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The Butterfly Assassin

(The Butterfly Assassin #1)

by
3.97  ·  Rating details ·  238 ratings  ·  66 reviews
Innocent by day, killer by night: a dark, twisting thriller about a teen assassin’s attempt to live a normal life.

Trained and traumatised by a secret assassin programme for minors, Isabel Ryans wants nothing more than to be a normal civilian. After running away from home, she has a new name, a new life and a new friend, Emma, and for the first time in Isabel’s life, things
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ebook, 412 pages
Published May 26th 2022 by Simon and Schuster Children's UK
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Finn Longman No, it's the first book in a trilogy. (But for those who haven't read it yet: don't worry, it doesn't end on a cliffhanger.)

Book 2 will be released in…more
No, it's the first book in a trilogy. (But for those who haven't read it yet: don't worry, it doesn't end on a cliffhanger.)

Book 2 will be released in May 2023. Title to be announced! You'll get to see a lot more of Espera, and also Isabel making, if possible, even worse life choices than she makes in book 1.(less)
Finn Longman The protagonist, Isabel, is asexual and aromantic. Due to the setting and her isolation, she doesn't have a label for her identity, nor is it her high…moreThe protagonist, Isabel, is asexual and aromantic. Due to the setting and her isolation, she doesn't have a label for her identity, nor is it her highest priority; it'll be discussed at much more length in book two, which has more queer characters in general, of various identities. I have a post about Isabel's asexuality and the lack of explicit labels on my blog, called Schrodinger's Asexual Representation. (Please note that since writing this post, I gained a better understanding of Isabel's romantic orientation through writing book 2, and I now label her as ace/aro; here, I was wavering slightly on the aro part.)

One of the secondary characters is gay, although this is a fairly minor point.(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.97  · 
Rating details
 ·  238 ratings  ·  66 reviews


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Claude's Bookzone
This dark and gritty futuristic YA novel had an intriguing premise with a slow build up but not enough explanation of the world this story takes place in. ACE/ARO assassin, Isobel, has escaped her abusive parents and the murderous guild that has turned her into a lethal weapon. She craves a normal life but her bloody past just won't let her go. When she makes a fateful error she is thrust into a new battle for survival against a deadly enemy. It might have been mentioned in the story and I misse ...more
kate
A fast paced, murderous thriller following an ace-aro teen assassin with a chronic illness as she attempts to live a life away from her abusive parents and the oppressive life of murder guilds.

A dark and gritty exploration of trauma, PTSD, abuse (parental, medical, physical and mental) and the pains it takes to get help with a chronic illness, Finn Longman brilliantly places very contemporary issues within this dystopian setting.

This works brilliantly as both a standalone and the start of a ser
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Finn Longman
Nov 15, 2021 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Obviously, I think this book is great, because I wrote it, and it took years. I love Isabel Ryans, my screwed-up stabby murder daughter, who is essentially the human equivalent of a roomba with knives taped to it, and I hope you will too! You may also enjoy this book if you are interested in murder, intense ride-or-die friendships, ace protagonists, colourful solar-powered dystopian walled cities, street art, and/or the use and misuse of Esperanto.

It's a pretty dark book, though, so I thought i
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Sarah Bonner
Mar 31, 2022 rated it it was amazing
An absolute masterpiece of a YA thriller: a darkly compelling page turner that I read in a day. But it’s also so much more than that, dealing deftly with contemporary issues and written with a powerful voice.
Anna (RattleTheShelves)
Jun 19, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobooks
I really enjoyed it! (yay for aroace assassins, written perfectly for my 14yo self) Please check out CWs before picking it up, tho, it's a heavy story ...more
Jinny Alexander
Apr 18, 2022 rated it it was amazing
I read an early copy of this book.

Although this is far from my usual choice of reading I was hooked from the first pages. Finn's writing is exquisite, and their storytelling ability no less than their skill with words. This is an easy crossover book into adult fiction, and will appeal to a broad range of readers.

I was quickly invested in Isabel's world, and my heart ached for her throughout the book. I kind of wish Finn had thrown a little more happiness at her, but I guess that wouldn't have ma
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Linked Soul
Mar 07, 2022 rated it it was amazing
was lucky enough to win a give away for this book and I got an advanced copy and!! it was amazing!!!
First of all the characters get to say "fuck" which I think is a bonus that should be highlighted. I also really enjoyed the use of languages and Esperanto through the whole book - as a language nerd, it was just made for me. The worldbuilding - a closed city ruled by assassin guilds - is well-crafted and really pulled me in and made me want to discover more of the world. Isabel is also an amazin
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Alison Peters
Jun 18, 2022 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lizzie Huxley-Jones
This was *so good*. The Butterfly Assassin by Finn Longman is an upcoming super compelling YA thriller that follows Isabel, a teenage ex-assassin, who escapes the Guild she was raised in and her corrupt parents, only to find that her escape wasn't as easy as she hoped. Trained & traumatised by a secret juvenile assassin programme, Isabel runs away in search of normal, but old habits die hard and soon her new identity is blown, drawing the attention of two guilds.⁠

