- File Size: 3061 KB
- Print Length: 308 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Lotus Press (July 27, 2015)
- Publication Date: July 27, 2015
- Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01074SV5Y
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,688 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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The Bloodless Assassin: Sword and Steampunk (The Viper and the Urchin Book 1) Kindle Edition
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"The Viper and the Urchin is fast-paced, exciting, and simply entertaining." - Leah Gonzalez for Readers' Favorite
"This is absolutely one of the best books I've read from an independent author... Sharp, fun, clever, and intriguing, with characters I can't wait to see again in the next book. Though the world is fascinating, the writing gorgeous and the plot fast-paced and intriguing, I think the characters are my favourite part...Definitely worth picking up." - Kate Sparkes, author of the Bound Trilogy
About the Author
Celine Jeanjean is French, grew up in the UK and now she travels the world as a nomadic writer. That makes her a tad confused about where she is from. During her travels she's watched the sun rise over Angkor Wat, lost her shoes in Vietnam, and fallen off a bamboo raft in China.
Celine writes stories that feature quirky characters and misfits, and her books are a mixture of steampunk, fantasy and humour.
You can learn about new releases, and get an exclusive novella in The Viper and the Urchin series over at: http://celinejeanjean.com/the-pickpocket/
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Well, Longinus, and the book, did not disappoint. In fact, I’d say they both exceeded my expectations. Right from the opening pages, I was sitting there grinning like a fool as Longinus performs one of his famed assassinations–with all its unexpected flair. He is a man with a muse, and when the muse speaks, one must always listen, even while offing hapless victims, it seems.
He is also a man of refinement, and of unabashed self-importance who’s not afraid to show open contempt for those whom he deems beneath him, which, incidentally, is almost everyone. That kind of snobbery is incredibly entertaining, and so the bulk of my reading experience was me lounging around, giggling and grinning and thoroughly enjoying pretty much every minute of this novel.
Yet Longinus isn’t the only protagonist of the story—he shares that honor with Rory, a scrappy young urchin gal who’s got about as much refinement as a mud-clad goat. Story magic happens when these two characters are thrown together to create a dynamic that’s both entertaining as well as touching. Because beneath Longinus’ bluster and Rory’s sarcastic sass are two characters with great big hearts, who are just trying to survive in a rather cruel world as best they can.
I feel like a subtitle for this book should be “Rise of the Underdogs” or something like that, because that’s pretty much what this story is. It’s a story of two downtrodden characters and their struggle in life—both against their own personal demons as well as against all the crap the world throws at them. And in a city like Damsport, there’s definitely a lot of crap being flung around (figuratively, of course, though I’d not be surprised if it also happened literally—Damsport just seems like that kind of place).
Now, I’m not always a fan of city settings, and perhaps less so of tropical ones, so that was probably my biggest reservation when I started reading this book. But it works. And I think it works partially from the imaginative steampunk elements (Crazy Willy was just brilliant), as well as the evocative descriptions that anchor you in the story. Whether it was running along the rooftops with Rory, or struggling to navigate through a crowded market—I felt like I was there, and it was a city I’d never seen before, and that’s pretty magical.
All in all, a very enjoyable book. It’s funny, it’s endearing, and it’s well worth a read.
**I recieved a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.**
Rory is somewhere around the age of eighteen, and making ends meet picking pockets and the like with her partner in crime, Jake. She’s saving up to travel with a master swordsman and achieve her dream being just like the Scarred Woman, a swordswoman whose work she witnessed ten years prior. This all goes wrong thanks to a betrayal from Jake, and Rory is on her own.
The Viper, aka Longinus, is a master assassin with the invention of numerous deadly poisons to his name, but he has a secret: he has a debilitating fear of blood. When Rory witnesses an assassination gone wrong and learns of his secret, she blackmails him into teaching her to swordfight. But as they begin training, the victims of a copycat assassin start appearing, and Longinus and Rory are both in mortal danger.
