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Seventeen-year-old Zayn has special powers she cannot control—powers that others fear and covet. Powers that cause the Templar Knights to burn Zayn’s mother at the stake for witchcraft. When a mysterious stranger tempts Zayn to become the first female member of the heretical Assassins, the chance to seek her revenge lures her in. She trains to harness her supernatural strength and agility, and then enters the King of Jerusalem’s court in disguise with the assignment to assassinate Guy de Molay, her mother’s condemner. But once there, she discovers Earic Goodwin, the childhood friend who still holds her heart, among the knights—and his ocean-blue eyes don’t miss a thing. Will vengeance be worth the life of the one love she has left?

Blurb and cover from Goodreads

5 out of 5 stars
When the main character gets raped within the first three chapters, you know you’re in for a grueling, gut-wrenching ride. There was a moment where I wondered what I’d gotten myself into, but putting this book down was never an option—I’ve been hopelessly hooked since I saw the cover reveal on a friend’s blog and I downloaded it the same week it came out.

The plot:
There were lots of parts where I put down my Kindle and paced, chewing a hole in my cheek and trying to stave off a panic attack as I worried at what would happen next. At around the 90% mark I started to panic because this appears to be a standalone and things were far, far from where I wanted them to be. As for mechanics, this book was a concise, compact read that flowed smoothly and I really can’t think of anything I’d like to add to the plot.

I very much found the author’s exploration of the post-Crusade Holy Lands to be interesting. With jinn and magical cults thrown in, there’s a bit of historical reshaping, but I still thought the historical influences to be one of the main draw points for the story.

The characters:
Normally, virago characters get on my nerves very easily, but Zayn didn’t. She has so much emotional baggage and turmoil and struggles and her victories are never guaranteed, but in spite of everything she’s been through she still has a heart—you’d have to be a soulless robot not to love her.

I’ve been fantasizing about making a delivery to a Mord’Sith dungeon again. This time I would be dropping off Guy de Molay. I just…he…ugh. I’m getting angry just thinking about him. There’s a persona to bring out your inner psychopath.

I really wish Earic had gotten more time on page. He was a sweet, brave love interest and a welcome deviation from the bad boy archetypes that have been going around like a virus lately. (The scene where he turns up kind of reminded me of Ivanhoe, on a random note.)

This appears to be a standalone, but…I’m sure there could still be more to this story. The twist at the end about Earic’s friend back in England had me going “OOOOooooh” and crossing my fingers, wishing the author would write more books.

Knight Assassin is not a fluffy read, it is not a bubbly read. It will punch you right in the feels and rip you apart like a blender. But I highly, highly recommend it to anyone who loves dark fantasy, historical fantasy, or assassins. Well done, Ms. Jean, and I really, really want that sequel.

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