The Crown Conspiracy

The Crown Conspiracy (The Riyria Revelations #1) by Michael J. Sullivan

Hadrian Blackwater and Royce Melbourn are two of the greatest thieves you could ever go against. Their duo goes by the name Riyria, that name being known throughout the land.

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At the beginning of the novel, the two are heading to work on a job when they are stopped by some thieves. All they have to do is say who they and they scare the others off like rabbits.

They head off to try and rob Archie Ballentyne, the Earl of Chadwick, by breaking into his impenetrable tower.

Meanwhile, Archie Ballentyne has been waiting for Marquis Victor Lanaklin. Archie has unsuccessfully been trying to woo his daughter, Alenda, as he is after the Lanaklin lands. He has managed to intercept some of her private love letters to the rebel Degan Gault, and wants to use them as leverage with the father. In order to keep them safe he has locked then in his study in the crown tower, a gigantic tower with only one entrance, the only one who can open it being Archie.

But when he goes to show the letters, they are MISSING! They have been stolen, along with the Marquis’ carriage. Who could have done this? Riyria.

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Riyria return back to their pub and deliver the goods to Alenda, receiving their payments. But just as one job is finished, there appears there is another who wishes their services.

Hadrian goes to meet with the man, Baron Delano DeWitt. He has a job that needs to be done tonight. Sadly, Baron DeWitt has committed the biggest mistake anyone in that region could, he looked upon the wife of the master swordsman, Colonel Pickering. Colonel Pickering will duel anyone who stares at his wife, and with his skill he is impossible to beat.

Colonel Pickering’s only weakness? His special rapier that he cannot fight without. Baron DeWitt has stolen the sword and hid it in the castle’s chapel and he wants Riyria to smuggle the sword out of the castle before they search and  find it. Now Riyria has a rule about accepting rush jobs, they don’t. But Hadrian isn’t really a thief, he has a warrior’s heart. He likes things to be fair or to fight for something “right”, justice, etc.

He has felt a little disheartened at stealing things for royals, then notifying the party they stole from to get payment to steal it back. This is a job that will mean something. Plus the pay is really good.

Royce was raised on the streets and has been a thief as far back as he can remember. He has no qualms about what they do, and because of what he has been through he is also extremely suspicious. He does not want to take this job, but Hadrian convinces him it is worth it as they will get 200 gold tenets.

That night they sneak into the castle and into its chapel. They go to search for the sword but find the king, dead.

As their minds grasp the situation, a dwarf starts screaming out that they killed the king. Guards swarm on them and they end up locked up in the dungeon. Yes, someone murdered the king and framed them. But who? And why?

Alric Essendon wakes from a tumble with a maid to discover he is the new King. He is furious over the death and prepares a horrible punishment as his revenge.

Meanwhile, Hadrian and Royce await their fate in the dungeon; Hadrian wishing he hadn’t tried to take the job and Royce wishing he had talked Hadrian out of it. To their surprise they receive a royal visit from princess Arista Essendon.

Arista questions them, and Hardrian tells her the story, claiming they did not kill her father. And to their surprise, she believes them.

Arista is not like other women. Her father sent her to University and she studied the lost art of magic. She had been given a warning about the threat upon her father’s life but unfortunately didn’t heed it. Now she wants to hire the two to kidnap her brother.

Hadrian and Royce are surprised, but Arista explains that she thinks someone is after the Essendon line and wants to kill her brother as well. She wants them to smuggle him out of the castle and go to Gutaria Prison, the secret ecclesiastical jail. They they will meet the wizard, Esrahaddon, who will be able to guide her brother. They think it is odd, but faced with death, they take the job.

What other choice do we have?

Arista has a complete plan in place. She will send two monks in to administer the last rites and have the two unchained to pray. They will knock the monks out, switch clothes and meet her in the kitchen where she will have Alric.

Everything goes off without a hitch as they head off to the prison to find Esrahaddon, the wizard. As they continue their quest they run into a monk with a photographic memory that survived a massacre; a hidden prison that not only is built into a rock wall but once you enter cannot leave; the great wizard Esrahaddon who has been alive for eons; and secret church and government plot to answer the legend of the god Novron’s son and unite all the kingdoms under one rule!

