At twelve years old, Aina Solís was pulled off of the streets she slept on and trained to be one of the most feared assassins in Sumerand, a kingdom founded by immigrants and built by magic―and in recent years transformed by an industrial revolution. When Aina is given the most lucrative and dangerous job of her career―killing a wealthy industrialist named Kouta―she knows it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to leave her impoverished roots in her past once-and-for-all: the payout is enough to free her from under her boss Kohl’s thumb. But when the job goes wrong and Kouta escapes, she is left without a penny to her name and in the crosshairs of Kohl, who is eager to show the world what happens to those that fail him. With Kohl on her heels, Aina is running out of time to find Kouta and finish what she started. But the closer she gets to killing him, the more she begins to ask the questions assassins are never meant to ask: who wants Kouta dead? And why? In a city full of half-constructed subway tunnels, hidden magical dens, secret weapons markets, and wolf-sized spiders, Aina discovers a conspiracy that could rewrite her city’s history and―if it isn’t stopped―sink her country into a catastrophic war.
The title was what originally drew me to this book. Diamonds are intriguing by themselves. I’d also seen people being really exited about this book and I found out it was about assassins and jobs going wrong and worlds changing. I knew I wanted to give it a shot; it sounded like something I would like. Trigger warnings: blood, violence, abusive relationship, addiction
This book has some seriously strong worldbuilding. It’s seriously incredible. It’s so solid, so intricate, and so interesting. I loved how the city flowed into different sections and how each was so different, but so fully developed. Even the parts that weren’t focused on a lot or even visited had such a depth to them. It added to the overall world in such an amazing way. There’s prisons that don’t see the sunlight, underground tunnels, gangs, wolf sized spiders, mines, complicated history, and so much more. It’s just so good.
There’s also magic in this book. I don’t know why, but I wasn’t expecting it. It’s subtle, but it plays such a huge role in the world. I loved how it interwove into pretty much every part of the story, but it also wasn’t used very much at all.
This world, and this book in general is so bloody. It’s a wonderful shade of morally gray. It’s absolutely brutal and it takes a lot of grit to survive it. Aina is living proof of that. She kills without mercy and feels no remorse at what she has to do keep on living. She’s trying to make the best of the cards that were handed to her. She doesn’t think she can be anything else besides an assassin and she’s determined to make what she has count. Aina might have a very high body count and might have questionable morals, but I loved her so much. She carries so much pain. It’s almost like she’s fighting against herself alongside with fighting against her world. Her character was really, really well done.
All the characters were really, really interesting. They each have their own view of their world and they each have different ways to survive it. Some are more brutal than the others. I liked seeing their explanations for what they did and how they view their line of work. Some are more hopeful, while some will bulldoze everything in their path if it means they can get through they day (or make themselves more powerful). It was cool to see them and their ideals interact. It made for a neat balance and cool perspectives.
The plot was SO SMART. The plot twist took me completely by surprise, but it fits so amazingly with everything that happened beforehand. It’s set up so subtly, but it makes the rest of the book take on a whole new meaning. It was so brilliantly planned and so brilliantly weaved. It made so much make sense and I just love how it came together. Even the smaller reveals were really amazing. I loved how some of them really drove home an emotional point, it brought things together and it was heartbreaking and amazing at the same time.
ALSO AINA IS QUEER! I was so happy when I found out. I love casually queer characters and I’m looking forward to seeing if her sexuality is explored in the upcoming books.
Throughout the book, I wasn’t sure where the romance aspect was going. I was getting frustrated and all the things popping up and I thought it would lead to a frustrating outcome. But, it ended in a really great way. Aina is focused on building a life she wants for herself. She’s busy fighting for a better world. She wants to focus on herself and making sure she can face whatever is thrown at her. She wants to feel secure in herself. I respected her decision so much and I loved that it happened that way.
There were some things that I had a hard time visualizing. Sometimes the architecture got confusing and I couldn’t really picture what was happening.
Reading this book kind of feels like you got punched. But in a good way? Aina has a lot of weight on her shoulders and she’s blinded by what she thinks is the only option for her. She struggles with moving forward and thinking things can get better for her. I loved how her emotional development was handled and it made me love her character even more.
I can’t wait to see where the rest of this story goes. This is actually the first in a trilogy, which means so much more can happen. I’m hoping to see more of this world, because it’s so amazingly done. I can’t wait to see where Aina goes and what she decides to do. I can’t wait to see where all the other characters end up. I’m sure the second book will be just as bloody as the first one too.
Diamond City comes out January 28, 2020! You can add it on Goodreads and pre-order a copy in the meantime!
Thank you for reading!