Top 25 Fantasy Books With Assassins You Must Read

Assassins. Shrouded in dark mystique, these cloak-and-dagger denizens of the night intrigue and unsettle us. Yet despite their reputation, their stories range from light in take to brutal and unflinching.

Regardless of which end of the spectrum you’re looking for, if you’re looking for a fantastic assassin tale, you’ve come to the right place.

Here are 25 top fantasy books with assassins you must read:

I’ve included book descriptions, readers’ ratings and summaries of positive and negative comments for each book below. 

On the other hand, if you’d like a quick summary, here’s a comparison chart.

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

First on our list of fantasy books with 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 Shadowblade, what 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.

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

Second on our list of fantasy books with 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.

Assassin’s Apprentice by S.R. Vaught and J.B. Redmond


In Eyrie — a world of two moons, shapeshifters, and powerful magic — Aron of Brailing knows he owes loyalty to his guild, obedience to the code of the land, and his life to his closest companions, but it is his own family he holds closest to his heart.

Kidnapped and forced to become an assassin, Aron must learn to control and harness his own fearsome talents even as he grieves for the family he knows is lost forever. But when he is tempted to put everything aside everything he has learned in order to avenge his family’s killers, will Aron make unforgivable mistakes?

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.95

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Third on our list of fantasy books with assassins is Assassin’s Apprentice. This novel especially delighted assassin fans, but also treated readers to a story full of action, excitement and a relatable protagonist.

Several described the story as having so many elements that they liked: battles, magic, monsters, dragons, redemption and more. Taking them along the story’s journey was Aron, a main character who they described as easy to empathized with. In particular, these readers said that his reactions and experience with grief, anger and pain felt authentic and deeply engrossed than in his journey.

Negative Comments

If readers didn’t enjoy Assassin’s Apprentice, what did they say?

In general, readers commented that the story had action, but not much suspense. Some readers didn’t feel a sense of danger or stakes, while others felt that the characters made artificial decisions. Rather than making decisions that seemed true to who they were, the characters seemed to make choices based on the needs of the plot.

On the other hand, other critics said that the book featured too many classic fantasy story elements. While fans praised this, saying everything they loved was in the story, these readers felt that it either made the story feel cliché or underdeveloped. In terms of the latter, this was because critics thought the story couldn’t give each element enough attention.

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: 4.18

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Fourth on our list of fantasy books with 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.

The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas


Celaena Sardothien is Adarlan’s most feared assassin. As part of the Assassin’s Guild, her allegiance is to her master, Arobynn Hamel, yet Celaena listens to no one and trusts only her fellow killer-for-hire, Sam.

In these action-packed novellas – together in one edition for the first time – Celaena embarks on five daring missions. They take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, where she fights to liberate slaves and seeks to avenge the tyrannous.

But she is acting against Arobynn’s orders and could suffer an unimaginable punishment for such treachery. Will Celaena ever be truly free?

Explore the dark underworld of this kick-ass heroine to find out.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.37

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Next on our list of fantasy books with assassins is The Assassin’s Bladea collection of prequel novellas to Sarah J. Maas’ popular Throne of Glass series. Fans of this collection praised the stories’ action, exciting protagonist and beautiful tragic romance.

Jam-packed with wild adventure, The Assassin’s Blade had readers breathless and on the edge of their seats. Sometimes they were laughing, swooning or crying – whatever the case may be, they were completely absorbed in this book’s tale.

Related to that, fans described Celaena as a fantastic female protagonist. She came across as a ruthless assassin as well as vulnerable and human. For readers of the Throne of Glass series, seeing her before the events of the first book and how her life had shaped her was a treat.

Finally, readers commented on the romance between her and Sam. Without giving away spoilers, they described it as beautiful and heart-wrenching. Fans were invested from page one. Throughout its highs and the lows, the relationship made them feel deeply.

Negative Comments

No book is without its critics, so what did these readers say about The Assassin’s Blade?

For the most part, these readers had two reasons for disliking the book. The first was Celaena, who they described as too self-entitled and selfish for them to connect with and like her.

