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Assassin's Gambit

(Hearts And Thrones #1)

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  1,583 ratings  ·  183 reviews
Vitala Salonius, champion of the warlike game of Caturanga, is as deadly as she is beautiful. She’s a trained assassin for the resistance, and her true play is for ultimate power. Using her charm and wit, she plans to seduce her way into the emperor’s bed and deal him one final, fatal blow, sparking a battle of succession that could change the face of the empire.

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Paperback, 400 pages
Published April 2nd 2013 by Signet
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Average rating 3.61  · 
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 ·  1,583 ratings  ·  183 reviews

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Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies
Soon, the moment would come, the moment she’d spent eleven years preparing for. Could she seduce and kill Emperor Lucien?
The answer is a resounding NO.

I DNFed this book at 25% because, really, there is no fucking point. She wasn't going to kill the motherfucker anyway. It's not only terrible, it belittles the act of rape.
He thrust into her, occasionally fondling her breasts or kissing her. She tried to ignore it. Mild discomfort, she told herself. It’s mild discomfort, nothing more.
Mandi Schreiner
Jan 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: pnr, fantasy
This book caught my eye because I love an assassin heroine. A couple of my favorites being Gin from Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assassin series and Shadow Kin by MJ Scott.

The description of the heroine in the blurb sounds pretty awesome:

Vitala Salonius, champion of the warlike game of Caturanga, is as deadly as she is beautiful. She’s a trained assassin for the resistance, and her true play is for ultimate power. Using her charm and wit, she plans to seduce her way into the emperor’s bed and dea
Minni Mouse
DNF at 20% because oh, nooo you don't, you thinly-veiled piece of shallow mediocrity.
Nemo (The Moonlight Library)
This review was originally posted on The Moonlight Library

This isn't my usual YA, but I did enter Goodreads First Reads competition to win it, and I did really want to read it.

Oh my god, I took FOREVER to read this book but I swear it's not a reflection on the book's quality, believe me! I had a really good time when I was reading this book, I've just had THE WORST YEAR for reading. I started reading this is August 2016 after winning it on Goodreads in 2014 (BAD NEMO) and my other review books k
Apr 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
4 stars

My first by Amy Raby and I liked it. The book has a thrilling story which I anticipated. The mystery, suspense and action in this book is really good for adrenaline junkie like me.

A lot things happened in Assassin's Gambit and each of the chapters equipped with new surprises, new adventures. And they got me excited at point that I couldn't put this book down because I wanted to know what's next.

I enjoyed reading the main characters. Even though I didn't fully connected to both of them, at
Apr 08, 2013 marked it as dnf
Dear Khanh,
I regret doubting your opinion on this book. You were so utterly right.


DNF'ed at like 110pgs...look. I'm not saying an assassin has to kill folk to prove themselves...except if you have ONE OFFICIAL TARGET in your career and instead of killing him you actively aid him in escaping the villainous murderous traitors, assist him in regaining his throne and then MARRY HIM while convincing all your rebel friends it's the RIGHT THING to do...maybe don't call yourself an assassin.
Sandy Williams
Mar 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! I came across an interview with the author on the Qwillery review site. Amy Raby talked about the research she did for this book, reading the Art of War and speeches given by real world leaders so she could get Lucien's speeches right. I have to say, that completely paid off. The war strategizing came off as authentic and plausible, and Lucien was great at motivating his troops. (I have to admit here, that I'm jealous. I wish I'd done this type of research for my ...more
I can't believe that this is Amy Raby's debut. Although some reviewer said this book don't really fit into the romance genre because majority of the the plot was about politics and war, I'm very invested in Vitala and Lucien's relationship and hope they get their well deserve HEA.

For those who wanted to know how much romance is in this book, I will said that both Vitala and Lucien are practically together since the beginning until the end. They seldom separated from each other. In the beginning
Apr 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, assassins
I have to be honest,I started reading Assassin's Gambit because of the gorgeous cover.I can't even describe how happy I am that the inside was even better!

Vitala Salonius.Half Riorcan,half Kjallan,she was never accepted by neither of them.Until the Obsidian Circle,an underground organisation that struggles for Riorca's freedom,recruits her and forges her into a weapon,an assassin with one goal;kill the emperor and spread civil war to a crumbling empire.Preparing her entire life for this moment,s
Apr 16, 2014 rated it it was ok
I'm a sucker for novels with female assassin's as the protagonist. Thus, I was drawn to reading this book.

