Title: Cameo the Assassin
Author: Dawn McCullough-White
Page Count: 320 KB (Kindle format)
Publisher: Claypipe Press
Genre: paranormal, fantasy
Copy for review provided by the author in anticipation of an honest review
The Kingdom of Sieunes is rife with taverns, dirty streets, and clay pipe smoking citizens all toiling to feed their families and keep themselves in something little better than rags. With a foiled revolution just ten years prior still burning in the hearts of many, the royals enlist the aid of assassins to keep things in order.
The townsfolk entertain themselves by dreaming of better times to come and regaling in stories of the undead said to walk the graveyards at night... and of Cameo the killer with corpse-like eyes... Scarred and jaded Cameo is one of the most effective assassins in the employ of the Association, moving from one mission to the next as long as the alcohol keeps flowing.
Her acceptance of the murder-for-hire lifestyle is thrown into doubt when she meets a local highwayman with a penchant for fine clothes and women, and then she begins to think about breaking with the company but no one ever breaks with the Association under good terms.
Cameo the Assassin is, for lack of a better or more descriptive term, fun. It's an adventurous fantasy with lots of traveling, highwaymen, assassins, and political mysteries and drama that plague our characters' every steps. I was reminded of the Poison series, not necessarily because of similarities of plot or characters, but because of the sense of scale of the story. I definitely got the feeling with this story that there is truly a whole world to be explored and that we're only seeing a small part of it, the part that's immediately important.
Cameo has, by all accounts, had a terrible life. Attacked and left for dead at a young age, she's been making her living as an Association assassin, and is frightfully good at her job. That all comes crashing down when she's ordered to kill Black Opal, a highwayman who happened to rob the stagecoach she was on on her last job. When she's saddled with a "partner" who happens to be the worst, most despicable person she could be forced to work with, she eliminates him, which eliminates her protection under the Association in the process.
Forced on the run, Cameo ends up joining forces with Opal and his partner in crime, Bel. Their journey takes them all over the countryside, trying to avoid detection and their own assassinations. To make matters worse, Cameo has a few secrets of her own, stemming from her vicious childhood, that she wants hidden. She feels like it's enough of a miracle that anyone wants to associate with her and help her and that revealing all of her secrets would be extremely unwise.
Going into this story knowing it was a planned trilogy was a big help in sorting out which details were immediately important versus which ones may be important in the next two installments. Cameo is in the unfortunate predicament of having to serve two masters, and while they're both unhappy with her, life is very difficult indeed.
I also enjoyed the hint of romance and attraction between Cameo and Opal. We see just a little, enough to wonder if they're going to make a go of it or just leave it as another thing both of them want but can't have. I'm interested in how things develop between these two in the next few books.
I'm always on the lookout for fun fantasy novels with adventure, romance, good details and world building, and I was very satisfied after reading Cameo the Assassin.
Dawn McCullough-White has graciously offered up signed copies of Cameo the Assassin as well as the second book in the trilogy, Cameo and the Highwayman! Entries are U.S. ONLY for this giveaway. To enter, please fill out the form below. Then, head to the 7/1 post entitled Why Read Indie Books? and comment saying you entered the Cameo the Assassin giveaway for an added shot at the $25 Amazon gift card! Make sure you leave your comments in the correct place so they can be counted!