Markswoman

Markswoman

Kyra is the youngest Markswoman in the Order of Kali, one of a handful of sisterhoods of highly trained elite warriors. Armed with blades whose metal is imbued with magic and guided by a strict code of conduct, the Orders are sworn to keep the peace and protect the people of Asiana. Kyra has pledged to do so—yet she secretly harbors a fierce desire to avenge her murdered f...

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Title:Markswoman
Author:Rati Mehrotra
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Markswoman Reviews

  • Lisa

    Review from Tenacious Reader:

    This debut was such an enjoyable read for me. It had a great balance of world building and character drama and the pace kept things moving. The world in this is definitely interesting. It starts out feeling like a standard fantasy world with magic and swords, etc. But then as you keep reading and details are revealed, you come to realize it also is post-apocalyptic. I’ve seen this in a number of other books, but that certainly

    Review from Tenacious Reader:

    This debut was such an enjoyable read for me. It had a great balance of world building and character drama and the pace kept things moving. The world in this is definitely interesting. It starts out feeling like a standard fantasy world with magic and swords, etc. But then as you keep reading and details are revealed, you come to realize it also is post-apocalyptic. I’ve seen this in a number of other books, but that certainly did not prevent me from enjoying the reveals in this one at all.

    There are orders of women called Markswomen, who serve essentially as assassins. They are meant to uphold the law and enforce order, so they are feared as their skills are almost legendary. Plus, as I mentioned before, they are assassins, so its probably natural that the commoners don’t want to buddy up with them and instead keep a respectul (and slightly fearful) distance. One secret to their power is that they are telepathically bonded with a special type of blade, so it becomes a sort of extenstion of themselves. These blades are magical, and provide their owners strength and the ability to do more than just cut or slice. Even at the end of the book, I feel like there is more to these blades than I we have learned so far, and I look forward to reading on to find out.

    Our protaginist, Kyra, was brought to the order at a much younger age than most and she formed a close bond with her mentor, who was like a mother to her. Because of the devastating events that she experienced as her clan and family were destroyed, Kyra has a strong desire for vengeance for the death of her family and clan. This is something that challenges her at points in the book, where she has to weigh her commitment to her order or her desire for vengeance. An apprentice’s first kill in the name of the order (their first mark) is how they graduate to become a Markswoman, Kyra’s first kill does not sit easy for her, showing that while she has a strong desire for retribution for the death of her family and clan, killing also does not sit easy for her.

    After the unexpected death of her mentor, she is faced with a new challenge as well, as she believes it was foul play and has a keen idea exactly who murdered her. But without proof, she is challenged to find a way to persuade the leaders what has happened to ensure justice is served. Kyra’s life takes a very unexpected turn after the death of Sherrin Mam and she has to face her actions and make a plan to make right what has gone horribly wrong.

    While the majority of the book is told from Kyra’s perspective, there are chapters told from Rustan’s perspective as well. He is a Marksman, and his order is shunned by most of the Markswomen who believe that men are not qualified to wield. It gives a slightly different perspective to the world, and really provides a a lot of great information about dynamics. I have a feeling Rustan, who was quite important in this book, will become an even bigger piece of the story as the series continues.

    Overall, I feel like Markswoman gave a great mix of badass women, action and an interesting world. The pace moved well and I am really looking forward to the next book.

  • Sarah

    This was a fast paced fun read. It was YA so it unfortunately it fell into some of the same YA pitfalls I tend to dislike, most notably, an instalove triangle. Not to fear though, the love interest doesn’t even show up until halfway into the book and the romance was in no way a central plot thread.

    I loved the characters here. Kyra does not have special snowflake syndrome. She is the youngest full fledged Markswoman in the Order of Kali and her skills aren’t always up to par which was refreshing.

    This was a fast paced fun read. It was YA so it unfortunately it fell into some of the same YA pitfalls I tend to dislike, most notably, an instalove triangle. Not to fear though, the love interest doesn’t even show up until halfway into the book and the romance was in no way a central plot thread.

