Saturday, May 7, 2011

Review of Cameo the Assassin by Dawn McCullough-White


Cameo the AssassinAuthor: Dawn McCullough-White

Release date: 16th of July 2009
Published by: iUniverse
Reading level: FICTION - ADULT: Steampunk, Paranormal Fantasy
Pages: 200 in Kindle
Series: The Cameo Series # 1
Source: From Author



Summary from Goodreads:

The Kingdom of Sieunes is rife with taverns, dirty streets, and clay pipe smoking citizens all toiling to feed their families and keep themselves in something little better than rags. With a foiled revolution just ten years prior still burning in the hearts of many, the royals enlist the aid of assassins to keep things in order. The townsfolk entertain themselves by dreaming of better times to come and regaling in stories of the undead said to walk the graveyards at night... and of Cameo the killer with corpse-like eyes...


Scarred and jaded Cameo is one of the most effective assassins in the employ of the Association, moving from one mission to the next as long as the alcohol keeps flowing. Her acceptance of the murder-for-hire lifestyle is thrown into doubt when she meets a local highwayman with a penchant for fine clothes and women, and then she begins to think about breaking with the company but no one ever breaks with the Association under good terms.

This is the first novel written by Dawn McCullough-White. Cameo the Assassin takes us to the world of darkness, highwaymen, and assassins.

Characters:

Meet Cameo. She is an assassin who is very efficient at her work. She is feared, there are scary stories told about her, she is drinking a lot, she is beautiful, but there is something weird about her. She died violently and was brought back to life by Haffef, who gave her back her existence, but not as a human anymore. I liked Cameo, because underneath her dark figure, she is funny, has a spark and at the same time she is conflicted, she dislikes herself of being a zombie.

Meet Black Opal who happens to meet Cameo under special circumstances – robbing the same coach which Cameo is using to get to her next target. Black Opal is a dandy who definitely knows how to use a rapier and how to fight and how to use his charms on ladies. He is a highwayman who earns his living by robbing people. Opal is being drawn into Cameos life accidentally and it seems that as the book develops, he does not want out of Cameos life at all.

Another character whom I really liked was Kyrian, 15 years old acolyte. His grandfather asks Cameo to bring Kyrian safely to a place where Kyrian could continue his studies as a priest. Kyrian is sweet, smart, genuinely good character who has some hidden abilities. What we know from the book is that he is a healer. I am sure that Kyrian has some other abilities, which will be shown to the reader in the next books. One thing is clear, there is a purpose why he met Cameo, because he has powers over the dark creatures like vampires. I guess that these other purposes will be revealed to us in the second book of the series.

Plot and the created surrounding

When I liked the main characters created by the author, I had difficulties of understanding the plot. All the characters were moving somewhere, but I still do not know what it is. During the first book there were lot of characters and most of them had a purpose in this book, but for me it stayed unknown what the purpose is. I can only guess. There were not any surprises in the plot, there was a clear beginning of the story which developed, but there was no ending. I am not sure if I understood correctly, but it seems that the first book was only to present the main characters, because there was not really lot of development of the plot. There was a lot of action, but nothing substantial to me as a reader to understand where this story would take us. In my opinion it did not take me anywhere. It gave me understanding of the characters, but not the real story. Author is good at creating characters, and good at storytelling, but the biggest weakness for me in this book was that I did not see development of the plot. Even considering that it was only the first book in the series, which I do understand, I missed the main story of the first book. It was a flow of things happening, but no clear purpose of the plot.

This book was easy to read when we talk about the use of language and it was difficult to read when talking about the plot development. Author is definitely a good writer, but I wanted to see more in the first book. It simply left me with way to many questions open.

One more thing which I simply MUST say. If you like film noir, then you will love this book. In my opinion it would be very good to create a great black and white movie out of it. I was actually thinking that this book would give many possibilities to movie makers to make an excellent film noir out of it. The book was written in flashes. My mind went to the movie Sin City, where most of the characters and scenes were black and white and then you had some elements which were created in colors. Cameo and Opal and other characters would be perfect to that – Cameo’s eyes in colors, Opal’s lips in colors and all the surroundings in black and white. It would be perfect for this book. These were the pictures I got in my head while reading.


To sum it up, this book gets 2 stars out of 5.

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