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Published August 23, 2017

Evil’s Unlikely Assassin  By Jenn Windrow

Review by Red

When I first heard of Evil’s ​Unlikely Assassin, the synopsis sounded interesting. I have always had a soft spot for dark urban fantasy novels with tough, dramatic humanity back. She is contracted by an angel for fifty years to go out and kill other “things that go heroines. I tend to think of them as guilty pleasures. And while many in this genre are plagued with predictable tropes, I thought it sounded fun enough to give it a read-through.  

The story of Evil’s Unlikely Assassin is that of a vampire, named Alexis, who wants to get her humanity back. She is offered a contract where she has to hunt things that “bump in the night” for 50 years. This must be done every night or she dies. She agrees to the contract, begrudgingly, but doesn’t know that with the contract also comes a human sidekick, who cannot stand anything that has fangs, and the spirit of another vampire inhabiting her head who occasionally is able to take control of her body.

Two years into her contract, vampires in Chicago (which is the setting of the story) are starting to become a major problem. They are mass feeding, not cleaning up the dead bodies, and obviously thinking they are the superior race and humans should take a back seat. Until this point, the vampire population has been kept on a tight leash with feedings and cleanup to not incur the wrath of humans or have the newly developed VAU, or Vampire Apprehension Unit, sent after them.  To solve the new vampire horde dilemma Alexis, our unlikely heroine, must get to the root of the problem, kill all the evil she can, and not lose herself in the process.

I was a little disappointed in the book that Alexis didn’t seem to develop beyond the badass, overly sarcastic, hunter. Many of the other characters had interesting personal developments. The only development that seemed to happen to Alexis was very early on in the story and didn’t really add much depth to her character. And while there are great characters and action-packed parts, it was slightly on the predictable side with many characters not wanting to be supernatural beings or even just the bad guy not being who you thought. With that said, supernatural beings hiding or running from who they truly are seems to be a favorite of the author, as it becomes a recurring theme in the story.

There are so many parts to the story that I found refreshing. A rather imaginative setup was the vampire hierarchy. Similar enough to other versions of Vampire mythos, but different enough to catch my attention. Many other vampire stories have either a coven who make the rules or a royal family to which everyone answers. This version uses a combination of the two. It sticks with Vlad the Impaler being the start of the vampire line and royalty, which I actually prefer to having it be a virus or mutation.  The Vampires have a royal line, but then there is a governing council who decide how to manage the race as a whole. Much like the British royal family and the Parliament. Another favorite part and a highlight was finding out who the spirit in Alexis’s head actually is. The knowledge was dropped so suddenly it made me pause before nodding at the choice. I would not have guessed the person, but it’s a perfect counterpart to the heroine. Then there is another character named Nathan. Oh Nathan, my favorite of the whole story. Without giving spoilers, I’m hoping he’ll get his own book. Nathan has the most unpredictable story arc in the whole book. For such a small self sacrificing start to his role in the book, he had the biggest impact and the most memorable personality.

I would like to add this is probably not a book to read if you can get easily embarrassed. There is a very descriptive sex scene in the second half that I was not expecting. Not entirely out of place for the characters or situation, but far more detailed than I would have expected.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book for the straightforward dark urban fantasy that it is. I’m looking forward to a sequel, but I hope it can avoid some of the more predictable (and overused) tropes of the genre.


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