Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Book Review: Allies & Assassins by Justin Somper

#1 in the Enemies of the Prince series
Release Date: May 27, 2014
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Received: Library
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


A murdered prince, an assassin on the loose, a shady group of advisers, tensions between kingdoms? Yes, Allies and Assassins has all the making of a Small book for sure, and thankfully it lived up to almost every one of my hopes.

But I'm a character girl!
I say almost because the characters weren't quite real enough for me. I didn't dislike them, and I did actually like a lot of them, but none are particularly memorable or fleshed out beyond their surface roles. I'm intrigued by a bunch of them, but I never really felt like Justin Somper delved deep enough.

For a character reader like me, that was disappointing, but luckily everything else was so good this is only a minor complaint. Though, there is definitely a good foundation to dig in further and really develop them into fascinating characters. Since this is only part one of a series, I'm thinking this will likely happen across the story.

Trust no one

The mystery is what really hooked me and kept me reading. Information is doled out at a nice even pace, and combined with the shorter chapters I was able to fly through this big book pretty fast.

I had my suspicions early on as to who was behind the murder, and even though I was ultimately right, Justin Somper had me questioning everyone. There were several times where I was fully ready to believe the complete wrong person did it (and for the complete wrong reasons). There were also a few big surprises that I won't spoil now, but I will say my jaw very literally dropped after several totally unexpected twists.

That jacket hints at romance

Look, I'll be honest, I was hoping for a little romance between Jared and Asta. I mean, jacket blurbs can't just write "Asta and Jared take it upon themselves to hunt down his brother's assassin..." and NOT expect me to infer "and each clue they uncover propels them closer to THAT KISS." Am I right?

Apparently Justin Somper didn't get the slow burn romance memo. Asta and Jared are Just Friends.

Oh well. I'm sighing now, but by the end of this series I'm pretty positive I'm going to be clutching the books to my chest in happiness because, despite my frustration now, I think Justin Somper secretly DID get the memo and he's not going to spoil the series by doling out a premature THAT KISS.

And you know what? If that's what ends up happening, then that will be perfect.

Bottom line

This is what I was hoping The Goblin Emperor would be, so I'm happy to have found at least one book to fulfill my desire for a whodunnit within the palace walls kind of story. 

Allies and Assassins was well on its way to reading perfectly fine as, if not a standalone (because, impending war. Yay!) then at least a series start that ends nicely and allows me to wait in peace until the next book is published.

And then those last five pages totally blew any chances I might have had of being able to calmly wait until the next book comes out—which, by the way, is when??? I don't even see a title on Goodreads. How am I supposed to deal if I can't even mark the next book as "Want to Read" on my Goodreads lists??

So, clearly, I'm invested in this series and highly recommend it to fans of court fantasy and intrigue. The cover (is awful, but has good "boy appeal") screams middle grade, but it has crossover appeal to older audiences for sure, and actually touches on some not-so-middle grade subjects (so caution for younger audiences there).

Explanation of rating system: Star Rating Key 

Looking for another book like this?
You might like:

 Click on the pictures to go to my reviews.


  1. I"m beginning to see books with court intrigue pick up and circulate at my library. I'll add this one to my list when I order our new fiction. Thanks for putting it on my radar, Smalls!

  2. Thank goodness for a series read that doesn't leave on completely hanging on for the next. These days I am so afraid to pick up anything that is part of a series...but it seems harder and harder to find something that is not.


It's all about friendly conversation here at Small Review :) I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Be sure to check back again because I do make every effort to reply to your comments here.

Because I am absolutely terrible about following through with blog awards, I can't in good conscience accept any more. Thank you very much for thinking of me though!

Spam WILL be deleted. Attacks on myself or other comments WILL be deleted.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...