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Assassin Fantastic Mass Market Paperback – July 1, 2001
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That being said, there's one thing assassins do. They kill, or at least try to. A book full of assassin stories, no matter how varied the collection tries to make the stories, does get a bit tiresome if they are are not all superlative.
In this case, the middle stories are particularly weak. Halfway through the book I was composing a three star review. However, the beginning and end containg strong stories.
Particulary strong are the Tanya Huff story, the Edgehill, Lindskold and West. One of the joys of short story collections is the introduction to new authors. In this case I will definitely be picking up the Huff, Lindskold and West novels featuring these characters and/or locales.
The stories that I became most engaged in were Tanya Huff's "Death Rites" where if anyone has read here two novels about the brother/sister assassin duo Bannon and Vree (respectively), then you'd enjoy this little tale. It's just a one-shot story that doesn't try to develop much of who they are. It's better if you've read the stories and know the characters, because you can certainly catch several instances of continuity with the novels. The story doesn't try to do too much and that makes the plot so much better.
Teresa Edgerton's "Dying By Inches" also jumped off the beaten path about a woman seeking revenge on the man who wrought so much trouble for her and her family. This story focuses more on a moral dilemma than an assassination.
Kristin Rusch's "Coin of the Realm" was also an enveloping story about a princess on her way to her wedding. You see the end coming a mile away, but the writing and characterization made it worth reading. It's smart but easy and that worked very well.
Lynn Flewelling is an author who I enjoy, but she failed to capture me with her story-within-a-story, "Raven's Cut." It was just icky and dumb.
Anna Oster's "History and Economics" was a great premise but ended up vague, confusing, and one step away from snuff porn. Very unlikely that the guy going after the assassin who killed his sister would end up so familiar with the killer.
I was very disappointed in P. N. Elrod's yakkity story, "Myhr's Adventure in Hell." Yep...that about sums it up. I was in hell.
The rest other handful of stories were bland, poorly written, and/or submitted solely for getting a known author. In the case of the latter, the work produced by the author felt more like a writing excersize than an actual attempt at a story.
In this book there are 15 stories of assassins who are unique characters unto themselves, and no where near typical.
My favorites were Death Rites, about the brother sister team of Vree and Bannon, assassins for the empire. Also Coin of the Realm, which gave a very interesting twist, and Darkness Comes Together, about an assassin who is nearly as dangerous to his employer as his mark.
Echos was a good story to me, but then I have read the other books featuring Kallandras. For thoses who haven't, it may just be a little confusing.
I didn't care much for He, or for History and Economics or Dying By Inches. They seemed a little stilted, and not quite as smoothly flowing as some of the others.
But all in all, this was a good book, especially if you enjoy tales of darkness and deception, and of the ever mysterous assassin.
All assassin lovers should give this book a try.