Best Fantasy Books With Female Assassins You Can’t Miss

Shrouded in a dark mystique, fantasy books with female assassins have no shortage of fans. Are you searching for stories that feature these elusive characters? If so, this is the list for you.

Here are eight of the best fantasy books with female assassins:

I’ve included books descriptions, ratings and a summary of what readers said below. In addition, here’s a comparison chart of all these stories side-by-side.

Kingdom of Ash and Soot by C.S. Johnson


Everyone Lies. 

PRAGUE, 1870.

For the last ten years, nineteen-year-old Eleanora Svobodová has worked as a servant in her stepmother’s household. Along with her older brother, she dreams of the day they will be free to live life on their own terms.

But everything changes when their estranged grandmother comes to Prague on behalf of Queen Victoria. Throughout Bohemia, a string of murders and secret whispers hint at a larger coup.

As the leader of the Order of the Crystal Daggers, an ancient order of spies and soldiers that protect kingdoms and their rulers, Lady Penelope is determined to discover the perpetrators.

Now, Eleanora must make the choice between a life of intrigue and saving the lives of others.

Can Eleanora find a way do the right thing and still find freedom?

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.22

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

First on our list of fantasy books with female assassins is The Kingdom of Ash and Soot. Readers said that this story’s refreshing setting as well as its twist on the classic Cinderella tale and its characters enchanted them.

Action-packed and atmospheric, Eleanora’s journey from servant girl to deadly assassin immediately had fans wondering what would happen next. They also mentioned that The Kingdom of Ash and Soot features a sweet, banter-filed romance that made them truly feel for the couple.

Negative Comments

If readers didn’t enjoy The Kingdom of Ash and Soot, they typically said it was because the story slowed in the middle.

Others, though, mentioned that they were bothered by Eleanora’s naivete. These readers expected her to outgrow this by the end of the book and were disappointed that she didn’t.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas


After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom. 

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating.

But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead…quickly followed by another.

Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.22

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

What did readers who loved Throne of Glass say? These readers came in expecting a Young Adult fantasy book alive with lighthearted adventure. They weren’t disappointed!

Many enthused about the story’s wonderful humor, romance and action. These fans characterized Throne of Glass as an exciting tale that delighted them with its formidable, highly-skilled assassin protagonist.

Negative Comments

Throne of Glass readers who expected a darker and serious take on the premise, though, didn’t enjoy the story. According to the author, the book’s inspiration was Cinderella and the story’s light take on being an assassin and its romance reflects these roots.

In particular, these readers disliked the fact that Celaena’s brutal past as a slave at the start of the novel didn’t seem to effect her significantly. They also mentioned that the trials and battles weren’t enough of a focus, with several skipped rather than shown through action.

Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson


Where ash falls from the sky, and mist dominates the night, evil cloaks the land and stifles all life. Criminal mastermind Kelsier teaches Allomancy, the magic of metals, to another Mistborn, urchin Vin 16.

The unlikely heroine is distracted by rich Venture heir Elend. Can Kelsier’s thieving crew take on the tyrant Lord Ruler and bring back color to their world?

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.45

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Next on our list of fantasy books with female assassins is Mistborn. Brandon Sanderson has a reputation for unique magic systems, and this story features just that. The refreshing system of Allomancy delighted fans, many of whom praised how thoroughly it was developed.

Other readers raved about Vin’s exciting journey from distrusting and quiet street urchin to confident and ferocious assassin. They described her growth as authentic and compelling, while also praising her well fleshed-out character along the way.

On a similar note, readers also thoroughly enjoyed Vin and Kelsier’s mentor/mentee relationship. He and Vin’s interactions, fans said, were one of the highlights of the story.

Negative Comments

Not everyone enjoyed Mistborn. These readers said that while the world-building impressed them, they thought the story was slow. The crew’s plans proceed in a rather straightforward manner, while critics hoped for more conflict or complications.

Others expressed disappointment that more female characters didn’t feature in the crew or take part in the revolution overall. While these readers appreciated Vin as the main character, it struck them as unrealistic.

The Assassins of Tamurin by S.D. Tower


The river god had spared the infant girl the villagers found drifting on a boat with a dead man and dying woman, so the superstitious townsfolk believed it would be a sacrilege to let the child die as well.

