What I’m Reading Now: The Impossible Contract

An assassin’s reputation can mean life or death.
This holds especially true for Thana Basbowen, daughter of the legendary Serpent, who rules over Ghadid’s secret clan of assassins. When a top-tier contract drops in her lap ― death orders against foreign ambassador Heru Sametket ― Thana seizes the opportunity.
Yet she may be in over her head. Heru wields blasphemous powers against his enemies, and Thana isn’t the only person after his life: even the undead pursue him, leaving behind a trail of horror. Her mission leads her on a journey to the heart of a power-hungry empire, where dangers lurk around every corner. Her only ally is Mo, a determined healer set to protect Ghadid any way she can.
As further occult secrets are unleashed, however, the aftermath of this impossible contract may be more than anyone can handle.

After reading The Perfect Assassin, the first book in K.A. Doore’s Chronicles of Ghadid series, I knew I wanted to read The Impossible Contract as soon as I could. So I was thrilled when I was able to request the title on NetGalley.

(Full disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review. All thoughts are my own!)

And boy, friends, do I have thoughts.

It was great fun coming back to the city of Ghadid. Doore’s thirsty, meticulously engineered desert city remains one of the best bits of worldbuilding I’ve ever seen–but those of you who know me will know that what really hooked me about this book is the characters.

Our main character Thana, new-fledged assassin and daughter of the legendary leader of a family of assassins, is instantly recognizable and deeply relatable as a Good Kid(TM). If “assassin” and “Good Kid(TM)” don’t seem to go together to you, well, then you haven’t ever felt the pressure to enter the family business. Thana is deeply invested in being the best, in impressing her family, and in cementing her own legacy. (If she lived in our world, she’d be the kid taking their LSATs with an eye to a career in Congress before they’re 35.) When a fat and seemingly simple contract lands in her lap, Thana decides to take it on. And because life never works out the way you plan, of course she quickly finds herself chasing a cranky geek necromancer across the desert, lying to the girl she’s falling in love with, and thoroughly in over her head.

Oh, plus there’s an evil immortal and undead crocodiles chasing them. Did I mention that?

While this book had my attention at “garrote” and “cranky geek necromancer”, it kept me with its deft use of characterization and effortless worldbuilding. By turns exciting, funny, and spooky as hell, The Impossible Contract lures you along its twists and turns, and then stabs you with FEELS when you’re not looking. And I’m cranky that the next book isn’t here yet.

It comes out in November of 2019, and you’ll want to preorder this one.

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