization in book 1, he doesn’t seem to have matured much until towards the end in book 2. Using Kara and her mis-guided feelings like a toy was not something I wanted to continue to see in book 2 as well. Although at the end he realizes and changes, but it would have been much better of the change had been shown early-on. This could have reduced the volume of the book further more. All in all, another good book to pick up for those lazy days. Stars: 3.5 / 5 Recommendation: To know the fate of Aghat Mai and The Guild, to travel through their world again, definitely pick it up.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Star Bookworm

    Now we will be taking a look at part two in The Majat Code. This next leg in the journey against the Kaddim brothers was not as impactful to me as the first. I was immensely impressed with the action and adventure of Blades. It could have possibly have been a case where my excitement for the sequel was just so great that it was bound to fall a little flat. However, I really think (if I will admit my own honesty to myself) it was the addition of a love story that threw me off a bit. These are bad Now we will be taking a look at part two in The Majat Code. This next leg in the journey against the Kaddim brothers was not as impactful to me as the first. I was immensely impressed with the action and adventure of Blades. It could have possibly have been a case where my excitement for the sequel was just so great that it was bound to fall a little flat. However, I really think (if I will admit my own honesty to myself) it was the addition of a love story that threw me off a bit. These are bad, ---kicking ninja warriors here. Trained from incredibly young ages to be stoic and death dealing weapons of mass destruction. They sleep on dirt for comfort. We are left instead with some serious teenage angst. I concede the argument that in the extremely intense training to become the baddest warrior in the world your adrenaline can heighten the sexual energy, and these feelings should be explored to understand the limitations of your distractions. Warriors need to know themselves in every situation to be fighting machines. Premise of sex and war being a knife's edge accepted. However, I felt the romance left the original beauty of Blades in the dust. I understand that the more intense you are the more likely your romance will be intense with all the pent up sexual energy and angst on top of your bad--- warrior skills, but I'll pass on reading about it. Romance just isn't my genre, and it really didn't fit here with the first book being almost devoid of the very open, intense touchie-feelies. This second novel is certainly more for the adult reader with multiple semi-explicit scenes. What I did love... I do appreciate the true science behind the attraction. Chemicals and pheromones leading to a scent that drives you wild and lusty. People are commonly attracted to their partner based on scent as much as on sight. We do have five senses after all. Making the point of smell being an attractant, now that is some real storytelling there. Give me some scientific fact in my fiction and I am a happy camper. This adds a depth of connection to the characters that give them life outside the pages. It also kept to the depth I know is possible with Blades. There were still some amazing action scenes, and I was even tumbling around my deck trying to figure out how some of it all played out (much to the amusement of my neighbors I am sure). So I will give the book 3 and half stars. I will certainly be looking out for the conclusion to this trilogy with as much enthusiasm I did this novel.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Twin Sisters Rockin' Book Reviews

    Overall Rating: 3 Rockin’ ★★★ This is the second book in the Guild of Assassins by Anna Kashina. It is a book filled with political intrigue and betrayal while also telling a story of two people fighting for love. Mai is a Diamond Level and a highly skill member of his order. He is also one of the few that can withstand and resist the Kaddim an enemy to all people of the kingdom. Kara is also a Diamond Level and was spared by Mai when he was ordered to assassinate her for not completing her assig Overall Rating: 3 Rockin’ ★★★ This is the second book in the Guild of Assassins by Anna Kashina. It is a book filled with political intrigue and betrayal while also telling a story of two people fighting for love. Mai is a Diamond Level and a highly skill member of his order. He is also one of the few that can withstand and resist the Kaddim an enemy to all people of the kingdom. Kara is also a Diamond Level and was spared by Mai when he was ordered to assassinate her for not completing her assignment by the Order. There are few that can resist the Kaddim and because the two Diamonds have that ability they have been targeted for elimination by the Kaddim. Unknown to the King, the Majat or anyone involved in keeping the land safe for the people is a plan that the Kaddim put in place a decade ago. This plan if successful will overthrow the King and allow the Kaddim to take over as the rulers. Everything is designed to eliminate the Prince Regent and the two Diamond Level Majats that have the ability to resist them. They are all that stands in the way of the Kaddim’s take over. The recall of Mai by his superiors and Kara’s refusal to let him go without her to take the consequences for his actions alone for not killing her and completing his assignment the plan has started. Will this be the beginning of the end for their world? Hero –Aghat Mai: 3 stars Heroine – Kara: 3 stars Steam: 3 stars Plot: 3.5 stars Cliffhanger: No Would I recommend this book: Yes! Betrayal, war and good vs evil run rampant through this book. Unfulfilled love, denied love and loyalty drive this plot to its conclusion. It continues the saga started in previous books by this author. Would I recommend this author: Yes! Amazing imagination! ***Received an ARC of this book from the Author in exchange for an honest review*** The Guild of Assassins Anna Kashina