Set in the enclave town of Espe
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Aislinn O'Loughlin
May 17, 2022 rated it it was amazing
The book absolutely destroyed me - and I loved it for that (probably obvious from the five stars I gave it). A raw, visceral and angry portrayal of a traumatised teenager trying her best to escape an abusive system, The Butterfly Assassin is NOT one of those 'sexy assassin takes out the baddies" adventures that runs on adrenaline highs and not thinking too much about consequences.

Don't get me wrong, this story is absolutely a fast-paced, twisty and thrilling joy-ride through colourful dystopia
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Nicola Michelle
Feb 14, 2022 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, e-book
This book was fire! But the good kind. A whirlwind of suspense, tension and assassin drama. I was on tenterhooks for the entire time and with the main storyline, it made for a very intense follow along and wow, I did not foresee what the plot of this book would be like but I loved it.

It was not what I was expecting but this was even better than the idea I had in my head of what this was going to be like. It by far surpassed my expectations and was so much more than I thought it would be.

It was
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Ella
Jun 22, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Rating: 5/5

like minuscule spoiler?

This literally beats all the other YA novels I read, regardless of genre. Lots of YA novels I read includes a romantic subplot which ok sometimes I do find myself kicking my feet at but honestly I have been hoping for a story that does not include one and The Butterfly Assassin just nails the coffin. Also as a psychology student (even though my classes haven't covered that part yet..), I would say the psychological aspects are very accurate and I could understa
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Molly K
Sep 25, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Set in a fictional, closed city immersed in guild rule, readers follow Isabel - now known as ‘Bella’ - a child trained to be a deadly assassin since the day she could walk, after her escape from the bloodshed life she knew.

It was such a brilliant, immersive read - it took me two hours, I don’t think I looked up once. Whilst the concept of a child killer, one that is trained so elitely, may seem far fetched - Longman explains this brilliantly - Isabel is the product, and the greatest victory, of
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Payal
May 08, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a fantastic start to a new series! One of the most intriguing and original YA thrillers I've read in the recent past. There have been many versions of the teenage assassin character, but Finn Longman has done something different with it. I saw one of the twists coming early on, but there were others that defied the usual tropes and formulas. I'm waiting with bated breath for the next one.

While I take away half a star becase Isabel's tendency to blame herself for everything became annoying a
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Ann Sei Lin
May 20, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult, 2022
Atmospheric and visceral. The Butterfly Assassin is a really interesting look at trauma while also being a gripping tale of teen assassins and murder guilds. Beautifully written and with an engaging voice, you will learn the exquisite pain of wanting your favourites to be ok while knowing they're going to suffer so much more before this is all done.

Also the use of Esperanto was endlessly cool!
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Ajinkya Goyal
Jul 22, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
It's almost 3am so this is not going to be the most coherent thing ever but this book destroyed me, rebuilt me, and destroyed me again for good measure over and over again

I could not stop reading it and I hated putting it down, yet for the first time ever I found myself having to take a physical pause before I could continue


(check out my Tumblr - innocentlymacabre - if you want to see me live(ish) blogging throughout the book)
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Luca
Aug 29, 2022 rated it it was amazing
ADORE THIS BOOK. everyone should read it. I came across a signed copy by accident in Gay's The Word in London and bought it based on the "Keep it stabby, keep it ace" written in the cover by the author, but I didn't know I was about to have my emotions fucked with like that. The PTSD rep? Yes. As someone with PTSD it was very accurate and very well played in the story, and I felt like everything happened for a reason. I cannot wait for the rest of the trilogy, this is one of my favourite books e ...more
Dreximgirl
Jul 02, 2022 rated it really liked it
Really really enjoyed this, loved our main character and some moments really surprised me. Looking forward to the sequel.
Christa
Oct 24, 2022 rated it really liked it
(3.5 rounded up) I like this book much more than expected - perhaps because I listened to the audiobook (on 2.5 speed) while driving a long distance and though the narrator's voice was excellent. There was some over-the-top YA-ness (expected) and a few predictable "surprises" (which I wish would have been reworked into something more plausible to strengthen the story). I found the whole guild/city/suburbs/world-building somewhat vague, and the main character's thoughts about herself and her life ...more
CrowCaller
Jul 17, 2022 rated it it was amazing
It's so nice to finally read a legitimate good well written book and realize I'm not crazy ...more
Becca - PrettyLittleMemoirs
Mar 24, 2022 rated it it was amazing
**actual rating, 4.5 stars, rounded up**

Isabel Ryans wants out. Out of her old life, her family—out from underneath the thumb of being an assassin. Raised and trained to be a professional killer under the guidance and horror of her Parents—a poison-making father and killer mother—Isabel has been through a lot for her age. She slips away one day and doesn’t look back, fleeing from home with a new name with the hopes of starting a new life as a civilian. But escaping came at a price, and before sh
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Jinny Alexander
Apr 18, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read an early copy of this book.