The name Lale, meaning “lucky,” is the last good thing they give her, and she grows up abused, unloved, and resented – until, at age eleven, she comes to the attention of Makina Seval, “Mother Midnight,” the absolute ruler of the Despotate of Tamurin.

Enrolled in Three Springs, the Despotana’s special school for orphaned and unwanted girls, young Lale finally finds what she has always coveted: respect, affection, community . . . a home.

But Three Springs is an institution of dark and shadowy purpose, a place where the wards of Mother Midnight are trained to become perfect spies and cold-blooded, ruthlessly efficient killers. And Lale has learned her lessons well.

At age twenty, she stands poised to play her role in the Despotana’s grandest scheme: vengeance.

Years earlier Makina Seval’s entire family – including her infant son, the rightful heir to the Bethiyan throne – was brutally slain through the plots of a devious chancellor, who then raised up a young usurper to be the Sun Lord.

Now it is Lale’s duty to insinuate her way into the court – and the bed – of that same usurper, Terem Rathai, no longer a child but a powerful and dangerous foe. And after she has earned Terem’s trust, Lale is to kill him.

Bound by the blackest sorcery to remain loyal to her beloved Mother, Lale will suffer nightmarish torment – even death – if she fails.

But once enmeshed in the web of deceit and treachery that has been spun around her, the young assassin begins to doubt the righteousness of her sworn mission.

For not only will the Despotana’s grand design bring doom upon the world itself, there hangs over Lale yet another appalling catastrophe — one that threatens all that she is, all she has ever believed.

Lale has fallen in love with the man she must destroy. . . .

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.89

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

The Assassins of Tamurin is another assassin fantasy book that gripped readers. With its vividly cast world and Asian-inspired setting, this fantasy novel tells a coming of age story through first-person narration.

Readers said that this made it easy for them to connect with Lale, the protagonist, and root for her as she begins to question how she’d been raised and who she wants to become.

Others mentioned that they appreciated the novel’s fleshed out culture and social backdrop. In tandem with Lale’s convincing character growth, this had several readers reflecting on similar real-life situations throughout world history.

Negative Comments

What did readers who didn’t enjoy The Assassins of Tamurin say?

Several commented that despite the first-person narration, the story seemed to keep Lale’s motivations and reactions at a distance. Even as events affect her, her emotions aren’t mentioned.

These readers said that this made it difficult to feel attached to Lale and where the story might take her.

Other readers seemed to come in with the expectation that this would be an action-packed adventure. These readers expected daring escapades, assassin training and pages that bristled with secret killings. As such, these readers felt disappointed when The Assassins of Tamurin resembled a coming of age story.

Elfshadow by Elaine Cunningham


Silent death stalks the Harpers of Faerun. One by one, members of the semi-secret society for good in the Realms are falling to a murderer’s blade.

Now a Harper agent and a beautiful half-elf assassin must solve the mystery. If they fail, they will be the next victims. 

But things in the Realms are rarely that simple.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.85

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Don’t let the book cover’s old style chase you away! This next entry in our list of fantasy books with female assassins has plenty of fans.

Fast-paced and suspenseful, this fantasy novel entertained readers with its mystery plot as well as entertaining clashes between its main characters. More specifically, Elfshadow‘s odd couple team features Arilyn, a part-elven female assassin, and Danillo, a flamboyant mage and spy.

Fans thoroughly enjoyed the two characters, praising their excellent characterization, fun interactions and ever-building chemistry.

Negative Comments

If readers thought that Elfshadow wasn’t right for them, their reasons related to how the book had aged since its 1991 publication.

For instance, the background characters often fell into gender-based character types. The female characters might be either the ‘stoic warrior’ or the ‘sexy barmaid’. The male characters might be either the ‘despicable lecher’ or the ‘upright manly man’.

At this point, many of these character types are pervasive in the fantasy genre. As such, they stunted rather than diversified the cast’s personalities.

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder


Choose: A quick deathor slow poison…

About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She’ll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace — and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.

And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly’s Dust — and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.

As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can’t control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren’t so clear…

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.15

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Readers who enjoyed Poison Study often remarked that the romantic chemistry between Yelena, the tenacious and determined female lead, and Valek, the stoic assassin, was gripping.

