Dec 4, 2011

Review: Dawn McCullough-White - Cameo the Assassin

Dawn McCullough-White - Cameo the Assassin
(Stef's review)

Pub Date: July 19, 2009
Publisher: iUniverse
Format: Paperback/ebook
Age Range: Adult
ISBN: 9781440159923
Genre: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal

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.

Spoiler Alert!!
This review is basically a summary of the novel. Don't read if you haven't read it yet!

Warning, this review is pretty negative... This thing gave me a headache. -_-

Overall, I was pretty disappointed with this book. It started out very promising -- ominous, dark, I saw lots of potential and the intro grabbed me. The author did very well with the opening. However, once I dug further in, it just became a giant jumble. The characters had some consistency, but the main character Cameo was a light version of bi-polar (sometimes she wanted to make friends, other times she's portrayed as being an absolute unwavering loner, then... change of heart in an instant?). I also did not care for the other main characters she created: Black Opal was annoying in his mannerisms that he repeatedly used, Bellamy made NO sense (when he and Opal are originally introduced they're so close, then at the end Bellamy sort of drifts off away from the group and it doesn't really mesh to me), Kyrian's role is never really revealed though at the end he kind of drops why he's around but not... really...

And if ANY of those characters said "Umm" ONE more time... Ugh, that showed up so often I wanted to scream. So did the word "dandy" which irked me to no end.

As for plot itself, I still have absolutely no idea what it was. Cameo is an assassin supposedly of the highest regard in her organization. She was sent out on some mission in the beginning of the book and was robbed by what turns out to be Opal and his pal Bellamy. She attaches something called a shade to Opal, even after she's gone after them to retrieve her cameo brooch (hence her nickname) "just in case" she wants to find him later (what? There was no indication that he'd be of any use or interest later, she's a stone cold killer, why...?). After this happens, she heads back to HQ and the Big Boss, a woman named Wick, sends her out on a mission with another assassin from their organization. Two important things here: this assassin she's paired with, Clovis, is someone who from what I gathered raped and tortured her before she entered the organization (so why she hasn't killed him after all these years I've no idea, if she's such a bad ass), and two, the person they're sent to kill is none other than Opal. Imagine that.

But on this particular mission, in a bout of sudden passion, which I thought Cameo was not prone to based on previous character building of a top notch killer... she kills Clovis for what he did after all those years. Finally she offs him and is so unprofessional and unable to contain herself she does it in the middle of when she's supposed to be killing Opal and Bellamy, and all of a sudden she's allied herself with them and they're buddies.


After this happens, the plot just disintegrates even more. Her master shows up and tells her to go steal the bones of her dead sister from a grave. I never found out why, there's no reveal for that in the book whatsoever. It appears to be completely arbitrary. Then mid traipsing off to do that, she's thrown on another mission when she meets Kyrian and she has to escort him somewhere in exchange for his grandfather keeping this massive secret about her from Opal -- a secret that he finds out anyway before they get Kyrian to where he needs to go. Pointless.

It appeared that the only plot carried through was a subplot that was never made very important, about Wick (leader of their organization) being a witch. And Cameo apparently deciding to kill her.

Honestly, the book seemed to chase itself in circles. Example: Cameo spends time burying a body, and there is only one other dead body around but it's inside a coach, and a character then looks off into the sunset and there is a description about how the bodies make the landscape look. ...What bodies? Where did they come from?!

Bottom Line: Save yourself the headache.

1 / 5 book squirrels

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