The second was her relationship with Sam. Critics describe her as treating him terribly, saying that if the genders had been reversed, readers would have decried their relationship as toxic.

The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks


For Durzo Blint, assassination is an art-and he is the city’s most accomplished artist.

For Azoth, survival is precarious. Something you never take for granted.

As a guild rat, he’s grown up in the slums, and learned to judge people quickly – and to take risks. Risks like apprenticing himself to Durzo Blint.

But to be accepted, Azoth must turn his back on his old life and embrace a new identity and name. As Kylar Stern, he must learn to navigate the assassins’ world of dangerous politics and strange magics – and cultivate a flair for death

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.16

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments 

Next on our list of fantasy books with assassins is The Way of Shadows. If readers enjoyed this novel, they often praised the story’s fast-pace and gritty and brutal setting. Yet at the same time, it didn’t glamorize the violence and cruelty of Azoth’s world.

Readers also commented that Weeks took character types familiar to them and gave the characters nuance through their personal and moral struggles.

Negative Comments 

Readers who didn’t rate The Way of Shadows highly commented that they thought Weeks’ use of familiar character types made the characters too similar to other fantasy stories.

On the other hand, others mentioned that they thought that Weeks’ plain writing style made it difficult to get drawn into the story.

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.

Book cover of Throne of Glass

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

Next on our list of fantasy books about assassins is Throne of Glass. What did readers who loved this novel 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.

Nightblade by Ryan Kirk


Ryuu is a boy orphaned by violence at a young age. Found by a wandering warrior, he learns he may have more strength than he ever imagined possible. 

A quiet child, Moriko is forced into a monastic system she despises. Torn from her family and the forest she grew up in, she must fight to learn the skills she’ll need to survive her tutelage under the realm’s most dangerous assassin. 

Young, beautiful, and broke, Takako is sold to pay for her father’s debts. Thrust into a world she doesn’t understand and battles she didn’t ask for, she must decide where her loyalties lie. 

When their lives crash together in a Kingdom on the brink of war, the decisions they make will change both their lives and their Kingdom forever. 

If they can stay alive. 

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating4.04

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Another story on our list of fantasy books with assassins is Nightblade. This novel intrigued fans with its supernatural, Eastern-inspired fantasy world and captivating plot. 

Fans praised the book’s immersive quality and its world-building. With its evocative writing, the story’s atmosphere and setting came vividly alive.

Other readers said that they were captivated by the story itself from the start. In particular, they said that the personal journeys that the main characters went through fascinated them, and seeing them learn and grow was a treat. 

Negative Comments

What did critics say? In general, readers who didn’t enjoy Nightblade had two reasons.

The first was that they were either drawn out of the story due to editing-related issues. Some of them mentioned that the book had repeating phrases, for instance, that broke their immersion. Others said they detected spelling or grammar mistakes.

On the other hand, others said that they didn’t feel like they got to know the characters. This made it difficult to connect with them, especially during climactic moments.

City of Whispers by Katt Powers


A disgraced assassin. A sinister conspiracy. Will her one shot at redemption be her last?

Dhani Karim is furious. Wrongfully expelled from the Imperial Assassins, the snarky killer is forced into a lowly, unranked position in a remote desert colony, working with a guy who’s clearly damaged goods. It’s hate at first sight. And when they barely survive an attack on what should have been a routine assignment, Dhani fears clearing her name could cost her life.

Struggling to navigate a land where she’s the only person who can’t wield magic, things get worse when she receives a death threat and her unwanted partner vanishes. But when the clues lead to a violent cult, Dhani finds herself in a race against time to stop a bloodbath that will consume thousands of innocent lives.

Can she expose a deadly conspiracy before it causes a massacre?

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.08

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Another story on our list of fantasy books with assassins is City of Whispers by Katt Powers. A fast-paced, action-packed treat for lovers of assassins, this novel grabbed fans from the very first page.

