Assassin’s Honor is an interesting book. While not entirely original, the concept is a good one, although slow plot development and slightly ambiguous main characters bogged the story down.
Deep inside the burial chamber of Ptolemy I, archaeologist Emma Zale finds an icon that provides the first proof that the mythical Sicari, Ptolemy’s personal guard, truly existed. Her discovery is assisted by the fact that Emma has a little secret: When she touches ancient relics, she sees the past. Eager to share her discovery with her mentor, she tries to contact him, only to find that he isn’t responding to his walkie-talkie. Going back to the main chamber, she finds him brutally murdered and marked – the same exact way her parents were murdered.
After a narrow escape from being charged with murder, Emma returns to Chicago to recuperate from her disturbing experience. Rummaging through a drawer, she finds a coded message hidden by her father many years ago. Just as she realizes that the message has to do with the Sicari, and perhaps the icon she found, a strange man suddenly appears, demanding that she return an item to him. Unfortunately, she has no idea what item he’s talking about, and the man suddenly realizes he has made a big mistake. He is Ares DeLuca, a Sicari warrior, trying to find the Tyet of Isis before the evil Praetorians find it first. Nobody is sure what the Tyet of Isis does, but they believe it wields the power to destroy the world. Now that Ares has made contact with Emma, the Praetorians may think she has information and hurt her for it. He has no choice but to take her to Sicari headquarters and convince her to help him find the artifact.
The first couple of chapters were really fantastic – kind of Indiana Jones-y, which I enjoyed, and I definitely felt the sizzle between Emma and Ares. But the story quickly lost its flavor of adventure, and the entire missing artifact aspect of the story slowly drifted into the background to make room for…nothing. I suppose it would be more accurate to say that Emma and Ares’s love story came to the forefront, but I’d be lying if I said it was a truly interesting a love story. They’re attracted to each other, that’s for sure, but they lacked the raw chemistry that they had in the beginning. This is a couple that creates more sparks when they’re apart and thinking of each other than when they’re actually together.
Along this line, I ultimately felt that I didn’t know very much about either Emma or Ares. I gathered that they were very passionate about their work, and both are very good people, but that’s about it. Emma, supposedly a brilliant archeologist, never gets to show off her stuff. Supposedly Ares has this huge back story concerning a lost love named Clarissa, but all the reader gets is chunks of his thoughts in which he regrets whatever happened with her. He doesn’t even tell Emma about Clarissa, or about his slightly aberrant past in the Sicari that has molded the man he is today. They never find anything out about each other – well, this isn’t entirely true. The Sicari have a giant folder of information on Emma, so Ares knows exactly where Emma’s been. Emma has no clue about Ares, and nobody tells her anything, except that he’s a reallllllly good guy. And please, it’s super obvious that he’s a good guy from chapter three!
The storyline is slightly vague. Once Emma is told about the existence of the Tyet of Isis, that’s all she ever finds out, ever. I’d say around 70% of the book is dedicated to Emma and Ares just hanging out, Emma getting into big trouble and Ares saving her, etc, etc. Somehow their developing relationship and subsequent conflicts didn’t make much of an impact on me; everything unfolded in a routine, uninspired way. The conclusion of the story was kind of tacked-on at the end, like a hasty afterthought.
Even with all this vagueness present, I did enjoy reading Assassin’s Honor. I liked the secondary characters very much, all of whom seemed to have much more personality than Emma and Ares. The writing is quite lovely at times, and I was able to warm up to Emma and Ares’s relationship at the very end. Something between them finally started to click for me, but just as I was getting more interested, the book ended! I believe I’ll continue with the rest of the series, just to see how the rest of the characters fare. There was some nice tension going on, and I’m curious to see how everything pans out.