Sadly, the book is very underwhelming. Character's are thrown into the foray of the action & plot of the novel with little-to-no background & with triviality. They disappear as fast as they were introduced.

This book is first & foremost a love story. Honestly, it's not even a very interesting one. It's very shallow & I felt no loyalty to either the female heroine or the male hero.

If you're
Jan 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I can only say that I've been very lucky with my fantasy books lately. Not only Assassin's Gambit is exceptionally well written, it's unapologetic about the matters of sex, emotional trauma, and has one of the best no-nonsense, sensible approaches to relationships I've seen in a long time. Also, of course it helps that Vitala totally kicks ass! Read it, and I guarantee you won't be disappointed.
Sarah Mac
3.5 stars.

Campy fantasy-romance hybrid. If Harlequin had a line called HQN Sword & Sorcery, this would be a perfect fit. :P

The Good:
-cool magical system that's not overdone. Also good flourishes of fantastical violence (which sometimes jarred with the romance portion; see below).
-comfortably familiar Roman-like society with its inherent political & personal difficulties re: slavery, caste, etc.
-solid secondary characters. I definitely want to read about Celeste, Rhianne, & Jan-Torres.
Eleanor With Cats
Awesome! In her goodreads biography, Raby lists her Bujold and Hambly among her influences, and I am happy to say she definitely lives up to their legacy.

First off, I have no idea why this book was marketed as a fantasy/romance, because it is very different from a traditional romance, including elements of political intrigue, PTSD, battle tactics, and regular fantasy/adventure. I'm not sure whether people expecting a romance will like it or not. Although if it brings in more readers, hey, can't
Interesting concepts, situations... but some narrative choices felt lacking for me or were simplistic in their reasons which seemed weak. The romance had its moments but wasn't as "romantic" and well paced as I would have liked, so I wasn't always eager to keep reading.
To see more reviews, considering taking a peek at my first in series YA book blog here

3.75 stars

Assassin's Gambit was pretty entertaining. What got me in the end was the hype I'd heard about this book. I went in expecting the next Red Queen or something. Well it's not that exactly, but still pretty good.

Vitala -from a young age- has been trained to be an assassin. Her people are kept as slaves under the rule of the King. It is her dream to assassinate him and free her people. However, when she
Aug 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
What an unexpected treat! :D

I loved this book!
It has fantasy, intrigue, romance and sizzling chamistry!

Vitala is deadly! She's been trained for years to kill the Emperor and it is inconceivable that she's falling for him!

Lucien is in a very difficult position: in an Empire where phisical strenght is highly valued he's one leg short - literally! But his mind is very, very good!

They're both dangerous in a very different ways and they're perfect for each other. Theri chemistry is strong and it is i
Tim Mcdaniel
Mar 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I didn't really expect to like this book. I am generally disappointed by a lot of romantic fantasy -- the characters are obvious and shallow, the settings generic, the plots predictable. Not this one. Sure, it's a romance, so you know pretty much where the story is going, but the characters are finely drawn and complicated, the setting is fascinating and different, the magic system is unlike any I have seen before, and the plot moved along at a nice clip. A really fun book!
Amy Stewart
Apr 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a fantastic debut novel by author Amy Raby. It's an entertaining combination of romance, fantasy, and intrigue. The world is original. The characters have depth. The writing is amazingly smooth and engaging. The plot moves along at a fast clip with the end of every chapter leading you to turn the page. It is a very fun story! I won't spoil the plot, but I do recommend it to anybody who wants to pour a glass of wine and curl up on the couch with a great book!
Lisa {Silverlight} {Paranormal/Urban Fantasy Reviews}

Debut Author, Amy Raby has won me over in this action infused, romantic, fantasy read. With a strong female protagonist, a fantastic story, and witty enthralling characters that had depth.

I must admit, what first drew my attention of this book was that gorgeous cover. The dress, the dagger, the castle in the background, the moon and I mean come on that cover model is gorgeous. So yes, without even reading the synopsis, I already was super excited to read this book, then after reading the synops
FV Angela
Review originally posted at

Vitala is a rebel assassin who has only ever had one mission, to get into the bed of the Emperor of Kjall and kill him. To achieve her goal she has become a champion of Caturanga, a war like game based on strategy and skill and also an obsession of the Emperor Lucian. As a half Kjall and half Riorcan Vitala is an outsider living in a world where the only people who have ever accepted her are the people who have been training her
Alex West
What struck me from the opening pages is how smoothly this book integrates action, character development, and setting. It was vivid, sexy and intriguing right from the start. I just loved that early passage where Vitala looks at a pistol and covets it. In the space of a paragraph, this tells us all about Vitala's character, the culture, and the technological era of the world, without slowing down for a laborious description. These kind of choices make it a deceptively easy read.