Meanwhile, Arista tries to rule in her brother’s place but finds treachery very close to home. They try to brand her a witch and kill her.

Will this ragtag group be able save the throne? Or will they be outwitted and destroyed by these agents of Novron?

Thoughts After Reading:

I started reading this book, and I could not put it down. It is that amazing!

Luckily, my book had one and two in it as I quickly consumed it, and then searched for the rest in the series.

It is an amazing book trhat I highlyt recommend for Lord of the Rings fans or anyone who likes fantasy with a little mystery thrown in.

For more fantasy-mystery, go to Gates of Thread and Stone

For more magic and sorcery, go to The Emperor’s Edge

Emilie & the Hollow World

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Emilie & the Hollow World (Emilie Adventures #1) by Martha Wells

Emilie is living in an 19th century-esque world. She has decided to run away as her aunt and uncle are extremely controlling and always insinuating that she is a wanton women, ready to “whore” it up.

Seriously!

She is going to visit her cousin who runs a school, and work there. Only problem, she doesn’t have enough money to sail there.

But Emilie is of plucky stock and decides to stowaway on a boat. Unfortunately, she ends up stumbling upon a thief ring and a group of sabotagers. She saves the ship she was going to stowaway on, one belonging to Lord Engal.

As the ship sails away, it turns out that they are leaving the country and heading to the center of the Earth. The ship is lead by Lord Engal and Lady Marlende as she is searching for her missing father, Dr. Marlende, his ship damaged inside the Earth.

Also on board is Kennar, a Cirathi which is a creature from inside the planet but traveled out to seek aid for Dr. Marlende.

When they go inside the Earth, they encounter all kinds of strange creatures, get involved in an underearth war, and find themselves caught in betrayal and sabotage.

Emilie is going to have to use every ounce of nerve she has to overcome these obstacles and survive.

Hopefully…

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Thoughts After Reading:

I thought this book was fantastically written. For those who are a fan of steam punk, Jules Verne, and fantasy stories, will love this book.

I thought the characters were all well written and fun. Emilie was a normal girl, who was thrown into incredible situations and able to overcome and work with them.

I loved her interactions with one of the sailor/sorcerer Daniel and hope more develops from them. They were hilarious and fun.

Aw, how cute.

I only had two issues with this book:

1) I hate when books have the character Emily spelled Emilie. For some reason my brain keeps reading it as Emil. It’s not the author’s fault, but just a pet peeve of mine.

2) I wish the author gave more background as to Emilie’s world (the non-hollow part). The author just drops us into it, but we never get a lot about the culture. I mean I assume it is similar to our earth, but I don’t know. I think the book would be stronger if they gave us more on that aspect.

Otherwise, I loved it and recommend it.

Read it today!

For more fantasy books, go to Just Because You’re Paranoid, Doesn’t Mean a Demon’s Not After You: Storm Front

For more steam punk books, go to Ticker

For more mysteries involving a missing person, go to B is for Burglar

For more mystery reviews, go to Gingerbread Cookie Murder

Just Because You’re Paranoid, Doesn’t Mean a Demon’s Not After You: Storm Front

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Storm Front (The Dresden Files #1) by Jim Butcher

So I was first introduced to this series by my friend. She was an avid reader, and you know how when you have something you like, you try to get all of your friends into it.

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Anyways, we had gone on a road trip and were on our way back to our apartment, but were so tired. Halfway, we realized we wouldn’t make it unless we had something to boost us. She decided now was the perfect time to introduce me to the book series. We listened to 1/3-1/2 of the book, and by then it was too late. I was hooked and had to head to library to check out a copy to read now.

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The Review:

So Harry Dresden is a wizard.

What?

Yes, you heard correctly. He is a wizard in modern day Chicago, and has his own P.I. office, HARRY DRESDEN-WIZARD. Lost Items Found. Paranormal Investigations. Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates. NO Love Potions, Endless Purses, Parties, or Other Entertainment.

