Knight Assassin by Rima Jean
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Pub. Date: March 4, 2014
Seventeen-year-old Zayn has special powers she cannot control—powers that others fear
and covet. Powers that cause the Templar Knights to burn Zayn’ s mother at the stake for
witchcraft. When a mysterious stranger tempts Zayn to become the first female member of
the heretical Assassins, the chance to seek her revenge lures her in. She trains to harness her
supernatural strength and agility, and then enters the King of Jerusalem’s court in disguise with
the assignment to assassinate Guy de Molay, her mother’ s condemner. But once there, she
discovers Earic Goodwin, the childhood friend who still holds her heart, among the knights—
and his ocean-blue eyes don’ t miss a thing. Will vengeance be worth the life of the one love she
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You can check out what the author, Rima Jean, had to say about my KA cast here.
I LOVE stories about REVENGE. But I love stories that show me something in a new way, and stories that take me to a new historical place even better. Rima Jean just got added to my “author-to-follow” list. Knight Assassin was BAD-ASS and I think it deserves its own graphic novel.
In Knight Assassin Rima Jean takes us on an empowering tale of revenge through the eyes of Zayn, a 17 year-old Saracen girl who has struggled every day to mask her extraordinary powers within her ordinary life. All of her efforts end up being in vain when a cruel boy from her past becomes the villain of the present and lights the proverbial match to a series of events that change the course of Zayn’s life.
Zayn is a passionate and strongly defined character that I immediately empathized with. The revolutionary undertones to her personality played out in a satisfying way that challenged her circumstances. At the beginning of this story, Zayn is a victim of her own sex and unique qualities. By the end of it, she is the master of her own fate and defies what is expected of her kind. Set among the Crusader States of 1180, the author delicately presents a brutal and tragic event that sends Zayn into the heart of the Holy Wars and a secret society of Muslim assassins against the Knights Templar. Zayn is given the opportunity to train as a Faithful One, a special assassin, to help take down Templar Knights, but she has her own agenda.
Earic Goodwin is the literal knight in shining armor in this book. A childhood friend of Zayn’s, he leaves a lasting mark on her heart when he defends her and offers himself up for punishment in her place one eventful day in their youth. It would be five years before Zayn would see Earic again, but we become familiar with him as Fair Boy during the story through Zayn’s memories. Earic’s character is everything I want in a knight. The events that bring him and Zayn together again play out perfectly when they discover they have more than a long-lasting desire for each other in common. Earic’s character reminded me of Matt Donovan from The Vampire Diaries. His loyalty, love and chivalry know no bounds when it comes to Zayn.
The setting of the story was stimulating and a welcome change from the books I usually read. I’ve never read a YA a book set in this locale, or even one that deals with issues of diversity as related to gender, identity, and sociocultural position in this time period. The Knight’s Templar have always been presented to me in a flattering and heroic way, so it was interesting to ”see” them from Zayn’s POV, as enemies in this story. The mystical and supernatural aspects to this novel pushed it into FIVE STAR territory for me. Knight’s Assassin is shown as a stand-alone novel on Goodreads, but I would LOVE to see it become a trilogy/series. I recommend this action-packed, emotionally charged tale of vengeance, discovery, acceptance, and love to any fan of YA literature with strong and heroic female leads.
About the AuthorRima Jean received a degree in archaeology from the University of Pennsylvania. After a dismal law school experience, she floundered a bit before accepting her calling: storytelling. She resides in Houston with her wonderful husband and two beautiful daughters, where she writes, edits, and dabbles in digital art.
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