Moreover, readers praised the story for its main character, Dhani. Describing her as witty, likeable and easy to connect with, they said she was a fantastic anti-hero to lead City of Whispers.

On top of that, fans pointed to the book’s world-building as a highlight to the tale. Well-developed and immersive, the Middle Eastern-inspired world and culture struck readers as refreshing. It was a delight for them to learn the different facets and customs with each new page.

Negative Comments

If readers didn’t enjoy City of Whispers, what did they say?

Overall, critics either said that they felt the world-building was confusing due to its complexity, or that it took them a while to feel invested in the characters.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo


Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price — and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone. . . 

A convict with a thirst for revenge

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager

A runaway with a privileged past

A spy known as the Wraith

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes

Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.46

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Next on our list of fantasy books with assassins is Six of Crows. Fans of this novel often said that they enjoyed how the story had a unique character cast, featuring people from all different walks of life. It added uniqueness to all of the characters, while also introducing themes of class and race.

Other readers remarked that they liked how action-packed and full of witty banter the story was.

Negative Comments

What did critics of Six of Crows say?

In general, they commented that with so many lead characters, it was hard for them to connect with more than one or two.

It also sounded like they thought there were too many elements in the story that made it difficult for them to suspend their disbelief. For instance, these readers often mentioned that the high fear, praise and success Kaz has, even for a criminal prodigy, seemed unfounded.

Free the Darkness by Kel Kade


Raised and trained in complete seclusion at a secret fortress on the edge of the northern wilds of the Kingdom of Ashai, a young warrior called Rezkin is unexpectedly thrust into the outworld when a terrible battle destroys all that he knows.

With no understanding of his life’s purpose and armed with masterful weapons mysteriously bequeathed to him by a dead king, the young warrior relentlessly pursues his only lead.

A single elite warrior escaped during the battle and may have knowledge of who Rezkin is and who is responsible for the slaughter at the young man’s home. 

Rezkin must travel across Ashai to find the one man who may hold the clues to his very existence. His last orders, spoken on the lips of his dying Master, were to “Kill with conscience” and “Protect and honor your friends.”

Living in isolation from the outworld under a strict regimen of training and education, the young warrior has no understanding of a conscience or friends.

Determined to adhere to his last orders, Rezkin extends his protection to an unlikely assortment of individuals he meets along the way, often leading to humorous and poignant incidents. 

As if pursuing an elite warrior across a kingdom, figuring out who he is and why everyone he knows is dead, and attempting to find these so-called friends and protect them is not enough, strange things are happening in the kingdom. New dangers begin to arise that threaten not only Rezkin and his friends, but possibly everyone in Ashai.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.27

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Next on our list of fantasy books with assassins is Free the Darkness by Kel Kade. Blending a fish-out-of-water tale with gripping action and an intriguing main character, this book captivated fans from page one. 

Readers said that the story was full of hilarious moments whenever Rezkin, the protagonist, comes into contact with the outside world. Experiencing his mishaps as well as his growth was a delight.

Aside from that, fans praised the book for its riveting combat. Rezkin impressed them with his mastery of martial skills, and many readers remarked that the fight scenes were amazing overall.

Negative Comments

What did critics of Free the Darkness say?

Overall, they said that Rezkin came across as too infallible. They described him as coming across more as wish-fulfillment rather than as a well-developed character. Because of this, these readers found him unconvincing as a protagonist and found it difficult to connect with him.

A Storm of Silver and Ash by Marion Blackwood


What would you sacrifice to save your friend? 

Your soul? Your humanity? Your life?

The Oncoming Storm is a name whispered in awe throughout the Underworld. She’s known as a master thief and a lethal knife-wielder – some even say she has the skills of an assassin. All of it is true. She’s also a sarcastic smartmouth with the social graces of a bull. 

You will find her running across rooftops, sneaking in the shadows, and breaking into houses. That is, if she’s not busy getting ambushed and blackmailed into a seemingly impossible mission.

Grudgingly caught in a dangerous power struggle, the Oncoming Storm must leave behind the world she knows and maneuver through scheming assassins, calculating elves, and desperate royals. 