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Things have been really slow for Harry these past few months. The last thing he’s done was investigate a country singer’s “haunted house”. It turned out to be nothing but the singer’s drug addiction, but when Harry told him that, he fired him and then hired some shyster who did an “exorcism”. It seems some people just don’t want the truth.

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This day Harry was planning on going through a new box of books, as there was nothing else to do, when he gets a call.

A woman, Monica, is looking for her husband. He asks her to check with the police or a regular private investigator, but she refuses saying she needs a wizard’s help. They make an appointment, an hour later.

Immediately the phone rings again, and it’s Lt. Karrin Murphy from the Chicago Police Department (CPD). She’s the director of Special Investigations, set to investigate anything unusual.

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Vampire attacks, troll marauding, and faery abductions of children, etc.

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Murphy’s found some bodies and wants Harry there now. Harry tells her she has an appointment, but Murphy tells him he needs to come her NOW, and to not eat lunch. It’s ugly.

Uh-oh

Uh-oh

Harry leaves  note and heads on his way.

Murphy is short and petite but tough as nails. She has to be in order to succeed as a female cop.

She and Harry get along but have their differences. Murphy is a modern women, while much of Harry’s morals, values, and manners are, in her view, dated. He likes to open doors for women, pick up the check, protect them; etc. Murphy also doesn’t like his look of a leather duster, she thinks is also dated. However, she believes what he says is the truth and not crazy, and is one of the few willing to look into his eyes and do a Soul Gaze.

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Soul Gaze is when you look into a wizard’s eyes directly, and when you do so you see a window into their soul. It doesn’t relay specific information (you can’t use it to interrogate someone), but it does give one a vague impression on whether they’re trustworthy or not, or if they’ve been psychically harmed, etc. A lot of people don’t like it, so not many dare meet his eyes.

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They go into the suite, where they meet up with Detective Carmichael, Murphy’s partner, and the most unbelieving soul you will ever meet.

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The two people had obviously met for sex, and they find them in the bed. The creepy part? Their chests have exploded, as if they had a bomb in their chest.

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Harry feels like throwing up, but tries to stay strong. The only way to do something like this is to use magic to wreak harm, in violation of the First Law, established by the White Council, the people who police Wizards.

The only way to accomplish such a feat is through Thaumaturgy. Thaumaturgy is when you make something happen on a small scale, and give it enough energy to happen on a large scale; but to do something like that you would need something that connected to the victims like hair, fingernails, or blood.

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To do this you need really strong emotions, revenge most likely. She or He choose the moment when the two would be having sex, as this extremely angered her or him, making the killer most likely a spouse or ex-lover.

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It turns out the girl is Jennifer Stanton, a prostitute who at the Velvet Room for Bianca. Bianca is a Vampiress. Not good. And the man? Tommy Tomm, Gangster “Gentleman” Johnny Marcone. Ouch. Not good and a WIDE suspect pool.

Uh-oh

Uh-oh

Murphy wants Harry to investigate how this could have happened, but Harry really doesn’t want to. You see Murphy doesn’t know everything about Harry. Harry has a dark past and the Doom of Damocles hanging over his head. If he is found guilty of violating one of the Seven Laws of Magic, the Doom would drop. If he started putting together a murder spell, that’s all that’s needed for those who dislike him to push for the Doom to start.

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Murphy yells at him, and it makes him feel bad so he agrees. He just hopes that the Council will understand.

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Harry runs back to the office for his appointment, when he is approached by two giant men who force him into the limo. In the back he sees a handsome, unassuming man, in casual clothes. Who are you? Johnny Marcone.

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“Gentleman” Johnny Marcone is a blessing and a curse to the Chicago area. On one hand he deals in everything from drugs, to robbers, etc. On the other hand, with him in charge, everything is controlled. He runs his organization tiptop, and if anybody new comes on the scene, they get taken out.

Marcone wants Harry to not investigate the case. He’s willing to pay him for two weeks, $16800, to take a vacation. It intrigues Harry, but he is even more curious about why he doesn’t want Harry looking into the deaths.

