My Immortal Assassin
Ever jump into a movie about halfway through and spend a good deal of time trying to catch up and figure out just what is happening? And then when the ending comes, you are left confused and annoyed? This was the sensation I had while reading My Immortal Assassin.
Here the author creates a world in which ordinary humans (or “vanilla humans” as the author puts it) are at peril from demons and are protected by humans with mystical powers, known as mages or witches. At present, there is a somewhat uneasy truce between the beings, with all prohibited by their agreement from killing indiscriminately. The tenuous peace, however, is put in jeopardy by the heroine, Anna Grayson Spencer, who seeks revenge against the evil mage who killed her sister and destroyed her life as she knew it. She has been gifted with the magic possessed by a demon with whom the evil mage forced her to attempt to reproduce and subsequently killed. Gray, as she now goes by, attempts to kill the mage but fails. The hero Durian, a demon assassin, is dispatched to control the situation.
Durian senses that not all is as it seems with Gray as he senses both powerful demon magic and the magic that she stole from the mage before she made her escape. He offers to help her learn to control her magic if she will swear fealty to him. She consents and he begins to train her. Gray is a natural and takes to the sparring like a fish to water, which is a positive as the pair then has a series of run-ins with other suspicious mages and magehelds.
If this all sounds very confusing, that’s because it is. I slogged through the beginning chapters and kept flipping to the glossary in the front of the book just to figure out what was going on. There are mages and witches (humans with magical powers), demons/fiends/the Kin who may be either “free” or sworn to a super powerful demon, magehelds who are demons controlled by a mage, and plain vanilla humans. The world is complex and quite unique, but I had a great deal of difficulty understanding the distinctions and relationships between the players. Since this is the third book of the series, this may have been more fully explored in the previous novels, but for a newcomer to the series, it was extremely confusing.
I had a hard time grasping the concept of the characters’ magic. Both the hero and heroine at varying times in the story share their magic, open themselves to one another, create a psychic link, or channel their magic. Sometimes they can see through the other character’s eyes which can make for some bizarre point-of-view changes. Perhaps because of the intangibility of their magic, I found the fight scenes difficult to visualize.
Plot holes abound here. Storylines are begun that never go anywhere. Durian has an encounter with Gray’s father leading me to believe that there would be some sort of resolution, yet none was forthcoming. I was never quite sure of Gray’s relationship with Tigran, the demon with whom the mage forced her to attempt to reproduce. The first part of the novel led me to believe that they were lovers/partners while the remainder of the novel gave me the impression she was coerced. During my entire reading of the novel, I could not shake the feeling that this was rushed for publication.
With all that said, there is a certain sexiness to the relationship between Durian and Gray. The ritual blood exchanges are highly sensual and the love scenes are hot, if a bit unusual. Fair warning: Durian takes Gray in his true demon form which may push the squick buttons of some readers. He is described as beautiful and like a drawing from a Medieval manuscript with sharp black teeth and tongue. I could be described as “wide-eyed and slack-jawed” at this point.
I believe this is designed to be a standalone romance, however I don’t think it works well that way. If you are interested in this series, I would caution you not to begin with this book. I would say this is for existing fans of the series only.