Before her adventure is over, she will have loved, saved, killed, and double-crossed those around her. The only question is, who? The clock is ticking, and before time runs out, the Oncoming Storm must decide who to trust and who to betray…

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.92

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Another story on our list of fantasy books with assassins is A Storm of Silver and Ash. Several fans mentioned that the story mixed all the tropes they loved about fantasy together, while adding a refreshing modern tone. 

Overall, this novel grabbed readers with its fast-pace and engaging main character, Storm. Fans tended to describe her as witty, cheerful and brave. Her personality, background and motives came across clearly to them, and these readers found her easy to bond with.

Negative Comments

What did critics say about A Storm of Silver and Ash?

Overall, these readers said that the book’s tendency to break the fourth wall made it difficult to immerse themselves in the story. Other than that, several didn’t connect with Storm, saying she came across as harsh.

Assassins by David N. Pauly


In the aftermath of the Great War, the land of Nostraterra lies in ruins. While the Elves, Dwarves and Men rebuild their kingdoms, a sinister plan has been set in motion: the assassination of Alfrahil, Crown Prince of Eldora.

As fire rains down within the city walls, young prince Alfrahil rides for his life and escapes. Braving unforeseen dangers, he is determined to unmask the conspirators and discover the truth.

Clues point towards Alfrahil’s brother, Prince Daerahil, and the scheming First Minister, Mergin. But who is really behind the conspiracy?

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.11

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Next on our list of fantasy books with assassins is Assassins. This fast-paced fantasy novel grabbed fans from the first page with its suspenseful, action-packed storyline and it’s world, which was inspired by The Lord of the Rings.

Readers praised the book’s drama, intrigues and mystery plot. They were riveted as they tried to piece the clues together and solve the mystery alongside the characters. Nothing was as it seemed and the plot twists were constant.

On top of that, fans said that the story was a delight for fans of Tolkien’s works. Whether it was the elves, dwarves or shadowy evil, these readers enjoyed how the book placed a modern spin on several of their favorite classic fantasy elements.

Negative Comments

No book is without its critics, including Assassins. If readers enjoy this book, what did they say?

For the most part, they had two comments. The first was that they thought the book didn’t have much of a resolution. The second was that the inspiration from The Lord of the Rings seemed too apparent.

Soul of the Crow by Jessaca Willis


When a mortal wants someone dead, they contract a Reaper of Veltuur, an individual born from the underrealm with fatal magic coursing through their veins.

Sinisa is one of them.

For three years, she’s slain her targets dutifully with the aid of her crow familiar. She only needs one more kill to ascend as a Shade, a coveted status of power. And when the King of Oakfall requests a Reaper to execute his daughter for an unforgivable crime, Sinisa is first to volunteer for the job.

It should be easy.

But when the Prince of Oakfall discovers his sister is in danger, he flees the palace with her. Sinisa is left with only two options: journey through the mortal realm to find and slay her mark, or face the consequences of returning to the underrealm empty-handed. It’s no choice at all. She has come too far and is too close to earning her title to let it be taken away from her now.

Besides, no one can outrun a Reaper of Veltuur.

Or can they…

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.84

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Another story on our list of fantasy books with assassins is Soul of the Crow. This novel delighted fans with its unpredictable twists, turns and its unique, dark world.

Whether it was the secrets, betrayals, revelations or something else, Soul of the Crow was full of suspense and drama. Fans described the escalating stakes, danger and surprises as keeping them on the edges of their seats the entire time.

On top of that, many enthused over the book’s original world, saying that it was refreshing and attention-grabbing. 

Negative Comments

What did critics say? For the most part, these readers pointed to either the process for beginning a Reaper or Acari, the story’s second most prominent character.

In terms of the former, critics said that the Reaper process seemed unrealistic. For instance, several mentioned that if killing anything turned one into a Reaper, someone would become a Reaper by accidentally killing a mosquito, ant or other bug.