Although this is far from my usual choice of reading I was hooked from the first pages. Finn's writing is exquisite, and their storytelling ability no less than their skill with words. This is an easy crossover book into adult fiction, and will appeal to a broad range of readers.

I was quickly invested in Isabel's world, and my heart ached for her throughout the book. I kind of wish Finn had thrown a little more happiness at her, but I guess that wouldn't have ma
...more
Tim
Aug 26, 2022 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Should've guessed that it was all going to shit, probably (*inserts crying smiley*).

It all started out alright, with a main character with a VERY interesting background and tale to tell, to say the least. She clearly suffers from some kind of PTSD, and you can't blame her of course, with everything she's gone and is still going through. Heck, she murders someone in the very first chapter. That surprised me. Isabel - or Bella, whatever you want to call her - is written down very expertly, and I l
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Lucsbooks
May 15, 2022 rated it really liked it
I started "The Butterfly Assassin" on a day on which I was in the mood for uncomplicated YA fiction, after initially becoming interested in it due to the author's identity and the themes this book promised to deal with.

I ended flying through this book in a day and most of my enjoyment came from the author's ability to present us with our favourite tropes and give them an original twist to the point in which, unlike most YA books, you truly fear for the main character and are unable to predict wh
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Sifa Poulton
Jul 01, 2022 rated it really liked it
THE BUTTERFLY ASSASSIN is a stabby, rage-filled book that still has a spark of hope within a tale of loss and death and abuse.

The best way I can describe this book is continually wanting to hug and protect Isabel (her parents a right piece of work), while knowing she would absolutely stab you for it - and also hoping the people who have hurt her (and are hurting her) will get their just desserts.

It is a game of cat and mouse with lots of different parties, all wanting to control Isabel in differ
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Paperbacks
Feb 13, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Butterfly Assassin is a faced paced adrenaline ride that will leave you struggling to put it down. The tone is set from the very first chapter that this is a book that will not pull any punches or sanitise its violence for the sake of its readers, it hits the upper end of dark for the YA bracket

Isabel Ryans is a character that you can’t help but hurt for, the fact that she transforms so effortlessly from student to cold blooded killer is heartbreaking; that her programming is so entrenched h
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Tyler S
Feb 01, 2022 rated it really liked it
If you’re a fan of spy movies then this will be the book for you. Think Spy Kids (the movies I adored as a teen) or better yet, Salt. This book has all the vibes you could want for a secret agent on the run and trying to hide.

Isabel Ryans is our main character, she has ran away from her life as a child assassin and trying to live a normal one in a remote town at a normal high school with normal people, however, she makes a mistake one night and soon enough her old life finds her once again.

This
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Mara
Jul 11, 2022 rated it liked it
This was a great debut. Despite the 3 star rating I gave, I will definitely be reading the sequels to come and am keeping my hopes high for slight improvement!

First let’s start with what I liked about this book. The characters were great. I enjoyed that there was a character that was driven by friendship instead of love, which I don’t really see when reading YA. The character of Isabel is asexual, and although it doesn’t really add anything to the plot, it’s nice to see some representation in th
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Schizanthus Nerd
No mercy, no hesitation, no witnesses.
I finished reading this book two weeks ago and I’m still having trouble figuring out what to say about it. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy it. I did. I flew through it. It’s not that I didn’t love the characters. I did. So much! It’s that practically everything I want to say about this book wanders into spoiler territory and I don’t want to ruin it for you.

Isabel Ryan is trying her best to reinvent herself as Bella Nicholls. Isabel was trained as a contr
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Carden
Sep 03, 2022 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I flew through this book, so here's a short and sweet review:
I really liked this book and enjoyed the story. Especially the trauma Isabel is carrying, which makes me hate a lot of the decisions she makes, but the book is written in a way that they are reasonable based on what she has been through and what she feels, which I can't say about certain other books.
Another thing I loved was the depiction of the importance of friendship and how romance was not seen as lacking in Isabel'S life because F
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Finn Longman is a queer disabled writer and medievalist, originally from London. With an MA in Early and Medieval Irish and a BA in Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic, they spend most of their time having extremely niche opinions on the internet. They write YA and Adult novels, and have a particular interest in genre-bending fiction that explores identity and tests moral boundaries. The Butterfly Assas ...more

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