The Perfect Assassin is K. A. Doore’s first novel in the Chronicles of Ghadid trilogy set in a Sahara inspired fantasy world.
Amastan is an apprentice historian and a new assassin of the Basbowen family. With his assassin training finally complete, Amastan is happy to find out that there is currently a ban on contracts. Throughout his training he has become unsure if he can take a life. What seems to start off as a typical assassin story, turns into a mystery when Amastan finds the body of a local leader. Soon, more bodies start to show up including members of the Basbowen family and Amastan is ordered to solve the murders before the family can be blamed.
I really enjoyed the glimpse into the city of Ghadid we get in The Perfect Assassin. Ghadid is a city of platforms connected by bridges that is set high above the shifting sands of the desert on large pylons. From below, the shiny metal pylons make the city seem like it is flying, but they serve a more important purpose. The pylons keep the city of Ghadid safe from the migrating sand dunes that can overwhelm towns that sit on the surface, but even more importantly, the pylons draw water up from the underground aquifers.
K. A. Doore has written a really interesting desert world with a fascinating water based economy and magic system that perfectly suits the desert setting. This is also a world without homophobia and there are many different queer identities represented throughout the story.
Amastan is asexual and, as it turns out, homoromantic. He’s never been interested in sex or relationships, but then, he meets Yufit during his investigation and before he knows it he’s developed feelings. Amastan’s asexuality is never compromised as part of his romantic arc, and he makes it clear that he would never want to deliver on the sexual expectations of a relationship.
I enjoyed the mystery plot, and the budding romance, but I couldn’t get over the main conflict and the way the repercussions for that were handled. I can’t say anything about it without major spoilers.
The Perfect Assassin didn’t engage me as well emotionally as the next two books in the series. There were few interpersonal conflicts and the ones that did happen were too easily solved with too little inner conflict for their magnitude.
The Perfect Assassin was still an enjoyable read with an interesting and diverse cast, but it lacked just enough to make it only an okay read for me.