Kyra is the youngest Markswoman in the Order of Kali, one of a handful of sisterhoods of highly trained elite warriors. Armed with blades whose metal is imbued with magic and guided by a strict code of conduct, the Orders are sworn to keep the peace and protect the people of Asiana. Kyra has pledged to do so—yet she secretly harbors a fierce desire to avenge her murdered family.
When Tamsyn, the powerful and dangerous Mistress of Mental Arts, assumes control of the Order, Kyra is forced on the run. She is certain that Tamsyn committed murder in a twisted bid for power, but she has no proof.
Kyra escapes through one of the strange Transport Hubs that are the remnants of Asiana’s long-lost past and finds herself in the unforgiving wilderness of a desert that is home to the Order of Khur, the only Order composed of men. Among them is Rustan, a disillusioned Marksman whose skill with a blade is unmatched. He understands the desperation of Kyra’s quest to prove Tamsyn’s guilt, and as the two grow closer, training daily on the windswept dunes of Khur, both begin to question their commitment to their Orders. But what they don’t yet realize is that the line between justice and vengeance is thin . . . as thin as the blade of a knife.
I received an ARC of Markswoman from the publisher. It was one of my most anticipated releases for 2018. Fantasy stories about assassins are always sure to pique my interest. This is a new adult fantasy novel (MC is 19 years old).
It’s #ownvoices for Asian representation. It’s set in post-apocalyptic Asia.
The pacing in this book picks up momentum with every chapter. I couldn’t stop reading. The ending was a massive cliffhanger, and after all that energy and momentum, I was so shocked when I realised the book was actually over. We don’t find out if all the characters end up safe. So many new questions are brought up within the last pages. As soon as the book was over, the first thing I did was go to Goodreads, to find out when the next book is coming out. 2019! January 2019! I’m so excited for it.
One aspect that I enjoyed a lot, was where some of the assassins discussed whether death was a suitable punishment for crimes, seeing as one could not always be sure that the accused had committed the crime. This is a subject that is often left out of other assassin stories, and I think it shouldn’t be.
The fantasy elements were compelling. Markswomen and Marksmen are able to tell people what to do with their minds. Their blades have a telepathic connection to them, which is often not a spoken connection.
Some of the Markswomen are very wary about the Order of Khur, which is the only order for Marksmen. I would have liked more worldbuilding in this aspect, as it was not explained why the women hated these men so much. As a reader, we only find out that they do. The main character also states that she thought the men in the Order of Khur were generally okay, and the only person she disliked was also the only woman in that Order. As we don’t know why the other Markswomen bear a grudge to the Order of Khur and we also don’t know why Kyra dislikes this person, this comment felt weird to me.
The story is very rich in its worldbuilding and the plot was amazing. I was intrigued by the different settings we were introduced to. The characters were are very detailed, even those who were quite minor characters. It was fascinating to read about how they felt about certain situations.
Markswoman was a fantastic read. The only part I would have liked more worldbuilding in, is why the Markswomen had a grudge with the Marksmen.
Trigger warning: murder.
Do you want to read Markswoman?