Acari, on the other hand, grated on some readers, who described him as reckless or over-emotional.

Red Sister by Mark Lawrence


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

Book cover of Red Sister

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

Next on our list of fantasy books with 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.

Twilight Falling by Paul S. Kemp


Erevis Cale – simple butler or much, much more?

The shadows grow long on the mean streets of Selgaunt… and the sun sets on one man’s service to Sembia’s merchant lords.

The day’s end finds Erevis Cale serving a new master, one who is beyond the petty accumulation of wealth.

After all, what is gold to one who trades in souls?

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.15

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Next on our list of fantasy books with assassins is Twilight FallingThis fast-paced novel delighted fans with its action-packed adventure tale and its fascinating, morally-conflicted protagonist, Cale.

In terms of the action, readers described the book as filled with suspenseful fight scenes and magic. The plot itself also had twists and mystery, both of which kept fans eager to read on.

As for Cale, readers described him as a more mature and deeper version of the standard powerful fantasy protagonist. Twilight Falling takes place in the Forgotten Realms universe, which they described as having many classic fantasy setups. As such, they appreciated that Cale wrestled with his dark past, potential redemption, and who he is and wants to be.

Not only did he strike readers as realistic, but his character development was compelling.

Negative Comments

If readers didn’t enjoy Twilight Fallingwhat were their reasons?

In general, critics tended to say that while they understood Cale and thought he was a well-realized character, they found it difficult to connect with him on an emotional level.

The Mortal Blade by Christopher Mitchell


A city ruled by Gods, a mortal champion, a misfit girl and a disobedient dragon…

Stolen from his home, Corthie Holdfast has arrived in the City of the Eternal Siege as a new Champion.

He must fight alongside the Blades, whose lives are dedicated to the defence of the City against the hordes of monstrous Greenhides; or die at the hands of the Gods who rule.

Maddie Jackdaw, a young Blade, faces her last chance. Thrown out of every unit defending the City, either she takes on a new role, or she will be sent to the Rats, a company of misfits given the perilous tasks beyond the Great Walls.

Her new role, if she takes it, will bring her face to face with her deepest fears, for beneath the walls, in a secret and hidden lair, lies a dragon, imprisoned and waiting…

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.27

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Next on our list of fantasy books with assassins is The Mortal Blade. Filled with intrigue, suspense and riveting characters, this novel kept fans spellbound.

These readers described the story as featuring several favorite fantasy elements: dragons, gods, betrayals, civil wars and more. Yet despite its complexity, the plot threads seamlessly connected. On top of that, fans described the overall book as fast-paced and gripping, a tale that easily kept them racing through its pages.

They also praised The Mortal Blade’s character cast, which several described as a highlight. The entire cast came across as multidimensional and ‘alive’, whether that be the major and minor characters, or the male and female characters.

Negative Comments

If readers didn’t like The Mortal Blade, what did they say? For the most part, they either said that the beginning of the book was slow-paced or they didn’t connect to the characters.

In terms of the latter, some critics said that the characters’ emotions seemed to happen all of a sudden rather than develop organically. As such, they perceived the characters as artificial and found it difficult to get invested in them.

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 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.

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 one of our gripping fantasy books with assassins. 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 it became apparent that The Assassins of Tamurin was a coming of age story.

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

Next on our list of fantasy books with assassins is Poison Study Fans of this intrigue-filled tale delighted in its exciting premise and the protagonist’s moral and psychological depth.

In addition, many praised the romantic chemistry between Yelena, the tenacious and determined female lead, and Valek, the stoic assassin, describing it as gripping.

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.

The Risen Shard by D.K. Holmberg


An assassin with no rival meets a magic he cannot defeat. The Chain Breaker Series begins.

Trained to kill from a young age, Gavin Lorren finally escaped that life. No more killing innocents. No more working alone. The jobs are still dangerous, but at least he can choose.

Now an old friend has invited him to the city of Yoran where the work is plentiful. The Roasted Dragon tavern is rough but cozy. The regulars are seedy but welcoming. The owner Jessica is fond of him. It’s almost too good to be true.

