Stacey Brutger opens her new series, An Academy of Assassins, with a novel of the same name. This is a reverse harem (1 girl, multiple guys), so if you want your girl to choose, this isn’t for you. But #WhyChoose? The sub-genre of reverse harem romance is exploding, and this means that we are left scavenging through the debris trying to find the ones that don’t make us want to do bodily harm. Don’t worry, Brutger is safe from you! The MC is well-written and well-rounded. She tends to rush into things, but that is explained fairly well as an innate need to hunt and fight combined with a bit of a hero complex. The nice part is she doesn’t continue to ditch the people who are there to protect her (like so many of our PNR heroines do), but rather just wants to go with. The fact that she gets her way using more than just “stubborness” (one of those other things for which PNR heroines are famous) is refreshing and makes it easier for the reader to empathize with both her and her protectors.
This is called a “slow-burn” romance (in that relationships between the MC and her harem are developed over many books), but I would say we’re kind of hitting medium-burn. Stuff happens, but not all the stuff. It’s a nice compromise between nothing but a lot of sexual frustration and jumping into bed as soon as they see/smell/hear each other. Look for a variety of paranormal creatures/characters that don’t often get much lead time from other authors.
For you people who aren’t into romances that focus on the romance to the exclusion of all else, this story emphasizes the action and mystery surrounding the MC. Brutger was able to create a fine balance, letting the romance happen in the downtime between action sequences. (So no having sex in the woods while monsters try to kill them!) The action is well-paced and keeps the story moving. There are small skirmishes, a couple minor boss battles, and then the epic boss at the end. All in all, a fairly routine plot set-up. However, Brutger carefully whittles away at the mystery surrounding Morgan and her past…and how that affects the future…by dropping little hints, emphasizing something here and there, and generally leading us where she wants us to go.
I’m excited to see where this series goes, as there is no major cliffhanger at the end. This is not intended to be a stand-alone series. The series is to focus on Morgan and her guys through the whole thing, so hopefully Brutger can maintain the level of writing and development she introduced us to with this immensely enjoyable piece of fiction. I do have a couple questions that I would like to have resolved (and maybe they will be later on). 1. Why does one mating mark only appear at the same time as another? What took it so long? 2. How is she going to keep Ascher at the school? 3. Was Kincaid telling the truth about why he saw her in the mirror?
I highly recommend checking this one out. You can do so by clicking the image below.