Friday, August 15, 2014

~Virtual Book Tour & Review: The Guild of Assassins by Anna Kashina~

The Guild of Assassins
Majat Code #2
By: Anna Kashina
Release Date: August 5th, 2014

Kara, an elite warrior from the Majat Guild, has escaped execution and achieved something that no Majat has ever managed – freedom from the Guild!

But the Black Diamond assassin Mai has been called back to face his punishment for sparing her life. Determined to join his fight or share his punishment, Kara finds herself falling for Mai.

Is their relationship – and the force that makes their union all-powerful – a tool to defeat the overpowering forces of the Kaddim armies, or a ploy sure to cause the downfall of the Majat?

TSRBR's Review

Overall Rating:  3 Rockin’ ★★★

This is the second book in the Guild of Assassins by Anna Kashina.  It is a book filled with political intrigue and betrayal while also telling a story of two people fighting for love. Mai is a Diamond Level and a highly skill member of his order.  He is also one of the few that can withstand and resist the Kaddim an enemy to all people of the kingdom.  Kara is also a Diamond Level and was spared by Mai when he was ordered to assassinate her for not completing her assignment by the Order.  There are few that can resist the Kaddim and because the two Diamonds have that ability they have been targeted for elimination by the Kaddim.   
Unknown to the King, the Majat or anyone involved in keeping the land safe for the people is a plan that the Kaddim put in place a decade ago.  This plan if successful will overthrow the King and allow the Kaddim to take over as the rulers.  Everything is designed to eliminate the Prince Regent and the two Diamond Level Majats that have the ability to resist them.  They are all that stands in the way of the Kaddim’s take over.  The recall of Mai by his superiors and Kara’s refusal to let him go without her to take the consequences for his actions alone for not killing her and completing his assignment the plan has started.  Will this be the beginning of the end for their world?

Hero –Aghat Mai: 3 stars
Heroine – Kara: 3 stars
Steam: 3 stars 
Plot: 3.5 stars 
Cliffhanger: No

Would I recommend this book: Yes! Betrayal, war and good vs evil run rampant through this book.  Unfulfilled love, denied love and loyalty drive this plot to its conclusion.  It continues the saga started in previous books by this author.

Would I recommend this author: Yes! Amazing imagination!

***Received an ARC of this book from the Author in exchange for an honest review***

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About the Author
Anna Kashina grew up in Russia and moved to the United States in 1994 after receiving her Ph.D. in cell biology from the Russian Academy of Sciences. She works as a biomedical researcher and combines career in science with her passion for writing. Anna's interests in ballroom dancing, world mythologies and folklore feed her high-level interest in martial arts of the Majat warriors. She is a recent medalist in the ForeWord Book of the Year and Independent Publishers Book Award contests.
Author Links

