An excellent read! K. E. Andrews weaves a gripping tale with layers of secrets against a sweeping tableau. Magic is fading. Does the war Malik Sethos wages have anything to do with it?
The characters are multi-dimensional and interesting, each with their own secrets, personal demons, and desires. The Prince, Raneses, his friend and the captain of the Guard, Uriah, and, most especially the eponymous assassin, Serein.
Skillfully woven are a cast of seco9ndary characters each with personality, some likeable and some not. Each character reveals something of the others they come in contact with - revealing secrets or adding layers to the ones we know.
I espcially likes the way Andrews tells the tale of Serein's "Sun and Stars" and the white voice who refers to her as "volchitsa". These two subplots, secrets of Serein's, are skillfully done and surprising in their final revelation.
The only negative is that the glossary provided at the front was needed by this reader as I was not familiar with a lot of the articles of clothing or architectural features as these were drawn (again with deftness) from a culture I am less familiar with. But after a while I knew what a riad or a qamis or a keffiyeh was.
Heartily recommended. I cannot wait for the sequel!
Me as a critic (be careful! the harshness will be well concealed!)