The Assassins of Riaz by Michael Drakich was quite an interesting story with fairly good world-building and nicely-done land rules and negotiations. It was more of a politics book, where it dealt with trade between cities and countries, and plots for power.
In Riaz, assassins are a powerful force throughout the eight realms. They are able to harness magic, which makes them formidable opponents. Kero is a young assassin in training, ward of a powerful assassin lord. During a trade negotiation involving many of the world’s countries and a plot that ricochets out of control, Kero must rely on himself, his new acquaintance, Darlee (who is a powerful warlock in her own right), and a devilish prince with questionable morality to stand against an impending war.
The language in this book was a little overdone at times, and there were a couple of battles too many that could have been cut or shortened to make this into a tighter, more engaging story. Overall, though, the plot and characters were fairly well-developed, and the story arc carried through admirably. I believe this book is part of a series, or a trilogy, and while I didn’t feel I lost any information by starting with this book, it might be useful to start with The Demon Stones and perhaps The Brotherhood of Piaxia.
This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Traanu Enterprises
Profanity/Language: 5 mild obscenities; 4 derogatory names.
Violence/Gore: Many instances of violence and gore, including but not limited to: Many characters plot and/or discuss war strategies; a character frequently sends magically animated creatures after his enemies; characters are injured by a creature’s sharp fingers; a man sets fire to stolen goods; a man is badly wounded and left to die; a man uses magic against a boy; a boy is kept prisoner in a city; a man is suspected of sneaking onto a ship, gets pummeled, bound, and dragged off to a small cell; characters are frequently threatened with bodily harm and/or death; a boy is attacked by an imp; a man strikes a boy; characters engage in occasional sea battles; character is targeted for assassination; brothers verbally argue; a character relates almost being assassinated; a girl accidentally locks onto a demonic symbol and is painfully interrogated; report of an uprising; a man is killed; characters use magic to cause harm to others; characters are wounded by magical fire; description of a man being horribly slain; a boy is knocked out and kidnapped; a boy and girl fight; a character is struck and killed by an arrow; report of a girl’s death; a boy is threatened; a man beats a boy for information; recollections of death and danger suffered by other; a boy kills a man so violently he’s covered with the dead man’s gore; a man stabs and throttles a boy; a man slaughters an entire family; a boy is critically wounded and in danger of death; a volcano erupts and lava flows toward a city; a man sacrifices himself to defeat a powerful enemy.
Sex/Nudity: A girl lifts her skirt in order to sit bare-bottomed on a rock to utilize magic; a man is in love with a girl; report of a woman’s figure, and men lusting after her; mention of a woman’s ample bosom; report of a man sleeping with a tavern wench and being careful not to impregnate her; a man assesses the pleasure a girl might give him; a man mentions girls hoping to become a prince’s consort; a man needs to relieve himself; a man notices some pretty women; women are enamored of a man; a man declines a date, despite his libido being aroused; a man flirts with two girls; a woman kisses a man; mention of which girl a man might bed; a boy has a brief flirtatious thoughts for a girl; report of a character having a creature named pleasure; a girl fantasizes about a man’s good looks; a character muses on the crush suffered by a female character; a girl’s hands roam over a man below the table; a girl undresses in anticipation of bedding a man; a man accuses another man of frequenting brothels; a girl has romantic thoughts about a prince; description of a woman’s large breasts; mention of a man trying to bed a woman; a woman snuggles with a man; a woman sashays provocatively; discussion of two women’s affections for a shallow man; mention of rape; a man contemplates marriage; women are described as buxom; a girl refuses to join a harem of convoy of a man’s women; a woman is a consort; a man asks a woman to marry him; a man kisses his demon wife; a girl kisses a boy; a sex scene which involved stripping, and while neither man or woman actually engaged in sex, the intent was there.
Mature Subject Matter:
Death of family member, assassination, physical child abuse, torture, war, rape, addictions.
Alcohol / Drug Use:
A boy hides among crates of wine; two men go to try mead at a tavern; a boy wishes to go to a tavern; report of a man getting drunk; a man refuses to drink alcohol; characters drink wine and mead; a character mentions a lack of drink; a character buys a round of drinks for locals; a man has too many libations; a man refers to a tavern as a drinking hold; a man plans to buy a round of drinks; mention of bountiful Riaz wine; a man orders wine; a man offers to buy wine for another; men drink freely of wine; a boy drinks weak beer; a man has a drink; men drink while a city burns; characters serve drinks at their job; characters smoke; report of a man drinking; an underage girl asks for a drink; an underage girl drinks too much; a man chokes on wine; a girl has a hangover headache; characters smoke; mention of a man happy with a drink in hand; mention of drinking games.