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sarah-Jayne Briggs

    (I received this book for free as part of Goodreads First Reads giveaways). (This review may contain spoilers). There's kind of a funny story behind winning this book in a Goodreads giveaway. When I was looking through the books to enter to win, I saw this one... and I saw the prequel (which I have read). But I didn't clock that this one was the sequel to the one I'd previously read and enjoyed. It wasn't until my win was confirmed that I realised. Anyway... it was really good to return to this wor (I received this book for free as part of Goodreads First Reads giveaways). (This review may contain spoilers). There's kind of a funny story behind winning this book in a Goodreads giveaway. When I was looking through the books to enter to win, I saw this one... and I saw the prequel (which I have read). But I didn't clock that this one was the sequel to the one I'd previously read and enjoyed. It wasn't until my win was confirmed that I realised. Anyway... it was really good to return to this world. What was interesting was that there were very few new characters introduced. Almost without exception, I felt like I was meeting a group of friends again. There were times I felt fully immersed in the action... like a part of the world. That's a feeling I don't often get now, but it's nice when I do. Despite my personal dislike for love triangles, I did find the one in this book bearable. I won't say I liked it - love triangles are so over-used now, the presence of one is a red flag for me - but it was good to see that the love triangle didn't take over the book; and the characters' feelings seemed real and easy to understand. I think I liked Mai a bit more in the previous book. In this one, his personality seemed to keep changing. It was really good to see politics used in the Guild. The danger the characters faced seemed real and kept the book intense... but a lot of the casualties were unnamed characters, which made it harder for me to care about them when they fell. I liked the descriptions used in this book. I especially liked the fact that, in my head, I could picture Mai and Kara fighting side by side. I particularly liked Celana and Ellah and I would have liked to see more of Kyth's foster brother in this book. I also really liked Kyth's evolution through the course of the story and I felt he'd really grown as a character by the end. If there's a third book in this series, I would definitely be interested in reading it. I got pulled into this world and it would be really good to see where the author takes it next.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Hauck

    I really enjoyed the first book of this series and looked forward to reading the second as the world is so rich and complex. I was taken aback by the first third of the book and it took the next third of the story to recover. The sequel was nothing like the first book. The Guild of Assassins was mainly concerned with the love life of Kara and included some quite detailed sex scenes. Spoilers ahead. Kara who threw away her place in the assassins guild for Prince Kythar, and is hunted by her former I really enjoyed the first book of this series and looked forward to reading the second as the world is so rich and complex. I was taken aback by the first third of the book and it took the next third of the story to recover. The sequel was nothing like the first book. The Guild of Assassins was mainly concerned with the love life of Kara and included some quite detailed sex scenes. Spoilers ahead. Kara who threw away her place in the assassins guild for Prince Kythar, and is hunted by her former companions for sticking with Kythar, now decides she doesn't love the prince after all. With barely a goodbye, she's having a affair with Mai the assassin who saved her life. Mai refused to kill Kara even when ordered to do so by the guild. From there it's all who does Kara really love and two lovesick men fighting and panting over her. The story is still well-written, it's just not what I expected and really nothing new about the world or plot is discovered until almost the end of the book. Mai and Kara seem perfect for each other as they are entirely perfect in their fighting ability, their composure, and their physical appearance. Mai at twenty-five steps into the guild leadership spot and is perfectly able to handle this complex role with perfect wisdom. For me, they were a little too perfect. Oh and fear not for the sad prince. A lovesick noble lady is sighing after him as well. Sadly, I really feel that I could have skipped most of the middle, gone to the ending, and not have missed much. I did like the ending battle sequences if the romantic parts with Kara and Mai could be subtracted out of them. I guess I'm not a good judge as I was expecting more fantasy and less romance. A little more focus on learning new things about their common enemy the Kaddim Brotherhood or about the world in general would have been nice. Still a good book, just not a great book for me. I received my copy from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