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He refuses.

Marcone stares Harry right in the face, never flinching, extremely scary. But Harry stays firm, and Marcone warns Harry not to upset him. He drops Harry off at his office, and Harry feels a bit grim about everything, but at least he’s on time for Monica.

Monica is very uneasy and unsure about being here. Her husband, Victor Sells, has been missing for three days, and she came to Harry because she thinks that he might be able to help as her husband was very into magic.

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After careful waiting, Monica tells Harry a few clues. They have a lake house he could check out and she’s willing to pay the money. So they strike a deal and she heads on her way.

Harry checks his mail and discovers a dried out scorpion. Scorpions are very powerful symbols and could be dangerous. It creeps Harry out, but he thinks he’s overreacting and dumps it in his desk.

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Harry decides to reward his good fortune of two jobs, and head down to McAnally’s Pub, an old fashioned restaurant. Mac is Harry’s best friend and seemingly the only one he can talk to. Today the hot news is the Third Eye drug ravaging the city. The Third Eye is a powerful drug that gives you temporary abilities, and is extremely addictive. People will do anything in order to get it. It is really hurting the city.

Susan Rodriguez comes into the pub to talk to Harry. She is a journalist for the Arcane, a tabloid, and is always trying to get something out of Harry. She is very sexy and uses her appeal to get things out of others. So far it hasn’t worked on Harry, his past has kept him from getting close to anyone, but it’s been a long time and a date with Susan sounds great.

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That night Harry heads over to the lake house with ingredients. Time to do some spell casting.

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Harry sets a trap to catch a faery so that he can question him. When Toot arrives he’s quite angry with Harry, but after some bargaining, Harry gets him calmed down.

Toot tells Harry that pizza arrived the other night and the humans were “sporting”. “Sporting” to fairies means sex. And a lot of it, there must have been an orgy or something.

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Harry is thinking about what it all means, when his worst nightmare shows up. Morgan, a member of the White Council, who wants Harry dead. He tries to get at Harry, saying that he was the one who killed the two people. Sadly, Morgan won’t stop until he has proof that Harry killed them.

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Harry is too keyed up after talking with Morgan, and heads down in his basement to work. There also lives his cat Mister, and Bob, an extremely old wizard trapped in a skull, the wizard computer. Harry needs Bob’s help to make an escape potion, but Bob won’t assist unless they do something fun, like make a love potion.

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The next night Harry goes to see Bianca. To prepare himself, he wears a silver pentacle on a silver chain and a folded white cloth.

When he gets there, the guards remove some of Harry’s items, his cane and knife. But they stupidly let him pass with the cloth and pentacle.

Harry asks Biamca about Jennifer and she freaks out trying to kill him. Luckily he has that cloth, which contains a sunlight potion, releasing it on her. From there the beautiful woman is gone, and this ugly winged creature remains.

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Harry also uses the pentacle to protect himself, leaving the two at a draw. Bianca doesn’t trust him and he doesn’t trust her. He is trying to find Jennifer’s killer, but Bianca thinks he is the real murderer.

Eventually, Harry convinces Bianca to sit and talk. Bianca liked Tommy Tomm, he treated the girls nice. He sent Jennifer that night, but has no idea who would want them dead. She sends him to go after Linda Randall, old friend of Jennifer.

HMMM

Harry has to leave quickly, as he is bleeding and hungering Bianca. He calls Linda, but she won’t speak to him. So he goes to find her.

Linda works as a driver now, but in the past was a prostitute too, and she is very sexual in everything. Last time she spoke to Jennifer was on her birthday, she wanted to get with Tommy and her, but Linda had to work.

Harry decides that gleaning zero leads from there, it is best to look up the pizza place. He finds out that there was more than one person there, an orgy, and that there was another guy taking pictures.

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That night Harry gets attacked by a man with a bat, later a man high on the Third Eye also threatens him, that his master will kill him. While Harry isn’t sure he is closer to the truth, it appears he is right on their tale.

