Wendy Magdalena Braca lived in a Victorian mansion under three moons in Jupiter City. But her privileged upbringing falters when after the death of her father and the murder of her mother, she is shipped away to Greenleaf Asylum for Troubled Girls and lived there for years until she is “rescued” by a strange guild that shows Wendy their world; the world of Guild Assassins made up of the Cæcus (normal humans), the Validus (magic-users), and Half-Breeds (demi-gods). In this world, Wendy discovers she is the most special and powerful Validus known to exist, the Curse Breaker.
Yes, the cover makes you think Steampunk, but it actually isn’t a Steampunk book. Guild Assassin by Berley Kerr is a Scicence Fiction first and foremost and then has Steampunk elements.
The first chapter is strong and pulls you in right into the story, but then lacks until the last chapter. This is due to the “telling” like story form. I would have liked the story better and probably understood Wendy better if the rest of the book was written like those two chapters.
As such, I couldn’t relate to Wendy. She was bland and didn’t seem to have emotions when her life went to hell. Once again, I think this is due to the “telling” story form. I couldn’t understand why she was flippant about rape and nightmares. She mentions having nightmares due to rape, but as a reader, you don’t experience those moments with her. You’re only told that she had them. If there was more detail to her nightmares, I might have understood why she went the drinking route. I might have been able to relate to her.
The world is interesting. It is not our universe’s future, but the future of an alternate Steampunk world. Meaning, what would have happened in 2024 if we were a Steampunk world to begin with. I found that interesting, but very confusing as well. I couldn’t understand why the clothing hadn’t changed that much in the many years. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting our clothing today, but clothing changes with time. There didn’t seem to be that much change in what you see in other Steampunk worlds and this one. But, if that’s the only issue about the world, it’s not that bad.
Overall, the book had potential and I could see something happening. I just couldn’t relate to Wendy and that turned me off to most of the story. Also, there are quite a few grammatical errors (“souls of feet” instead of “soles of feet”, and the switching of words). They bothered me, but I was mostly able to ignore them. I wouldn’t mind trying the sequel (which is hinted in the end), but I hope that the storytelling is different. It’s a book that has potential and could be done better, in my opinion.