A demon’s assassin for centuries, Maliha Crayne has gone rogue, determined to save a life for every one she’s destroyed in order to free herself from an eternity of enslavement, damnation, and excruciating torment. But as the powers that sustained her in the past fade, she is wary of trusting those closest to her-especially her lover, Jake. Should Maliha listen to her heart or the alarms going off in her head? Then her closest friends begin to disappear, one by one. Amid her anger, suspicion, and sorrow, she feels her life spiraling out of control.
Worse still, a beautiful, Renaissance murderess is recruiting Maliha as her new assassin. Maliha is turning into a lethal puppet with an evil Immortal pulling the strings, forced to kill innocents or see her missing friends die horribly. Suddenly trapped in a moral no-man’s land, Maliha is damned if she does and damned if she doesn’t…and time is rapidly running out.
I love this kind of urban fantasy, gritty with tons of action and violence. The villain in this one, Elizabeth, is an ageless sociopath who is truly evil. (If you get a little squeamish you might want to skim over a few scenes.) This series reminds me a little of Mission Impossible with all the high tech gadgets Maliha and her team have, while the prose has a crime novel feel. I don’t think you should ever piss Ms. Banks off cause she knows way too much about assassins.
Here is a little background about the series. Nothing spoiler-ish, it just gives you an idea of who Maliha is. You can even skip it and go to the next paragraph…
300 years ago Maliha was living in the American Colonies where she was accused of being a witch and burned at the stake. Her rage and need for vengeance brought Rabishu, one of only seven Sumerian demons left, to Maliha. He offered her immortality, blinding speed, strength, instantaneous healing, and a chance for revenge. She would become one of the Ageless, but the price was her soul would belong to Rabishu and she had to become his personal assassin in the human world. She became one of the best Ageless, but somewhere along the line she realized she couldn’t do it anymore and went rogue, which meant she no longer listened to her demon and chose the Mortal Path. To make up for all the lives she has taken, the god Anu put a scale on her abdomen that has all the lives she has taken on one side and all the lives she has saved on the other. She now uses her skills to take evil out of the world and balance her scale. There was a price for going rogue, though. She is slowly losing her ageless powers and has started aging. She is also trying to collect seven shards of a lens that will allow her to read the Tablet of Overlord and with it she can eliminate the last seven demons from existence.
Maliha has spent most of her 300 years not trusting anyone, but in her quest to balance her scales and collect the shards she realizes she needs help. The first two books show how she has begun to trust a select few as well as letting someone into her heart. In Sacrificeshe spends most the book questioning the loyalties of those she trusted and Banks did a great job of conveying her emotional turmoil so even I was conflicted. When Maliah was betrayed, I felt like I had been too. Where the first two books are action-oriented this one instead focuses on Maliha’s emotional growth. Since taking the Mortal Path she is finding out what that really means and must decide if she is strong enough to stay on her path.
This series is about Maliha and her journey to become human as well as being a kick-ass action thriller. There is a small romantic element to the story because that is part of being human. I wouldn’t call this a romance, but there is enough to make Maliah seem real and her love interest is quite swoon-worthy.
The first few chapters are more for catching people up on the first two books and were kind of slow, but once the villain was introduced things took off and there were some surprising twists and turns. As far as storylines go this wasn’t my favorite of the three books, but I liked the ending, the advancement of the main story arc and the direction it seems to be heading. This is a well -written series and if you like urban fantasy without all the romance drama and lots of action and blood then you need to give it a try.
Dakota Banks lives on the western fringe of St. Louis, Missouri with my husband. Our two sons, one adopted from Peru and the other from Ethiopia, are in college. My cats Snickers and Marble sometimes ghostwrite my books. Good stuff, too, if you speak Cat.
Sharon is one of our US Corespondents and is co-creator of the quirky site I Smell Sheep