Rory is a great character; she’s streetwise, but not ridiculously capable, like some street urchin characters tend to be. She also talks like street urchin, instead of sounding exactly like every other character in the book. Someone needs to give Longinus a hug, except be careful how you do it, because there will be hell to pay if you ruin his clothes. He’s a bit ridiculous, but it made him more endearing.
The world of Damsport is rich in both geography and history, and yet it didn’t overpower the story. The reason I have never been able to read a lot of Steampunk is because it tends to get very caught up in “look at all these cool gadgets and this world I’m creating!” and the story and characters suffer from it. The Viper and the Urchin did not suffer from this problem.
The ending resolves enough to feel satisfying, but there is definitely set-up for subsequent books. I for one can’t wait to see Longinus spend more time around Lady Martha; it’s going to be hilarious. My problem now is that the book was only released a month ago, so I’m going to have to wait (not so) patiently for the next one!
Top international reviews
It's not a Steampunk book. There is a bit of steam tech, but it isn't central to the plot. And there's no discernible punk.
The world-building is not bad, but not quite detailed enough and some of it doesn't make sense: where does the ruler come from and how does she built a freeport in a place with no natural resources?
The lead character, Rory, is well-drawn and I liked and identified with her, but the 'sassy street urchin/thief who turns out to be smarter than the bad guys and girls' has been done many times before. I waited in vane - so far - for a real twist on this.
That said, the apparently rather amusing idea of an assissin who can't stand the sight or smell of blood turns out to be a very clever idea that makes sense of his behaviour and the villainess is a truly nasty piece of work.
I'll get the next book and see how things develop.
of blood made him vomit and faint! Despite this we are supposed to believe he was a master swordsman,
even though he preferred to kill using poisons.
When street urchin, Rory, discovers his secret, she blackmails him because she wants to learn to sword fight.
She became a thorn in his side, though they did learn to get on after a while.
Together they had to foil a plot by somebody wanting to kill the female leader of the country.
There were some interesting characters in the book and it was an o.k. read but I wouldn't rush to read more
in the series.
And because this is a first novel, I was particularly impressed with the characters. I believe character development - or rather, lack thereof - is the reason that so many novels fail (The Girl on The Train comes to mind and gets a special mention for worst character construction of 2015). Jeanjean creates characters I can believe in, even if they've all been sprinkled with a bit of fairy (or goblin) dust. Little by little as the plot unfurls, Longinus, Rory, steampunk motherly Cruikshank and the enigmatic Marchioness all come to life and the author allows them to grow and live without interference. In fact, it is this self-assurance that made me love the novel most: the writer is comfortable with her story and characters, she's had fun writing them and she feels confident in her material. I have the feeling she enjoyed writing the novel as much as I enjoyed reading it. I am looking forward to the next installment and to learn more about Rory, Longinus and their adventures.
The characters are lively and well drawn. When not fighting villainous protagonists, they have to overcome their own limitations. As such it is as much a book about human development as a tale of derring do. Though the rip-roaring pace, funny dialogue and ongoing action means it never descends into mawkish, navel gazing. Rather it is well rounded with a range of interesting characters, snappy one-liners and unexpected plot twists. All of which keep this fantasy world fresh, crisp and relavent.
You can find much more information about the protagonists and plot devices in other reviews. I never quite how much is too much when revealing a narrative, so I’ll conclude by saying it is both fun and thoughtful. An intriguing first instalment in what, I think, will be a popular series. And deservedly so.
I'm giving it 4 stars because I think the books can only get better and I need to have a star in hand.
Both the characters and the world of Damsport are enchanting and well developed, for example within the first chapter I already had developed a strong connection with Longinus and his evident quirks and as the story developed so did my vision of the world of Damsport and all its charm, grit and history.
Really enjoyable read, can't wait for the next instalment
Simply 'The Viper and Urchin' is a must buy, must read and the writer must bring out book number two soon; as I need the next installment in the adventure.