June 24, 2014

Review: Allies & Assassins by Justin Somper


Prince Anders, the ruler of Archenfield, has been murdered, leaving his younger brother, Jared, to ascend the throne. Sixteen-year-old Jared feels unprepared to rule the kingdom and its powerful and dangerous court, yet he knows he can rely on the twelve officers of the court to advise him. He also knows he can just as easily be at their mercy-especially when it appears that one of them may be responsible for his brother’s death. Unable to trust anyone, Jared takes it upon himself to hunt down his brother’s killer-but the killer may be hunting him, as well. Murder, betrayal, and intrigue abound in Justin Somper’s thrilling YA series debut. Exploring the political machinations of the medieval court and the lives that hang in the balance, Allies & Assassins is a gripping tale of a teen torn between duty and revenge.

add to goodreadsAllies & Assassins (Enemies of the Prince #1)
by Justin Somper
Publication Date:  May 27, 2014
Publisher:  Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

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** This title was provided to us by the Publisher for an honest review.
We were in no way paid for our opinions **

Gabby-2013I was excited to get reading Allies & Assassins by author Justin Somper right after I read the synopsis. Historical fiction that focuses on a series of murders inside of a royal court? That definitely sounded like something I had had had to read. I won’t lie—Allies & Assassins was freaking awesome. From start to finish I was immersed in the world that Somper has created and dying to find out who the real killer was and what would happen next to Prince Jared.

When Archenfield’s ruler Prince Anders is murdered his young brother, Prince Jared, is forced to take up the throne. Between mourning the loss of his brother, preparing to rule the entire kingdom and searching for his brother’s killer, Jared is far from ready for what the future will hold. The twelve officers in the court are powerful and each are forces to be reckoned with. What Jared doesn’t know is that a number of them hold their own wicked personal demons. What he does know is that one of them may have been the force behind his brother’s death. Enter Asta, the Physician’s apprentice and niece, who is determined to uncover the truth behind Prince Anders’ murder and so begins their partnership to find the killer in their midst before he finds Prince Jared.

Allies & Assassins handled the historical fiction aspect of it perfectly. I’m not a very avid reader of historical fiction and there have been numerous instances where I just could not get into it because it was written awkwardly with barely any explanations. Allies & Assassins is nothing like that. This is a novel that read easily and set the scene and tone within the first chapter. The world that the story takes place in is one that is masterfully built and realistic to read.

There’s a diverse cast of characters in the novel and it’s written so that we points of views from multiple characters. Not only do we see things through the main character Prince Jared’s eyes but there are also chapters seen through the eyes of members of the 12, Asta Peck and others. No two characters are the same and every single one of them is three dimensional. The way that everything has been set up leaves it impossible to know just who the assassin who killed Prince Jared and others in the court—which only makes this read all the more thrilling. One thing that some readers should be aware of is that this novel is focused solely on the mystery/thriller aspect. There’s no romance. Just blood, betrayal and a sixteen-year-old prince who is far from ready to take up the responsibilities that have been thrust upon him due to his brother’s death.

Readers will find the pacing of Allies & Assassins quick and will be turning pages to find out what happens next. Everything about Allies & Assassins is fast and feels very unsafe. No character is safe from death. Anything could happen to any one of them and that sense of danger is very exciting to find in a novel. Just when I thought I knew what was happening in the novel there would be a major plot twist thrown in that I did not see coming. And the ending of Allies & Assassins totally sets it up for a sequel that I am eagerly waiting for. What will happen next to Prince Jared and Archenfield? Who will live and who will die? I’m already dying to find out.

I would recommend Allies & Assassins to readers who are big fans of historical fiction, murder mysteries and want a novel that plays out like an episode of CSI. Any readers who want a fast paced, dramatic novel that will leave you on the edge of your seat need to read Allies & Assassins as soon as possible. This is a series that I’m excited to keep up with.



Justin Somper is a bestselling UK author whose Vampirates books have been translated into over twenty languages. Justin trained in sword-fighting to help him write the fight scenes in the Vampirates series.

Connect with the Author:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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