Assassin fantasy books have long captured the imaginations of readers worldwide.
This gripping subgenre of fantasy literature is characterised by the presence of skilled assassins, often armed with magical abilities or cunning deceptions, who are central to the plot.
In this blog post, you’ll discover the dark world of assassin fantasy books, exploring their themes and subjects, why readers are drawn to these lethal protagonists, and some of the top books and authors in the genre.
What is Assassin Fantasy?
Assassin fantasy is a subgenre of fantasy literature that feature assassins as the main characters or as a significant part of the story.
These ruthless killers often possess unique skills, such as magical abilities or exceptional combat prowess, which they use to carry out their missions.
The stories typically revolve around political intrigue, revenge, and moral dilemmas, with the assassins navigating through complex webs of deceit and danger.
Themes and Subjects in Assassin Fantasy
The world of assassin fantasy is rife with themes of power, betrayal, and redemption.
Assassins often find themselves caught in dangerous political games, maneuvering through a world filled with treachery, scheming, and shifting alliances.
They may be feared and respected, but they are rarely trusted.
Redemption is a common theme in these stories, as many assassins grapple with the moral implications of their deadly trade.
Some may seek atonement for past deeds, while others may struggle to maintain their humanity in a brutal world that demands ruthless efficiency.
Mastery of the art of killing is another prevalent theme in assassin fantasy, with assassins often honing their skills to the point of near-perfection.
This may involve the mastery of magical abilities, martial arts, stealth, and deception, as the assassins strive to become the ultimate agents of death.
The Allure of Assassins
Readers are drawn to assassin fantasy for a variety of reasons.
The lethal protagonists are often complex, morally ambiguous characters who straddle the line between hero and villain.
This ambiguity allows for the exploration of deeper themes, such as the nature of power, the price of redemption, and the limits of morality.
Top Assassin Fantasy Books
Some of the most notable books and authors in the assassin fantasy genre include:
The Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb:
This first installment in the Farseer Trilogy introduces readers to FitzChivalry Farseer, a royal bastard who becomes an apprentice to the royal assassin. Hobb masterfully weaves a tale of political intrigue, magic, and personal growth.
The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks:
In this first book of the Night Angel Trilogy, Weeks introduces us to Azoth, a young street urchin who becomes the apprentice of Durzo Blint, a legendary wetboy (a deadly assassin). The series is known for its dark, gritty world and complex characters.
Nevernight by Jay Kristoff:
This novel follows the story of Mia Corvere, a young assassin-in-training who seeks revenge for her family’s murder. The Nevernight Chronicle is filled with brutal action, witty banter, and a captivating, morally grey protagonist.
The Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas:
This bestselling series follows Celaena Sardothien, a notorious assassin who becomes entangled in a deadly competition to become the royal assassin. The series is praised for its compelling characters, intricate world-building, and thrilling action.
The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie:
Although not strictly an assassin fantasy, this first book in the First Law Trilogy features a prominent assassin character, Sand dan Glokta. Abercrombie’s grimdark fantasy is known for its morally grey characters and gritty realism.
Assassin fantasy books offer a thrilling blend of magic, intrigue, and deadly protagonists, exploring themes of power, betrayal, and redemption.
If you’re interested in reading assassin fantasy, check out my Dawn of Assassins series.
You can read the prequel Birth of Assassins for free as part of your Ravenglass Universe starter library.