Things get really heated, when in the middle of his date with Susan, a demon appears, and the two have to fight it off.

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Will Harry solve the crime? Or will he be taken down; either by the White Council or this mysterious opponent. You have to read to find out.

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Thoughts After Reading:

I LOVED THIS BOOK!!!!!!

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It was extremely well written and I couldn’t put it down.

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Check it our for yourself!

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For more supernatural mysteries, go to The Barter

For more books featuring a private investigator, go to One for the Money

For more fantasy-mysteries, go to The Emperor’s Edge

The Emperor’s Edge

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The Emperor’s Edge (The Emperor’s Edge #1) by Lindsay Buroker

So this mystery is a little different as it is a fantasy novel. Yep, it has wizards, mystical creatures, and magic.

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Sword fights, questing, overcoming obstacles!

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Plus a mystery to boot? What more could you want?

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Anyways so the book begins with our heroine, Amaranthe Lokdon. Amaranthe is a female police officer, which is highly unusual. The empire had just recently allowed women into those positions, but unfortunately for Amaranthe they aren’t promoting them any time soon.

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Just because she’s a woman they won’t let her move on, but her slovenly and always late partner gets bumped up.

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Anyways, Amaranthe is an amazing police woman. She may be small, but manages to hold her own against criminals; whether it is with her blade or subduing them by knocking a shelf of coffee canisters on them.

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One night Amaranthe notices a lot of smoke, which means fire. Her partner wants to just hang out and leave what isn’t their beat alone, but with Amaranthe’s urging they head down to the area. There they spot a merchant being robbed, of which Amaranthe single-handedly is able to stop.

It’s only after she has gotten everything sorted out that she realizes the emperor is there.

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It turns out he was in the area for an inspection of the troops, but took refuge in the shop because of the fire. The young emperor, a boy still really, thanks the police, most ardently Amaranthe.

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He has to continue on his way, while Amaranthe and her partner head over to the place of the fire. The area held a large kiln, the whole building was set on fire with people inside it. Amaranthe finds this strange as the bodies were outside the kiln instead of placed inside, which would make more sense for destroying bodies. In fact, Amaranthe finds the whole thing suspicious.

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Her partner believes that the killer was the assassin, Sicarius. Sicarius was almost a legend with the vast numbers of people he has killed. Except for the fact that he is very real, and currently in town.

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But while everyone is eager to believe that is true, that it is Sicarius’ work, Amaranthe finds it hard to believe. Why would a trained assassin choose that way to murder people? It doesn’t seem right.

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She also finds a lot of strange broken pieces of pottery.

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But before she can investigate further, she is sent on her way as the detective team comes in.

When she gets back to headquarters she finds out that the Commander of the Armies, Hollowcrest wants to see her. He is the highest ranking official in the empire, the man in charge until the Prince is old enough to be King. This is a BIG deal.

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She goes to see him and finds out that he has read everything in her file, and most likely knows more about her life than she does. She was attending the women’s business school, but didn’t finish as her father became sick and died. She didn’t have enough to continue her final year, so instead lied about her age and joined the police force.

After Hollowcrest’s sneering at her decisions, Amaranthe tells him that she wanted more than to make money, she wants to serve the empire. In fact her dream is to become the first female chief.

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Hollowcrest offers her an assignment, that if completed would grant her the promotion she desires.

Only one problem. She has to kill Sicarius.

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Yes the famed assassin. The assassin who has killed over 300 soldiers, over 200 police officers, half a dozen patriarchs from the warrior caste, etc…the list goes on and on.

And Amaranthe has to kill him.

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In fact, Hollowcrest wants Amaranthe to seduce Sicarius and kill him.

Now there are several problems with this. 1) HE’S AN ASSASSIN! I’m sure he has been trained to ignore the wiles of women. I mean come on, that’s the stupidest way I have ever heard someone suggest to take down an assassin!

2) Amaranthe doesn’t flirt. Amaranthe is always too busy and too much of a no-nonsense girl to do that. But what else can she do? Orders are orders.

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As she is heading out and contemplating what craphole her life has just been thrown into, who does she run in to but the emperor.

