Assassin's Blood

Epirus, Book 1

Fiction - Science Fiction
110 Pages
Reviewed on 05/31/2017
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Assassin's Blood: Epirus, Book 1 is a science fiction novella written by H.A. Osborne. Laoise Rek was not at all like her sisters or her mother, Minara. The Barga were a matriarchal race, and Minara had been training her two elder daughters to take over the family business when she passed on. Laoise had no interest in being tethered to a business. She took after her more nomadic father, who felt a kinship with, and expressed approval of, her free spiritedness and imagination. Laoise was seventeen, on the cusp of being a woman, and yet she had no idea what she would do with her life. All that changed when the darkly sinister Seni, Binja Tur, entered her mother’s stall. She was the only person there that day, but it seemed as though he had come there just to speak with her. To the young woman, Tur appeared to understand her need for something more than a life devoted to the family business, and his invitation to meet with him later that evening was something deliciously dangerous and infinitely appealing.

H.A. Osborne’s science fiction novella, Assassin's Blood: Epirus, Book 1, is a compelling and thought-provoking tale about a young woman who comes of age in service to a charismatic and brutal master. I was fascinated by the setting of the story and the descriptions of the four disparate races found in the Epiran universe, who, at the time of this story, have agreed on a grudging and unsettled peace. Laoise’s ethnic background as a Barga, a matriarchal-based race, makes her interactions with Tur intriguing to watch as the two play out a complicated game of dominance and submission. Assassin’s Blood is well-written, and I found that I was swiftly engaged in the story and concerned about Laoise’s well-being. Osborne’s characters are great fun to watch, and her plot works quite well. Assassin's Blood: Epirus, Book 1 is most highly recommended.

Lit Amri

Assassin’s Blood (Epirus, Book 1) by H.A. Osborne is a sci-fi fantasy novella about a hired assassin named Laoise Rek and her struggle to gain back her freedom. The intriguing story concept grabbed my attention right away. Despite some evident inspirations from RPGs, the world building is impressive and an enjoyable universe to be explored. The different races, their background, and traits are particularly interesting to me. The prose is straightforward yet evoking the story quite well. That said, I was a little lost for a while with the timeline, as the story moved from present to Laoise’s past and back to the present again.

Protagonist Laoise Rek was tricked and kidnapped by Binja Tur at 17. She was immediately trained as an assassin. Tough but also vulnerable, she lacks caution at times, a glaring contradiction to her reputation as the best in the field. This, of course, creates conflict with her owner and dictates her decisions as she struggles to free herself from him. The mostly character-driven plot is well-written, although I think some turns of events can be fleshed out more. Some characters have little appearance or stay in the background despite their important role in the story, such as Lady Mena. She never shows up but clearly demonstrates her interest in Laoise. That said, I’m sure the next book will give more room for these characters to be developed. On the whole, Osborne’s Assassin’s Blood is a fast read and a good debut for the series.

Janelle Alex, Ph.D.

Not one's typical science fiction novel, but still a uniquely entertaining tale, H.A. Osborne's Assassin's Blood (Epirus Book 1) will keep readers turning pages. A young woman, Laoise Rek, escapes the overbearing and watchful eye of her mother, only to became an assassin. Yet, it was ultimately not by choice. Instead, she was forced into it by her captor, Binja Tur. She is highly trained as a murderer, but would really like to escape this second prison in her life. Whether or not she is able to accomplish that starts to really shine through about halfway into the story. She truly dreams of more in life, and as a strong woman she intends to attain those dreams, one way or the other.

Assassin's Blood is action packed and moves at a fast pace. The vivid and creative writing style of H.A. Osborne easily paints a dramatic picture for the readers, which makes one quickly develop an affection for Laoise. Yet, Osborne's skill helps readers embrace other characters as well, including Vespra, the slave girl who tends to Laoise. Assassin's Blood is very well-written. There are really only hints of science fiction within the storyline, which may be a deterrent for big science-fiction fans. However, Osborne's Assassin's Blood is still highly entertaining and does a good job of setting the stage for the other books in the Epirus series. It leaves the reader in great anticipation of what may become of Laoise Rek. Excellent cliff hanger ending, but done in a way that also allows Assassin's Blood to be a stand alone novel as well.

Kayti Nika Raet

Assassin's Blood by H.A. Osborne is the first book in the Epirus Trilogy, a sci fi novel set in a distant galaxy where murder is not quite legal, but slavery is. Laoise Rek is an assassin, tricked into the trade by Binja Tur who hides his brutality behind a charming facade. Five years into her new life, Laoise decides to risk everything for freedom and escape the bloodshed her world has become, but to do that she must complete one last mission. All she has to do is not get caught.

Assassin's Blood by H.A. Osborne is a fast paced and engrossing read filled with tension throughout. It is more of a long novella than a full blown novel, but there are three books in the series, which is great since Laoise is such a compelling character. Osborne gives the reader just a taste of this world with Assassin's Blood, and I found myself eager for more by the time it was finished. The setting is sparse, but not in a way that will leave the reader confused, with just enough description to give the reader a taste of the otherworldly. The bad guys in Assassin's Blood are fairly one dimensional, but Binja Tur has such an insidious presence that I found myself holding my breath during every one of Laoise's interactions with him, the tension rising with each page. Assassin's Blood is a good, quick read for anyone looking to dive into a light world of sci fi. Fans of Osborne's previous books are sure to enjoy this one.

Samantha Dewitt (Rivera)

Laoise only wanted a little bit of fun and adventure when she slipped away from her family all those years ago. She didn’t know she would find herself in the middle of something she could not escape from. But what’s a young girl to do when she finds her entire world taken away from her in just one night? For Laoise, rolling over and accepting defeat is just a strategy, until she can find another way to save herself and possibly someone else as well. But can she come to terms with the life she has to live in the meantime? Or will the assassin’s life tear her apart with guilt and pain? Assassin’s Blood by H.A. Osborne is going to take you on that adventure.

Laoise is a character that anyone would want to read about. She’s intriguing and strong-willed. She doesn’t give up, no matter what happens, and she’s flawed in ways that are just like anyone else. She’s someone that you want to succeed, but at the same time she’s struggling to survive. This book is full of adventure and just the right amount of romance (though whether that romance is a good thing is something else entirely). It’s definitely a book you’ll want to read and you’ll be looking for the next one as soon as you’re done. Assassin’s Blood by H.A. Osborne is a book that you won’t want to miss.