by Rati Mehrotra
Series: Asiana #1
Published on January 23, 2018 by Harper Voyager
Genres: Fantasy, New Adult, Young Adult
Kyra is the youngest Markswoman in the Order of Kali, a highly trained sisterhood of elite warriors armed with telepathic blades. Guided by a strict code of conduct, Kyra and the other Orders are sworn to protect the people of Asiana. But to be a Markswoman, an acolyte must repudiate her former life completely. Kyra has pledged to do so, yet she secretly harbors a fierce desire to avenge her dead family.
When Kyra’s beloved mentor dies in mysterious circumstances, and Tamsyn, the powerful, dangerous Mistress of Mental Arts, assumes control of the Order, Kyra is forced on the run. Using one of the strange Transport Hubs that are remnants of Asiana’s long-lost past, she finds herself in the unforgiving wilderness of desert that is home to the Order of Khur, the only Order composed of men. Among them is Rustan, a young, disillusioned Marksman whom she soon befriends.
Kyra is certain that Tamsyn committed murder in a twisted bid for power, but she has no proof. And if she fails to find it, fails in her quest to keep her beloved Order from following Tamsyn down a dark path, it could spell the beginning of the end for Kyra--and for Asiana.
But what she doesn’t realize is that the line between justice and vengeance is razor thin . . . thin as the blade of a knife.
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I wanted to love this book. I wanted to devour it in one sitting and bask in the wonderfulness that is female assassins and with YA/adult crossover appeal and. . . and. . . and I could go on. But that’s not what happened and it comes down to one thing, really, that made the rest of the book not work for me.
But before I get to that, some positives. First, the world building. The world building, y’all. It’s gorgeous. Definitely fantasy but with an almost sci-fi feel from the Hubs that transport you across the land and the numbered codes used to operate them. Magic blades and both mental and physical forms of combat. It’s all just lovely and intricate. Mehrotra did a great job in creating this world and as a fantasy lover I can’t help but appreciate the work that went into it.
The story primarily centers around the young Markswoman Kyra but does veer off into other points of view every now and then depending on what’s happening in the story. Kyra is at the edge of adulthood. She messes up. She’s passionate about her beliefs and what she believes is the truth. For a second, I thought she’d fall to the Chosen One trope due to the pieces of her history revealed throughout the book, but I’m happy to report that Kyra stuck to her guns and every decision she made felt natural for her character.
The rest of the cast wasn’t badly written or anything but the bulk of this story centers around Kyra to the point that they didn’t play a larger role until later in the book (*cough* Rustan), and I felt like the other characters were more accessories in the story.
Where I had problems started at the beginning through to the end of the book. The writing never hooked me. For the entire book, I was less than enthusiastic about reading. I’m not really sure why I kept going to be honest because I was pretty bored. And it’s not even that the writing was terrible because it wasn’t. I’ve read way worse. It was passive. So much prose. Lots of details to bog the action down. I look for character driven stories and I want to characterize Markswoman that way but after finishing it, I felt like I’d read a historical account of this story rather than fell into the story itself. All these great elements were there, but the binding to bring them together fell apart for me.
So I push through to the end and nothing really changes on that front, and the book just. . . ends. Big cliffhanger ending too, or at least I think it was supposed to be but because of the writing style and my lack of investment in the story or characters, I didn’t really care about that end scene. It doesn’t make me want to pick up the next book for the sole purpose of finding out what happens next. The lack of connection prevented me from getting behind the romance introduced to the story too (though the weird love triangle thing was. . . well, weird and felt forced).
I’m bummed. This was one of my anticipated reads for this month. Everything was there and if the details had been broken up more perhaps I’d have enjoyed it more but this one just didn’t work for me.