His good fortune is fleeting. Gavin finds himself facing a new enemy, fast and deadly El’aras warriors—an ancient race with innate magical talent. By the time he learns sorcery is involved, he’s in too deep. To succeed, he’ll have to uncover parts of his past that he’d hoped to forget.

It will take an assassin without equal to survive.

It will take the Chain Breaker.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.13

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Next on our list of fantasy books with assassins is The Risen Shard. This action-packed thriller enthralled fans because of its assassin adventures, twists, and its enjoyable character cast.

Describing the story is one that kept them on the edge of their seats, readers said that the layered  plot, betrayals, surprises and more, transported them into The Risen Shard’s world. Many said that they never saw the twists coming. Add to that a fast-pace, action and danger, and fans were completely engrossed.

Several mentioned how much they like that the story was about an assassin. Not only that but despite being the antihero, Gavin immediately made fans like him at once. He wasn’t the only character they liked, though. Readers described the rest of the character cast as enjoyable as well. Each one slowly revealed more layers, giving fans the sense that they’d really gotten to know each character by the end of the book.

Negative Comments

No book is without its critics, including The Risen Shard. What did they say?

For the most part, these readers had two reasons for disliking the book. The first was that the storyline seemed thin and didn’t grab them.

The second was that the characters didn’t come across to them as fully fleshed out. Due to this, they didn’t feel invested in what happened.

Age of Assassins by R.J. Barker


To catch an assassin, use an assassin…

Book cover of Age of Assassins

Girton Club-foot, apprentice to the land’s best assassin, still has much to learn about the art of taking lives.

But his latest mission tasks him and his master with a far more difficult challenge: to save a life.

Someone, or many someones, is trying to kill the heir to the throne, and it is up to Girton and his master to uncover the traitor and prevent the prince’s murder.

In a kingdom on the brink of civil war and a castle thick with lies Girton finds friends he never expected, responsibilities he never wanted, and a conspiracy that could destroy an entire kingdom.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.98

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Another story on our list of fantasy books with assassins is Age of Assassins, an assassin story jam-packed with mystery and political intrigue.

Readers who enjoyed the book came in expecting it to be similar to Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb, a novel they also loved. They weren’t disappointed: it’s a character-driven story with a main character who’s easy to empathize with.

Moreover, readers remarked that the master-apprentice relationship between Girton and Merela was both heartwarming and a highlight.

Other readers mentioned that they greatly enjoyed the plot, a rare combination of a mystery and a traditional fantasy. Not only did these readers find it made the book unique, but it also captivated them.

Negative Comments

So if readers didn’t enjoy Age of Assassins, what did they say? Well, most of these reader expected a thriller bristling with anti-heroes, electrifying fight scenes and a game of cat-and-mouse. Since Age of Assassins is very much a character-driven novel, it didn’t match their expectations.

Other readers said that they thought the mystery plot didn’t have enough suspense. Due to this, these readers found it difficult to get deeply interested in the story until toward the end of the book.

Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan


Book cover of Theft of Swords

They killed the king. They pinned it on two men. They chose poorly.

There’s no ancient evil to defeat or orphan destined for greatness, just unlikely heroes and classic adventure.

Royce Melborn, a skilled thief, and his mercenary partner, Hadrian Blackwater, are two enterprising rogues who end up running for their lives when they’re framed for the murder of the king.

Trapped in a conspiracy that goes beyond the overthrow of a tiny kingdom, their only hope is unraveling an ancient mystery before it’s too late.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.18

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Another story on our list of fantasy books with assassins is Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan. Readers describes this as a lighthearted, exciting and rapid-paced story that kept them on the seat-of-their-pants.

Not only that, but they utterly enjoyed the Royce and Hadrian ‘odd couple’. They enthused that the pair’s jibes, sarcasm and banter was hilarious. These two characters and their adventures hooked them from page one and kept them riveted to the very last page.

