Thursday, October 7, 2010

Review: Assassin's Honor

Assassin's Honor
Monica Burns
Paranormal Romance

Order of the Sicari/Book 1

Berkley/June 2010

From the back cover ~

A woman with visions of the past. . .

Archeologist Emma Zale sees the past when she touches ancient relics. It’s how she uncovered evidence of an ancient order of assassins—the Sicari. When a sinfully dark stranger shows up on her Chicago doorstep demanding an ancient artifact she doesn’t have, he drags her into a world here telekinesis and empaths are the norm. Now someone wants her dead, and her only hope of survival is an assassin who’s every bit as dangerous to her body as he is to her heart.

Bonded to an honorable assassin. . .

Ares DeLuca comes from an ancient Roman bloodline of telekinetic assassins. A Sicari, he’s honor bound to kill only in the name of justice. But when the woman he loved was murdered, Ares broke the Sicari code and used his sword for revenge. Love cost him dearly once before, and he’s not willing to pay the price again. At least not until hot, sweet, delectable Emma walked into his life. Not only does she hold the key to a valuable Sicari relic, she might just hold the key to his heart.

Their dangerous passion will redeem an assassin's honor. . .

A heroine archeologist - is it just me or does there seem to be a lot of hero and heroine archeologist lately? I guess Indiana Jones never goes out of style. I personally like the Indi style of heroes and heroines. Smart is sexy whether it be the hero or heroine. And when they're smart and out of their element - that can make for some fun reading.

Emma Zale is a brilliant archeologist who finds herself caught in the middle of a murder investigation and then her life is threatened. She doesn't know who she can trust, not even the annoyingly handsome stranger who shows up in her home. Emma is happiest on dig sites, not fighting assassins in her Chicago home. She may be smart but man can she cry! She's being chased by a man with a sword whom she believes is trying to kill her. Ya think? She trips and falls to the ground, in terrible pain. She gets up and continues moving down the street, trying to get away. She looks back and sees him right behind her, she falls to ground and starts crying. What?! Woman, drag your ass into the bushes if you have to. Don't just give up and sit there crying! I liked her but there were times when she really just needed to suck it up.

Ares DeLuca has some wicked powers. He's not only an expert with a sword, he also has telekinetic powers which he likes to show off. Ares comes from a long line of Sicari warriors, part of an intricate secret society who protect the innocent. I liked how detailed Burns wrote the Sicari world. There is a hierarchy, laws and a code of honor they are expected to follow. The laws and punishments seemed barbaric at times. At one point, in front of the council members and warriors, Emma unknowingly interferes, thinking she's helping Ares. She is put on trial and her ignorance of their laws is not considered an acceptable defense. Ares takes her punishment. He must run a gauntlet, made up of warriors, which he might not survive. It was very dramatic but I couldn't help thinking that they are putting one of their best warriors at risk because of a misunderstanding. There are plenty of people trying to kill Ares without adding his own people to the mix.

The other members of Ares team or guild as they are called, are a close family unit. Fighting and sometimes dying alongside each other they have formed that bond of brotherhood. They have that strong connection of growing up in the Order. Even Ares sister Phaedra is a member of the Sicari and of Ares guild. I liked the tight-knit, family feel of the guild. I also liked that it wasn't solely men but had female warriors fighting against the Praetorians, the Sicaris long time enemies. Both groups are after an artifact, the Tyet of Isis, and Emma might just know how to find it.

The romance is definitely there. From the moment Ares is in the same room with Emma, she's aware of his presence. As they are fighting for their lives and searching for the Tyet of Isis they make time to do a full exploration of their more baser needs. Emma drives Ares nuts in bed and it's actually kind of funny. He's Mr. Warrior, always in control then Emma makes him lose it in bed and after, he gets mad at himself for getting involved with her! I love it when the heroine drives the hero bonkers, just wish she hadn't drove me nuts too. Stop crying already!

The mystery surrounding the search for the artifact leads Emma to begin to question the motives of people she trusted. She gets to the point were the only one she can trust is Ares. I did like how the archeological aspects were incorporated into the story. The way Emma is able to "read" artifacts was useful not only in the search but also getting to know Ares. The ending left plenty of room to continue the series with secondary characters.

Despite the fact that the heroine drove me crazy at times, the use of swords over guns had me puzzled, (yes, it does take place in present day) the story did leave me wanting to know more about this world of the Sicari. This is one of those stories where I found the action scenes and secondary characters grabbing my attention more than the hero and heroine. I'm curious about the next book, Assassin's Heart and the hero and heroine, who we meet in Assassin's Honor. I'm hoping they will prove to be a more dynamic pair than I found Emma and Ares to be.

Rating: B-


  1. LOL Leslie, maybe we're going into an archeological trend. :) So there's no reason given for using swords in the worldbuilding? That's odd.

  2. Hils ~ there's a reason - tradition. Also that guns are loud but crashing swords are loud too. :)

  3. LOL, tradition is not a good enough reason for me. If they would say cool, perhaps :P

    Meh, never been fond of the archeological H/H and I'm tired of paranormal. Guess that means I'm skipping this one :P

  4. Nath ~ I went through a little PNR phase but it's waning. Now I'm in the mood for UF.

  5. I know what you mean, Leslie. I'm enjoying UF much more than PNR lately. I think one aspect of the PNR that I don't enjoy is that they are so predictable. Or perhaps I should say, they all seem to come from the same mold. I mean, you almost always have this band of warriors, fighting something. That's why I have to give thumbs up to Meljean Brook and Nalini Singh. The group is less obvious and hasn't all been introduced in the first book... and there's something more than just fighting against the big evil...