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The emperor is ecstatic to see her and asks her a ton of questions about what’s she’s up to. Amaranthe tells him that she was just placed on a mission, when she is interrupted by him. The emperor gives her a bracelet for luck and then shows her his designs and plans to include art and science wings at the university. He babbles on for a while and then asks more about her mission. Before Amaranthe call say anything else, the two are interrupted by Hollowcrest.

Hollowcrest sends the emperor on his way, as they have plenty of work, and then remarks to a guard to make sure the emperor receives his “tea” as he is too “perky”.

Sabrina the teenage witch salem dum di dum dum dum

Emperor Sespian returns to his rooms and spends a few minutes discussing his behavior with Amaranthe with his cat. He feels a bit foolish, but you know crushes can do that to people. His ramblings are interrupted by the coming of his daily cup of tea, the only thing stopping his intense headaches and seeming to keep him alive.

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Or is it?

Back with Amaranthe, she has decided to approach one of her acquaintances from school, Misty Masters. Now Misty was the leader of the gang Panthers, owns a very prosperous casino, and had underworld contacts. Amaranthe concocts a story about having a dark, illegal business and needing protection to smuggle goods. She asks Mitsy to pass along a message to Sicarius for her, requesting him as an employee. Mitsy agrees, for the price of a favor.

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That night Amaranthe heads to the meeting spot, where Amaranthe is supposed to offer employment, but in reality murder the assassin.

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He arrives as silent as a cat, with Amaranthe being scared witless. She tells him her concocted story, but Sicarius immediately knows she is lying. Sicarius then takes off. Before Sicarius is gone, she notices the mud on his boots is the same distinctive mud from the area where the fire was. Amaranthe decides that must be where he is staying and heads out there.

Amaranthe goes to the area and starts searching for Sicarius, all the while debating the issue of murdering him in her head. On one hand the emperor has a huge bounty on Sicarius’ head and has killed a lot of people. But on the other hand, he knew she was lying and let her live. Maybe he isn’t all bad? Kill him and be a murderer? Or kill him and have gained a position she rightfully earned?

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As she is setting up a crossbow and lying in wait to kill him, somebody grabs her neck from behind. Sicarius. Amaranthe knows there is nothing she can do, but still raises her arms to protect her. But to her surprise Sicarius stops.

What?

He dumps her on the ground and questions her instead. He grills her as to who sent her and why, asking what she did to anger Hollowcrest.

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What? Why would you ask me that,? Amaranthe asks only for Sicarius to tell her how easily he could have killed her a long time ago. Amaranthe asks him why he stopped, but Sicaris refuses to answer. Amaranthe runs through what could have happened to change his mind, remembering that he stopped when she put her arm up. The arm connected to the wrist that is wearing the emperor’s bracelet.

But the emperor? Doesn’t the emperor hate him? Doesn’t Sicarius want to assassinate the emperor?

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Amaranthe asks Sicarius but he tells her he has no intention of killing the emperor. She asks him how he found her and he tells her he has been following her after their previous encounter.

Sicarius is going to leave but Amaranthe stops him. Amaranthe finds the whole exchange the night before odd, especially the remarks about tea. Could it be used to dull the mind? Poison him? Make him more easily controlled? She shares her fears with Sicarius, and her hopes to investigate. Sicarius tells her that her days are numbered. Hollowcrest wants her dead if he sent her to see him, and its only a matter of time until he murders her some other way.

Crap

Amaranthe then does the only thing she can. She asks Sicarius for help. Sicarius pulls out his famous black dagger and hands it to her. He tells her it will be the only way she’ll get in as Hollowcrest will be surprised she accomplished her mission. He warns her that she will most likely not make it back out, but the best thing to do is find the secret passages in the dungeons that will lead her out.

Amaranthe goes to see Hollowcrest, and under much scruntity by his guards is able to make it in. While Amaranthe is waiting for Hollowcrest to join her in his office, she decides to do a little straightening as her OCD is kicking in. While fixing a book she discovers a note:

Hollowcrest, you said the emperor was under your control. Your puppet has’t made any of the changes we-

But the sound of footsteps stopping Amaranthe from reading anymore.