Negative Comments

While fans of Theft of Swords considered its lighthearted take on fantasy a highlight, other readers cited this as a drawback. Compared to more serious takes on the fantasy genre, the world-building and the supporting character cast struck these readers as underdeveloped. Because of this, they said they were less invested in what happened.

Other readers said that they enjoyed Royce and Hadrian’s banter, but they ultimately didn’t feel as if they knew them. Because of that, these readers found it difficult to connect with the pair.

Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn


Book cover of Across the Nightingale Floor

In his black-walled fortress at Inuyama, the warlord Iida Sadamu surveys his famous nightingale floor. Constructed with exquisite skill, it sings at the tread of each human foot. No assassin can cross it unheard.

The youth Takeo has been brought up in a remote mountain village among the Hidden, a reclusive and spiritual people who have taught him only the ways of peace.

But unbeknownst to him, his father was a celebrated assassin and a member of the Tribe, an ancient network of families with extraordinary, preternatural skills.

When Takeo’s village is pillaged, he is rescued and adopted by the mysterious Lord Otori Shigeru. Under the tutelage of Shigeru, he learns that he too possesses the skills of the Tribe. And, with this knowledge, he embarks on a journey that will lead him across the famed nightingale floor—and to his own unimaginable destiny… 

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.06

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Next on our list of fantasy books with assassins is Across the Nightingale Floor. This book transported readers into its world through its beautiful, evocative atmosphere. As for its story, fans praised the book for being both heartfelt and brutal.

This coming of age novel features plenty of assassination training and lessons, which these readers loved. They also mentioned that while the protagonists are teenagers, the storytelling and themes made for more of an adult-targeted fantasy novel than a Young Adult one.

Negative Comments

If readers didn’t give Across the Nightingale Floor a high rating, they had two consistent comments.

The first was that they didn’t like the fact that the romance between the two protagonists started with love at first sight. As the story progressed, it didn’t develop much beyond that.

The second comment readers made was that they wanted an even stronger portrayal of Japanese culture. These readers came into the reading experience saying that they expected a historical fiction setting. Instead, they came across the supernatural elements and found it jarring.

Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb


Book cover of Assassin's Apprentice

In a faraway land where members of the royal family are named for the virtues they embody, one young boy will become a walking enigma.

Born on the wrong side of the sheets, Fitz, son of Chivalry Farseer, is a royal bastard, cast out into the world, friendless and lonely.

Only his magical link with animals – the old art known as the Wit – gives him solace and companionship.

But the Wit, if used too often, is a perilous magic, and one abhorred by the nobility.

So when Fitz is finally adopted into the royal household, he must give up his old ways and embrace a new life of weaponry, scribing, courtly manners; and how to kill a man secretly, as he trains to become a royal assassin.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.15

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Last on our list of fantasy books with assassins is Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb.

Readers who loved this book enjoyed the slow burn nature of the story, which focused heavily on character growth and world-building. Although a fantasy book about assassins, Assassin’s Apprentice is primarily the story of a boy growing into adulthood without the love of a family.

As such, Fitz’s journey provoked deep feelings from these readers, who found themselves strongly invested in the characters and sharing their hopes and fears.

In addition, they also remarked that there wasn’t a single character they felt apathetic about. Even though Fitz is the main character, fans said that – whether it was love or hate – they felt something for all the characters in the cast.

Negative Comments

If you’re a reader looking for an action-packed, adrenaline-charged adventure, readers confirmed that Assassin’s Apprentice won’t be your cup of tea.

Expecting action and suspense, readers who didn’t enjoy the novel found its pacing slow. Plenty of tragic events happen in Fitz’ life, but they seemed more like meanderings than building blocks serving a larger narrative purpose.

Others mentioned that Fitz, despite aging around ten years, doesn’t seem to change much character-wise. Readers get to know him, but not see him change or to grow based on what happens. This made it difficult for some of these readers to connect to him.

Top 25 Fantasy Books With Assassins You Must Read

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Top 25 Fantasy Books With Assassins You Must Read

N.S. Mirage

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

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