They also mentioned the exciting premise and the main character’s moral and psychological depth.

Negative Comments

Readers who didn’t rate the novel highly said that the language of the story jarred them by alternating between older ‘historical’ verbiage and a modern one.

Along a similar vein, Poison Study‘s writing is straight to the point. Some readers felt that this flattened the emotions in the story. Others said that the slow-burn approach to the romance wasn’t their preferred style.

Red Sister by Mark Lawrence


I was born for killing – the gods made me to ruin.

At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth.

Sweet Mercy hones its novices’ skills to deadly effect: it takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist.

But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don’t truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls as a bloodstained child of eight, falsely accused of murder: guilty of worse.

Stolen from the shadow of the noose, Nona is sought by powerful enemies, and for good reason. Despite the security and isolation of the convent her secret and violent past will find her out.

Beneath a dying sun that shines upon a crumbling empire, Nona Grey must come to terms with her demons and learn to become a deadly assassin if she is to survive… 

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.26

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Another story on our list of fantasy books with female assassins is Red Sister. Technically, the characters aren’t assassins so much as clandestine warrior nuns. However, I thought I’d include it for those of you who are interested a book that comes close.

Immersive and engaging, this novel’s fans raved about the fascinating concept of warrior nuns and the story’s gripping school setting.

They mentioned that all the familiar adolescent coming of age elements they loved featured in the story. The girls experience friendship, betrayal, bitter competition and more. Moreover, despite a large cast of characters, they said that the girls and women that made it up felt three-dimensional.

Readers also praised Mark Lawrence’s evocative prose. The story features the author’s trademark grit and violence – one that pulls no punches toward its child-aged characters – but readers said they were impressed by its dramatic and lyrical writing style.

Negative Comments

So if readers didn’t enjoy Red Sister, what did they say? Well, these readers remarked that Red Sister was a coming of age story set in a training and school setting.

It was precisely this that bothered them: these readers generally didn’t enjoy stories centered around that particular subject matter. For them, reading about the girls training, studying and having classes wasn’t interesting.

But if a mismatch between reader expectations and the book’s subject matter wasn’t at play, readers occasionally commented that they didn’t feel invested in Nona, the main character.

These readers found that other characters in the cast more interesting and said that she would have made a better supporting character.

Shadowblade by N.S. Mirage


Born and raised in a secret enclave of assassins, Aeryn knows one desire, one duty and one calling: serve the enclave. Her initiation is days away. Once she undertakes it, she’ll be a full-fledged master, devoted to the way of sword and shadow until her last days. She should be honored.

Instead, she can only remember questions that haunted her for years. Desperate for answers, Aeryn breaks the enclave’s highest rule: never leave its walls unaccompanied.

Soon, she collides with the hostile and mysterious Outside world, as well as a young knight who’s as eager to shirk his duties as she is to obey hers.

She may learn that being a great warrior means more than her masters taught her. But at what cost?

What Do Readers Say?

Positive Comments

And last on our list of fantasy books with female assassins is Shadowblade

With electric-fast pacing and immersive atmosphere, this short coming of age story gripped fans from the first page. Readers enthused over the story’s ability to transport them into its scenes, saying that the mystique of the assassins’ powers, the sights and scents of the surroundings, and the suspense of the battle scenes came through.

In addition, fans praised Shadowblade’s characters. Not only did the character cast come across as multidimensional, but readers were touched to see how Aeryn and Merric learned from each other in their adventure together. On top of that, the hints of romance between them captured fans’ imaginations and brought smiles to their faces.

Negative Comments

If readers didn’t enjoy Shadowbladewhat did they say?

For the most part, critics had two reasons for disliking it. The first was that the book was short, a novella instead of a novel. While it wrapped up the story’s threads, it also ended on somewhat of a cliffhanger. These readers wanted the story to expand beyond where it left off.

Best Fantasy Books With Female Assassins You Can’t Miss

How Do These Fantasy Novels Compare?

Best Fantasy Books With Female Assassins You Can’t Miss


N.S. Mirage

I'm Natalie, an avid fantasy reader here to help readers find exciting, otherworldly books.

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