Tag Archives: assassination

Review: Sing Me to Sleep by Gabi Burton

Sing Me to Sleep by Gabi Burton

Sing Me to Sleep
Gabi Burton
Bloomsbury YA
Published June 27, 2023

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

About Sing Me to Sleep

In this dark and seductive YA fantasy debut, a siren must choose between protecting her family and following her heart in a prejudiced kingdom where her existence is illegal.

Saoirse Sorkova survives on lies. As a soldier-in-training at the most prestigious barracks in the kingdom, she lies about being a siren to avoid execution. At night, working as an assassin for a dangerous group of mercenaries, Saoirse lies about her true identity. And to her family, Saoirse tells the biggest lie of all: that she can control her siren powers and doesn’t struggle constantly against an impulse to kill.

As the top trainee in her class, Saoirse would be headed for a bright future if it weren’t for the need to keep her secrets out of the spotlight. But when a mysterious blackmailer threatens her sister, Saoirse takes a dangerous job that will help her investigate: she becomes personal bodyguard to the crown prince.

Saoirse should hate Prince Hayes. After all, his father is the one who enforces the kingdom’s brutal creature segregation laws. But when Hayes turns out to be kind, thoughtful, and charming, Saoirse finds herself increasingly drawn to him-especially when they’re forced to work together to stop a deadly killer who’s plaguing the city. There’s only one problem: Saoirse is that deadly killer.

Featuring an all Black and Brown cast, a forbidden romance, and a compulsively dark plot full of twists, this thrilling YA fantasy is perfect for fans of A SONG BELOW WATER and TO KILL A KINGDOM.

My Review

I have mixed feelings about siren stories. DAUGHTER OF THE PIRATE QUEEN made me uncomfortable with its casual description of sexual assault by sirens. But I loved the way sirens were included in A SONG BELOW WATER. The opening scenes of SING ME TO SLEEP only made me more nervous because right away, it started with a description of a man touching Saoirse without her consent and then progressed to her using her ability to control him and force him to do things without his consent.

Once the story developed more, and I got to know Saoirse outside the context of her role as an assassin, especially as I got to see her relationships with Jeune and Hayes, I started to enjoy the story a lot more. I especially thought it was interesting when Saoirse began to want or need things that stood in opposition to what her siren nature wanted or needed her to do.

I think having a female character (as a siren) who can take back power in a sexual space is awesome. It does make me uncomfortable to have that happen in a way that ignores consent, though. I think I wish Saoirse had at least considered whether she was doing the same thing to the men who treated her so wrongly. There are some moments where she comes right up to the edge of considering it but then retreats to justifying herself.

On the whole, I think the strength of the book is in the relationships between characters and in Saoirse’s quest to protect her identity while figuring out who is trying to harm the people she loves.

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 14 up.

Most characters are described as having brown or dark brown skin.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Mild profanity used somewhat frequently.

Romance/Sexual Content
Kissing between boy and girl. Saoirse uses her siren abilities to excite lust in her victims and then controls them before killing them or forcing them to kill themselves. Sometimes before she begins using her abilities, they touch her without her consent. Sometimes she feels justified in killing them because they violated her this way.

Spiritual Content
Some characters have the ability to perform magic.

Violent Content
Situations of peril. Saoirse works as an assassin for an unnamed employer. In several scenes, she murders men her employer hires her to kill. A couple of scenes show sparring or battles. In one scene, an official executes a prisoner. In another scene, a man kills someone with a knife. Several people drown or nearly drown.

Drug Content
Some scenes show social drinking. Hayes takes two guards with him to a pub with the intent of getting drunk. Saoirse refuses to drink alcohol.

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support this blog. I received a free copy of SING ME TO SLEEP in exchange for my honest review.

Review: Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove by Rati Mehrotra

Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove
Rati Mehrotra
Wednesday Books
Published October 18, 2022

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

About Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove

To learn what she can become, she must first discover who she is.

Katyani’s role in the kingdom of Chandela has always been clear: becoming an advisor and protector of the crown prince, Ayan, when he ascends to the throne. Bound to the Queen of Chandela through a forbidden soul bond that saved her when she was a child, Katyani has grown up in the royal family and become the best guardswoman the Garuda has ever seen.

But when a series of assassination attempts threatens the royals, the queen ships Katyani off to the gurukul of the famous Acharya Mahavir as an escort to Ayan and his cousin, Bhairav, to protect them as they hone the skills needed to be the next leaders of the kingdom. Nothing could annoy Katyani more than being stuck in a monastic school in the middle of a forest, except her run-ins with Daksh, the Acharya’s son, who can’t stop going on about the rules and whose gaze makes her feel like he can see into her soul.

But when the queen hurriedly summons Katyani and the princes back to Chandela before their training is complete, tragedy strikes, tearing Katyani from the only life she has ever known. Alone and betrayed in a land infested by monsters, Katyani must find answers from her past to save all she loves and forge her own destiny. Bonds can be broken, but debts must be repaid.

My Review

Okay, I stayed up WAY too late reading this book and then finished it the next morning as soon as I had a second to sit down. It’s a super immersive story packed with magic and intrigue. I loved the characters, especially Katyani and Daksh.

Outspoken and fierce, Katyani had me from the first page. I loved the complex relationship she shares with the royal family and of course with Daksh and the way so many things change as the story unravels. The plot moves quickly with high stakes– definitely the thing that kept me reading. That and the romantic tension between Katyani and her love. I really invested in that thread of the plot, and couldn’t stop until I knew how it resolved.

I’m seeing a lot of reviewers on Goodreads calling the setting of this book an alternate medieval India, which makes sense. The story world felt rich and easy to lose myself in.

I think readers who enjoyed THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN by Roshani Chokshi will love this one.

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 12 up.

Characters are described as having brown skin and are Indian-coded.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Mild profanity used infrequently.

Romance/Sexual Content
Kissing between boy and girl.

Spiritual Content
References to the Goddess. Some characters have spirit energy and magical ability. Characters battle monster or ghost-like enemies.

Violent Content
Situations of peril, battle scenes, and some brief torture.

Drug Content

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support this blog. I received a free copy of NIGHT OF THE RAVEN, DAWN OF THE DOVE in exchange for my honest review.