Thana is the daughter of the Serpent, Ghadid’s most famous, or infamous, assassin. Trained to be an assassin since childhood, Thana has a lot to live up to. And where an opportunity to prove herself arrives, Thana is quick to jump for the chance, no matter how dangerous it may be.
Her first failed attempt sees her target, Heru, fleeing out onto the sands. Thana follows him to the Empire, ready to do what it takes and to be the first assassin to have gone this far for a contract. But along the way things don’t go according to plan. Hordes of the undead, a distracting healer, and a target who might not be as sinister as expected complicate the process.
I liked Thana. She is young and brash, she doesn’t always make the best decisions, but she is determined. A lot of the emotional and relationship conflict that I found lacking in The Perfect Assassin was delivered in The Impossible Contract. The barrier in Mo and Thana’s budding relationship is something that can be realistically worked through and overcome and I thought that it played into the plot well.
An interesting thing to note is that K. A. Doore actually wrote The Impossible Contract as a standalone, but Tor wanted a trilogy. She was only able to see the story progressing forward by one more book, so wrote The Perfect Assassin as a prequel after the fact. I feel like you can tell that The Impossible Contract was the story she set out to write in comparison to The Perfect Assassin.
The Impossible Contract has a great cast of interesting and fleshed out characters. I really liked Heru because he is the most complex character of the bunch. Mo and Thana’s characters are quite straightforward and they fit well together and within their own narratives. Heru is Thana’s bad guy, but he doesn’t turn out to be THE bad guy – after all, those undead army’s mentioned in the synopsis aren’t just after Thana.
Another one of the reasons that I enjoyed The Impossible Contract more than The Perfect Assassin is that the events of the novel are on a much grander scale. It starts off small, but builds up slowly, suddenly turning into something much bigger than Ghadid.
I would definitely recommend The Impossible Contract as a diverse sapphic fantasy novel.