Prayers for the Assassin by Robert Ferrigno
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This book has a lot going for it. The fight scenes in this are peerless. I was taken back to the olden days when I used to read and then reread R.A. Salvatore books featuring Drizzt Do'Urden. In fact, I'm not 100% certain that Rakim Epps isn't really Drizzt (more on that later).
Also, though it's a bit odd, I learned a fair amount about the Muslim religion and traditional observances. It's a stew of modern and fundamentalist practices and really makes me feel like I should find an actual book about it, rather than a suspense-thriller, or wikipedia. Any suggestions?
Before you can read this book you must first suspend your disbelief. If you even read the back cover then you'll know it's necessary, and I read mostly fantasy, sci-fi, and educational theory so I'm used to it. Even so, I had a lot of difficulty. It took me till about 1/3 of the way through before I felt like Ferrigno had been able to create a world I could believe in, at least enough to enjoy the book.
Otherwise two glaring flaws prevent me from giving this book more than 3 stars. First, Ferrigno delivers characters background stories by forcing the main character to have long "remember when" conversations with each character. Really, I'm not sure how one goes about fleshing out a character's past without it feeling awkward. However, I think in mysteries such as this one a lot of that background is really unnecessary. The main character is a "shadow warrior," I'd almost prefer for his past to be a little more murky.
The second flaw draws me back to Drizzt Do'Urden. Rakim Epps' nemesis is another Feyadeen, this one an assassin. He's a pretty great character, and nearly Epps' opposite. A great Artemis Entreri character. But does their rivalry live up to that example? Sadly, no.
This book was a command performance. I gave another friend The Name of the Wind, and he gave me this. This was an entertaining read, and while I don't feel compelled to read any more of this series, if I were at an airport and need something, I'd certainly return to Ferrigno's series, at least if I couldn't find another book promising the death of Nazis and treasure.
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