The characters ar
May 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
* I was given a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Assassin's Gambit kept me up until 2:30 in the morning. I actually started off reading it with a pencil, some paper, and a highlighter in order to take notes, write down problems, questions, and whatever else popped into my head just to give the author a "legitimate" review. By the end of chapter two, I was no longer taking notes, the highlighter was forgotten, and I was just reading it for enjoyment. This, to me, has to be the hig
Oct 11, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy, assassins
This review was first posted on Ruby's Reads.

Ah, fantasy! I love delving into worlds that exist only in authors’ minds, seeing what new rules they come up with and how the magic works. It’s been a while since I’ve read a fantasy (as compared to a paranormal, which generally takes place in our world, but with magic), but it’s just like riding a bike. Muscle memory is everything, folks.

I knew pretty early on that Assassin’s Gambit wasn’t written for me. I’m not the target audience, this is not the
The Window Seat
Mar 08, 2013 rated it really liked it

In my mind, I don't expect a debut author to get it PERFECT the first time out. Especially when there is a new series starting. There are growing pains. Hey - to me, Dark Lover isn't even that great a book and Ward wasn't a debut author. But I stuck with the series because the characters pulled me in and I think I will probably feel the same way about the Hearts and Thrones series by Amy Raby.

Vitala is a trained assassin with the Obsidian Circle. For years, she has been training for the biggest
XxTainaxX Curvy and Nerdy
May 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
The tale that Amy weaves is spellbinding. She immerses the reader in this highly detailed and unique war-ridden world full of magic, wonder, intrigue, and love despite the obstacles and differences. The intricacy she puts into creating this imagery for us is seriously commendable and unlike anything I’ve seen from a writer in a long time. The love is imperfect and all the more valuable for it. The protagonist, Vitala, has lived through some very powerful situations that have shaped her actions a ...more
Aelin Lovelace
This was excellent. I happened upon it by a review at The Book Pushers, and simply had to have it. An assassin heroine with PTSD who struggles with her love for her mark, who is an emperor and an amputee? Sign me up!

I really loved this. As someone who has PTSD, or PSTD like symptoms, the descriptions of Vitala's "visions" were dead on, and I nearly cried reading someone describe ways that I felt -- and Lucien, able to sympathize via his own experiences.

The only reason this is a 4 star vs. a 5 is
Jan 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I am one of the lucky people who saw this story in its raw form. Reading it again as a full-fledged book has been a wonderful treat. Amy Raby has a sure and deft talent, and she spins a richly detailed story of intrigue and love in a fantasy world reminiscent of ancient Rome. With magic.

Assassin’s Gambit is fantasy romance, but Amy includes a strong subplot of political upheaval, betrayal, and battle strategy. There’s plenty of adventure along with the romance. You’ll be caught up in the story f
May 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
An awesome fantasy romance. All of the characters have done good and bad things; it's shades of grey, not black and white.

An assassin is sent to kill the Emperor. Only someone else tries to kill him first. Along the way, they fall in love and have to save the country.

Both hero and heroine are interesting characters. The hero is missing half a leg due to a war injury and the heroine has visions of the people she's killed that incapacitate her at inconvenient times.

The plot kept me guessing and
I loved this. Great balance of epic fantasy and romance! I was immediately pulled into a wonderful world of magic - war mages, assassins, wardbreakers, etc. It was exciting and a lot of fun to read. Definitely a debut novel worth the read.

(*Many thanks to goodreads and the author. I won this from a signed giveaway.)
Mar 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Great read. Lot of twists and turns, enough to keep me up all night. Loved Vitala and Lucien two great characters with lots of depth,I loved learning about them. Lots of action and a great romance!
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Amy Raby is literally a product of the U.S. space program, since her parents met working for NASA on the Apollo missions. After earning her Bachelor’s in Computer Science from the University of Washington, Amy settled in the Pacific Northwest with her family, where she’s always looking for life’s next adventure, whether it’s capsizing tiny sailboats in Lake Washington or riding dressage horses. As ...more

Other books in the series

Hearts And Thrones (5 books)
  • Spy's Honor (Hearts and Thrones, #2)
  • Prince's Fire (Hearts and Thrones, #3)
  • Healer's Touch (Hearts And Thrones, #4)
  • Guardian's Secret (Hearts and Thrones, #4.5)

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