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Kyth watched Raishan run up the narrow stairs of the battlements, closely followed by the white-cloaked shape of Magister Egey Bashi, the second-in-command in the Order of Keepers. The Magister was a middle-aged man, whose grim looks and heavy muscular build suggested that his title had to do with more than scholarly activities. During the past months, Kyth had learned to fully trust this man, rumored to be much older than he appeared, and much wiser than he pretended to be. As Kyth saw the two men rush toward them with grim faces, his momentary relief gave way to a deep pang of anxiety.
The speed of Raishan’s approach made the wind rise in his wake. He came to an abrupt halt in front of Kara after collision seemed inevitable and spoke, the unevenness in his voice betraying more emotion than his face.
“You must stay out of sight, Aghat. This man has come from the Guild.”
Kara took a moment to answer, her violet eyes meeting Raishan’s in an unspoken exchange. “Is Aghat Mai in trouble?”
Raishan’s eyes darted to Egey Bashi.
“I’m sure he’ll be all right,” the Magister said. “The Majat messenger seemed quite friendly. From what I know about your Guild, if there was a problem he would have attacked on sight.”
Kara continued to look at Raishan. “That man’s a Diamond, isn’t he?”
“Aghat Xandel,” Raishan confirmed. “I know him. Both he and I trained together in the Outer Fortress.”
“And the letter he brought was from Master Oden Lan?”
Raishan nodded.
“He knows,” she said quietly.
“We can’t be sure,” Raishan said. “I didn’t see the letter. Aghat Mai read it and put it away without showing anyone. But Magister Egey Bashi is right. If the Guildmaster knew what happened, we should have seen a bigger outburst, shouldn’t we?”
“Why else would Master Oden Lan send a Diamond?”
“I could imagine many reasons,” Raishan said. “For example, the king could have sent him for one. Do you know of any such plans, Your Highness?”
Kyth shook his head.
“I think we’d have heard if that had been the case,” Egey Bashi said.
Kara’s face froze into an unreadable mask. “Did Aghat Xandel say anything?”
“Not much,” Raishan said. “He gave Aghat Mai the letter. And, he said he has another one for the king, to be delivered personally. Aghat Mai went to arrange for security before the audience could be granted.”
“That might take some time,” Egey Bashi said. “The king has other things on his mind.”
His grim tone made everyone pause.
“What other things?” Kyth asked.
The Keeper gave him a dark look. “A messenger from the Aknabar Monastery arrived this morning. Things don’t look good up there. In fact, it seems that the Kaddim Brotherhood has taken more control of the Church than we first thought. I believe there’s no choice for the king but to send armed forces down there.”
“Armed forces? To the Monastery?”
“The messenger was a very frightened man,” Egey Bashi said. “He brought news that Father Bartholomeos has been imprisoned. He also brought a parcel containing the head of the late Chief Inquisitor, Brother Valdos. Dipped in tarpaulin and quite rotten, I can tell you, but still recognizable. There was a note with it. ‘From the Conclave to the King’, not quite in those words, but with far fewer niceties than warranted, I’d say. And now, a response from King Evan is definitely called for.”
There was shocked silence.
“But – but the priests aren’t even supposed to wield weapons!”
“I assure you, Your Highness. The head had definitely been severed with a weapon. A very sharp one.”
“You think the Kaddim Brothers did it?”
“I am certain of it.”
Raishan shook his head. “It’s hard to imagine how a dark order of Ghaz Kadan worshippers could possibly take hold of the Church. The Kaddim and the priests serve opposite sides, don’t they?”
“You forget, Aghat,” the Keeper said. “The Kaddim are capable of mind control. Only a certain type of magic could make people immune to it, and the Church has spent centuries eliminating magic in their midst. If you ask me, something like this was bound to happen, sooner or later.”
Kyth nodded. The Kaddim Brothers could wield a disabling mind control power that bent people to their will. To his knowledge, his own magic gift, the one he hadn’t even fully mastered yet, held the only way to resisting it.
It was good that his father had managed to gather enough support on the High Council to abolish the anti-magic law, but the effects of this law being in place for centuries couldn’t be ignored. For all he knew, the Dark Brotherhood overtaking the Church might not be the only outcome, even if it was hard to imagine a worse one.
He shivered, meeting Kara’s gaze.
“This is bad,” she said.
“All the worse, it seems,” Raishan put in, “because right now the king can’t afford to risk any disagreement with the Majat Guild. Which is why you must stay completely out of sight, Kara. If Xandel is here to negotiate your return to the Guild, things might get ugly.”
“If Mai had killed me like he was instructed,” Kara said, her eyes fixed unseeingly on the distant lake view, “we wouldn’t be guessing right now. And, none of you would have anything to fear from the Majat Guild.”
Kyth reached forward and placed a hand on her shoulder. She tensed under his touch and for the first time he realized she was shivering.
“It’s not your fault,” he said quietly.
She turned and looked at him, her shivers lessening, her gaze slowly becoming calm and detached as she hid her emotions behind an invisible shield.
“Whether or not it’s my fault,” she said, “it’s too late for regrets.”
Regrets. Kyth hoped she wasn’t talking about him, but there was no way to tell. Worse, whatever she meant, there was nothing he could do about it. He looked searchingly into her eyes, but she turned away.
“I believe I’ll be speaking for many of us,” Raishan said carefully, “if I say that I’m really glad you’re alive, Aghat Kara.”
“I’ll second that,” Egey Bashi said.
She smiled, but her gaze remained distant.
“Let’s hope I can justify some of it by making a difference. We should go and find out more about Aghat Xandel’s mission. Shall we?”
“As long as you stay carefully hidden,” Egey Bashi pointed out.
“I will, Magister.” She wrapped Kyth’s royal cloak tighter around herself and moved to the stairs leading down from the battlements onto the castle grounds, but Kyth caught her by the arm.
“It’s too risky for you to appear anywhere near the throne room right now,” he said. “Why don’t you and Raishan go to the Keepers’ quarters and wait? Magister and I will go to the throne room and find out what’s going on.”
Kara gave him a brief glance and he imagined that in the shadows of the hood he saw her smile.