Tuesday, July 29, 2014

REVIEW: Birth of an Assassin

Birth of an Assassin
Author: Rik Stone
Genre: Historical, Crime, Thriller
Publisher: Silver Publishing
Publication date: 6.28.2013
Pages: 430

Date read: 7.28.2014
Recommended by: Sage's Blog Tours, Read 2 Review

Summary: Set against the backdrop of Soviet, post-war Russia, Birth of an Assassin follows the transformation of Jez Kornfeld from wide-eyed recruit to avenging outlaw.  Amidst a murky underworld of flesh-trafficking, prostitution and institutionalized corruption, the elite Jewish soldier is thrown into a world where nothing is what it seems, nobody can be trusted, and everything can be violently torn from him.

Authors are always asking me what kind of books I read, which is a question that makes me laugh.  Why?  Because a list of what I DON'T read would be far shorter and easier to recite.  No matter what, though, I always seem to be drawn to books that have a historical background to them.  There's something about reading about how the characters lived in another time period that really catches my attention every time.  I am especially drawn to the past monarchy of England (like Queen Elizabeth and the rest of the Tudor clan) and anything having to do with World War II (I blame the latter on my father, who loved to read/learn about war).

This story is about a young Jewish man named Jez.  All of his life he wanted to be in the Red Army and one day, shortly after WWII ended, he headed out, without his family knowing, to join up.  If it weren't for the drunken antics of two soldiers (giving him the wrong directions), he would have never met up with Petrichova and his life would not have gone down the path that it did.  Even though he was under age, Petrichova got him into basic training and took him under his wing, wanting him to be the future.  One day, one "wrong" choice, and everything changed for him.  He had to choose between his family and his country - little did he know that the woman he was in love with (and hadn't seen since boot camp) was sent to spy on him from afar.

This was a really interesting story, with twists and turns that were unexpected.  The author did a great job of describing all the things that Jez was going through, from his first kill to his new commander who hates Jews.  I loved how much Jez changed and grew up through it all, how what he thought he wanted and loved ended up being something he could not stand in the end.  At first, while Jez is in boot camp, he's just this kind of annoying guy (his inner monologue about Anna this and Anna that) who happened to be in the right place at the right time, but then you see how things progress, you really start to see his character shape into a man, as if you are watching his whole life through these pages.  The events that unfurled kept me interested to the very end, even though it wasn't an action-packed book.  Definitely a good read.

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