Hollowcrest asks her for details, but Amaranthe counters with questions of her own, as why he would send her. When he refuses to answer, Amaranthe tells him the truth, that Sicarius agreed to hand over the knife.

Hollowcrest is furious that she seduced him too. The “too” bothering Amaranthe as she has no clue what he is talking about. Apparently the emperor was smitten with her, and Hollowcrest couldn’t allow Amaranthe to have a crack at the throne.

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Amaranthe denies it and tries to get Hollowcrest to understand how insane he sounds, but Hollowcrest continues, even going as far and yelling at how unfair it is that this boy is ruling instead of him.

They are both interrupted by the emperor, Hollowcrest yelling treason and trying to have Amaranthe murdered. Amaranthe jumps out the window trying to escape.

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Unfortunately, Hollowcrest’s men find her and throw her in the dungeon, telling the prince she died in the fall. There Amaranthe discovers that Hollowcrest has ordered that all prisoners be experimented on in order to find better vaccinations to combat diseases. The guards infect her with deadly venom and leave her in her cell. Amaranthe decides to finish the note she nicked earlier from Hollowcrest’s office.

Hollowcrest, you said the emperor was under your control. Your puppet has’t made any of the changes we discussed, primarily to exempt key businesses from taxes in order to foster growth. Forge also demands a voice in the government. The empire is a defunct warrior aristocracy out of touch with the modern world. Your recalcitrance forces us to make threats. If the emperor does not pass the laws we have requested, he will be eliminated during his birthday celebration. The people will not accept you as a ruler. Since Sespian is the only Savarsin left who claims royal blood through both paternal and maternal lines, he is the only legitimate heir. His death will create civil war, giving us the opportunity to back a more amenable project. How do we go forward? The choice is yours. -Forge

Amaranthe knows she must escape and warn Sicarius or else the emperor will die. She can’t get out of her cell, but she does manage to reach the cabinet with the deadly insects, releasing them when the guards return.

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After a very long process and her infection making her delirious, she is able to get out of the dungeon, via the hidden passages, and find her way to the meeting spot. Then the world goes black.

Amaranthe wakes up and discovers Sicarius. Apparently he couldn’t understand her so he brought her to shaman to heal her, and then a warehouse. Amaranthe is astounded he found a magical healer, as it is illegal to deal with magic in the empire. Amaranthe tells Sicarius everything, along with the fact that she has a plan.

Amaranthe has decided the best way to go, in rooting out the emperor’s enemies, is create counterfeit money. With that influx in the market, Forge’s fortunes would become meaningless and Hollowcrest will have to deal with panicked citizens. It was the best way to get both parties to meet with her.

Amaranthe, to Sicarius’ doubt, sets off to gather a team. She first recruits “Books”, an ex professor and currently an alcoholic, whose son was killed by Hollowcrest. She only went to him for advice, but is able to win him over for help.

When running away from enforcers, as she now is a fugitive with a price on her head, she ducks into the nearest shop, it being one for procuring male escorts.

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While waiting them out, she spots a very handsome man, Maldynado, and comes up with the idea that by having him, he’ll be able to get the supplies needed for free. She strikes a deal with him that if her man bests him in a duel, he’ll have to give her two weeks of free service. He agrees, and with Sicarius’ win they have a new recruit.

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Later she spots a boy reciving a public flogging for having been practicing magic. She offers him Sicarius’ protection for his employment.

With the crew in place Amaranthe sets off to put her plan into motion, but there is still so much she doesn’t know. Can she trust all these men? Will she be able to save the emperor? Will she ever find out Sicarius backstory? What is his connection to Sespian? And many more.

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Thoughts After Reading:

I got this book on BookBub for free and wasn’t sure how I’d like it, but when I read it I LOVED it!!

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The characters were great and the dialogue hilarious. It was a like a magical Oceans 11 or something. I say you should check it out.

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For more book reviews, go to Knit, Purl, Die.