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Guild Assassin (Curse Breaker, #1) by Berley…

Guild Assassin (Curse Breaker, #1)

by Berley Kerr

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*Book source ~ A review copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Twelve-year-old Wendy Magdalena Braca’s life after her father dies isn’t the greatest, but it takes a turn for the worse after her mother is murdered, she’s convicted of the crime and sent to Greenleaf Asylum for Troubled Girls. Stuck there for years, she keeps her head down and just tries to survive. Until that horrible day she couldn’t take it anymore and her magic manifests in self-defense. Eventually she is rescued by an assassin’s guild and they teach her all about a world she knew nothing about. A world where there are humans (Cæcus), magic users (Validus) and Half-Breeds. She embraces the life and vows to find the person who murdered her mother. But first, she needs to learn everything about this strange new world and her magic which is the rarest of all. She’s the Curse Breaker.

This YA steampunk isn’t just steampunky. It’s got a heaping helping of sci-fi, suspense and fantasy with a pinch of horror tossed in. In Wendy’s world there are 522 Realms and people travel from Realm to Realm via gates. Nuclear powered, the gates are a technology that can fold space allowing jump-trams to transport people and things from one place to another, making travel and colonization of close and far distant planets a commonplace occurrence. The magic is a fascinating addition and how it works is slightly different than what I’ve read before which makes it new and fresh. The story is told from Wendy’s POV, so there’s no getting in the heads of the other characters, but they are fully-fleshed, so that’s not a problem. The world is described in wonderfully rich detail. Thankfully, the things Wendy suffers in the Asylum are left mostly to the imagination, but it’s not hard to guess what she’s been through. *shudders* The story covers nearly a decade, so there’s plenty of background info, but there is also a little bit of info dumping. Not too bad though. However, there are times that Wendy pisses me off and those are the times she goes out drinking. Come on! She’s a rare commodity and she’s going to dull her senses like that? Make herself vulnerable to an attack? I just wanted to slap her. Anyway, the ending leaves the door wide open for the next installment. I’m looking forward to seeing what Wendy does next. ( )
  AVoraciousReader | Aug 21, 2015 |
I would like to thank Curiosity Quills Press for granting me a copy of this e-book to read in exchange for an honest review. Though I received this e-book for free that in no way impacts my review

Goodreads Blurb:
Wendy Magdalena Braca lived in a Victorian mansion under three moons in Jupiter City. But her privileged upbringing falters when after the death of her father and the murder of her mother, she is shipped away to Greenleaf Asylum for Troubled Girls and lived there for years until she is “rescued” by a strange guild that shows Wendy their world; the world of Guild Assassins made up of the Cæcus (normal humans), the Validus (magic-users), and Half-Breeds (demi-gods). In this world, Wendy discovers she is the most special and powerful Validus known to exist, the Curse Breaker.

In one explosive moment this story catapults you into chaos, right along with the heroine. Opening a book with such a strong scene can be a dicey gambit, but it certainly pays off in this case. Not only is the action powerful, but the emotional component is intense as well. And it pulls you straight into Wendy's story, regardless of your feelings about it.

The world building is nicely developed, with a blend of science-fiction and fantasy that leaves this book with a foot in each world, or maybe shifting its weight back and forth between the two. Throw in the steampunk element and you've got yourself an entertaining afternoon's read. The story is well-balanced between the emotional and physical, and though there are some extremely offensive issues broached, they are handled in a respectful manner, while still conveying the horror of certain atrocities that occur over the course of this story.

From the opening scene straight through to the very last scene, the characters enter and remain an engaging group. The core cast of characters is an unconventional family. This family has a patriarch and a matriarch, yet only two in the entire 'family' are actually related to one another. One might think that this would make their family bonds weaker than that of a conventional family. It may have been their common goals, or the fact that they literally trusted one another with their lives every mission they underwent, or devotion to those who'd rescued them - whatever the reason, their bonds were iron-strong. And while each character played a specific role in their family, they weren't stereotyped or pigeonholed, creating even greater diversity amongst this tightly-knit team.

The story starts dark and gets even darker, and while things get better, the darkness is never entirely banished. But the bright spots shine all the brighter for it, and the contrast is startling. So many interesting things were set in motion with this book that it could easily stand on its own, but I'll admit I am very much looking forward to the sequel, as I want to know where Wendy's story goes from here! ( )
  Isisunit | Jul 28, 2014 |
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