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Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
My mother once told me life is a lot like a card game.
She said you can either accept the hand you have been dealt, or you can create a new play, make your own rules, and win the game one card at a time.
I loved my mother with all my heart. She’s gone now. He took both my parents away from me. I’m talking about the Angel of Chaos, the one who plans to destroy both the human world and mine.
I can’t let that happen. He and the ones who serve him have already taken so much from me. I do believe it’s time for a little payback. I will have the final say. With my lover by my side, I can conquer anything.
I will turn the game around…and win.
For I am the assassin; and revenge will be my rose.
Note: The author is my friend, but that has absolutely nothing to do with my opinion of the book or my review of it.
I am a butterfly.
ARC, p. 2
Desi has a secret. Her lover and mentor, Seth Alton, does, too. Her best friend, Keta, has a few of her own. And her teacher, head Alchemist Mabry, doesn’t lack any, either. Piece by piece and little by little, “Assassin’s Rose” unveils the convoluted understory to the relatively uncomplicated surface of events that lead to Desi’s secrets and those of the ones she cares most about.
My secrets will stay in my house of pain; the place where revenge lies inside me, waiting for its rebirth like a newborn’s soul.
ARC, p. 3
Now, I read and loved both When Copper Suns Fall and When Silver Moons Rise, in which these characters persist, so I was no stranger to them—although there are a few new faces. Nevertheless, every character felt distinguished in their own right, not to mention surprisingly multifaceted for such a short read. Although “Assassin’s Rose” is novella-length, reading it felt full-blown novelized because of its depth and numerous nuances dealing with issues like first love, stealthy affairs, familial discord, death and imprisonment… you know, all the good things in life.
Revenge demands respect. Honor is simply a prize awarded at the end of the game.
ARC, p. 15
I have to admit, although “Assassin’s Rose” takes places in the same universe as the Lost Immortals, it felt worlds different due to author Leigh’s writing style. I swear the woman’s skill has evolved into a brand new, barely-recognizable life form! The writing is clear and fluid without losing its poetic resonance, and I sank right into it flawflessly.
I don’t dare breathe, probably couldn’t even inhale if I wanted. Something deeper than darkness lies in the way he moves, talks and stares at me. An abyss… that’s what I see in his eyes. When he glances at me, I fall in deeper each time.
ARC, p. 16
The internal struggle Desi wars with throughout the latter half of the novella really did it for me, in the end, I think. I love a good conflicted character—be he anti-hero or just a hero—and Desi gives it up in droves. I felt so bad for the girl, yet so connected to her at the same time, that I feel like I need to give Copper Suns another read-through, given this new light I see her in.
Who is this person I’m becoming? Do I even like this girl? I’m not for sure, but I think a small part of me prefers the hard edge of the Desmond inside me. I was never this way before my parents died three years ago. Being utterly dependent on another human being signified weakness, my father always said. Yet, here I lie; chest aching, hands sweating, body trembling as I become the very thing I fear the most — a soft girl. I turn into a puddle of batting eyelashes and sappy heartbeats. Each time he touches me, I scatter into a thousand drops of water splashed all over the floor.
ARC, p. 16
All in all, “Assassin’s Rose” is the perfect endeavor. It’s the perfect length, the perfect amount of intrigue and deception, the perfect construct of vitality, in every aspect it pursued. I applaud KaSonndra Leigh for this effort, and it’s pretty much solidified my status as a loyal follower for the rest of her book-writin’ days. Which, for me, is such a difficult feat to accomplish, that only a handful of other authors have also made that list. Three, to be exact. (Not including mangaka. Haha.)
Keep ’em comin’, Leigh.