  27. 5 out of 5

    HBalikov

    I like my swords and sorcery less cuddly. This is not the first book in this series, but it was being pushed as a stand-alone. Kashina does attempt to bring the reader into the preceding events including the politics and power struggles going on. We have the Majat Guild of Assassins with Mai and Kara being two of the best. Mai had orders to kill Kara but chose to spare her life for personal reasons. That is the focus of this book. The tension is supplied both by the head of the Assassins Guild's I like my swords and sorcery less cuddly. This is not the first book in this series, but it was being pushed as a stand-alone. Kashina does attempt to bring the reader into the preceding events including the politics and power struggles going on. We have the Majat Guild of Assassins with Mai and Kara being two of the best. Mai had orders to kill Kara but chose to spare her life for personal reasons. That is the focus of this book. The tension is supplied both by the head of the Assassins Guild's desire to impose his will on Mai, and by the Reincarnate who heads the group of death mages who seek to dominate the world and the Court that Mai has been assigned to protect. There is romance aplenty, and here are a few examples: "Kyth noticed how Ellah's cheeks lit up with color as Mai glanced her way..." '"If you go," Kyth said, "you will negate everything Mai fought for when he spared your life." Her full lips folded into a grim line. "He put his life on the line for me." "It was his choice to make" She looked away. "I don't expect you to understand."' "His slender body, sculpted of lean, wiry muscle, emanated force that seemed to make the air around him tingle. A touch of arrogance in his gaze spelled quite a challenge, enclosing him like invisible armor." "His mind just couldn't enfold everything that was happening. The woman he loved, breaking up with him so that she could run off with another man to face certain death." "As he rounded the bend, he stopped gaping. A slender young woman with long auburn hair stood by the wall, taking aim...He couldn't see her face, the the colors of her dress, green with a thin yellow trim, left no doubt of her identity." Well, that should be enough to get the general style across. As I intimated, it is a matter of taste and you may find it more toward yours than it is toward mine.

  28. 4 out of 5

    None of your business

    Not worth it Reads like a sloppy sappy teen love story. The characters I loved in first book turn into immature sappy love sick teenagers with no brains. The whole storyline fails because of this and the poor writing that mostly emphasizes their descriptive feelings and inner voices. What a shame since the first book was halfway decent.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Chris Schroeder

    A little more emotional drama than I prefer, but it gets resolved in the end (as far as I can tell). The action sequences are broken up nicely with some dialog that includes strategy and some character enrichment. While there are some points about the ending that are a bit vague, it does lend itself to many options as the series continues.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Diane Findlay

    I found th is book to be well written and entertaining but not unputdownable I kept dippping in and out the genre is one I'm a fan of along with other family members , now I've finished its now being read by my daughter . I'm now looking for others from the series as I'm interested to know what happens next . I found th is book to be well written and entertaining but not unputdownable I kept dippping in and out the genre is one I'm a fan of along with other family members , now I've finished its now being read by my daughter . I'm now looking for others from the series as I'm interested to know what happens next .

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