    I loved the characters here. Kyra does not have special snowflake syndrome. She is the youngest full fledged Markswoman in the Order of Kali and her skills aren’t always up to par which was refreshing. She makes a few bad decisions (and really, don’t all teenagers make relatively stupid decisions now and again?) but what redeems it is that she was not a damsel in distress that needed rescuing. If Kyra messed up, Kyra dealt with it on her own. I also really enjoyed Rustan’s character and found him very relatable. His past is still a mystery and I’m hoping we get to read more of it in the next book!

    The world building was absolutely superb. Even though there are several Orders of Markswomen (and Marksmen) that share some core traits, they seem to have their own methods of doing things. We get to see how the Marswomen are brought up, some of the rituals they partake in as part of their journey from novices to Marswomen, their belief systems, etc. The world is sort of post apocalyptic. This is set 850 years after an event known as the Great War, and many many years after an exalted civilization known as The Ones who left behind some ancient technologies that the current people don’t understand how to replicate but are still able to use. The world building was definitely my favorite part and I often marveled at the level of detail the author included without using excessive infodumps.

    The setting was done really well too and I liked that we weren’t limited to one part of the world. The Order of Kali lives in a cave system set in a lush forest surrounded by mountains. The Order of Khur (the Marksmen) reside in the desert surrounded by sand dunes that experience scorching hot temperatures by day and freezing temperatures by night.

    My only real complaint was that for a novel about assassins, there weren’t many assassinations happening? (I know, I know, I’m a terrible person who likes her fantasies bloody and dark.) All in all, a standout in the YA fantasy genre. This book ended with a lot of questions left to answer and I can’t wait to see where it goes next!!

    I won this book in a GoodReads giveaway so thank you to the publisher and GoodReads!

  • Jessi ♡

    heteronormativity and insta-love aside THE PLOT IS SO GOOD AND I LOVE ALL THEM FEMALE ASSASSINS, they can murder me i'll thank them

  • Justine

    This book was a big surprise for me. Why? Because I had started off listening to the audiobook in the car while my kids were with me and they insisted that I could only listen to it when they were there too. So I did - hence the lengthy time to completion. I thought maybe they might get bored, as this book is a bit slow in some parts, and has more than a few political machinations going on, but no, they LOVED IT. **

    What I liked about this were the unique setting - post-apocalyptic but Indian ins

    This book was a big surprise for me. Why? Because I had started off listening to the audiobook in the car while my kids were with me and they insisted that I could only listen to it when they were there too. So I did - hence the lengthy time to completion. I thought maybe they might get bored, as this book is a bit slow in some parts, and has more than a few political machinations going on, but no, they LOVED IT. **

    What I liked about this were the unique setting - post-apocalyptic but Indian inspired, with the devastation so far in the past that things have essentially cycled forward into a brand new civilisation. I liked that the main character Kyra was chosen to complete a task, but isn't necessarily a "chosen one" in terms of her abilities. Her struggles made her more real and likeable. The romance, if you can even call it that, was extremely light handed. It's more of a hopefulness for the next book.

    Overall I thought the worldbuilding was unique, the story interesting, and any weaknesses are mostly due to the fact that this is a debut novel. I'm very interested to see how the story concludes in the second book, and to see if Mehrotra continues to level up as a writer.

    ** Note: The 4 star rating actually comes from me. My 9 and 12 year old rate this book 5 and 4.5 stars respectively.

  • Christie«SHBBblogger»

    Markswoman

    Asiana #1

    Rati Mehrotra

    January 23, 2018

    Yes

    When I first spotted this book, I just had to have it. The entire package was calling out to me, telling me that I needed to read it. A group of revered female assassins who use magic daggers to enforce justice and keep the peace? That cover? A debut YA fantasy author to try out? Y

    Markswoman

    Asiana #1

    Rati Mehrotra

    January 23, 2018

    Yes

    When I first spotted this book, I just had to have it. The entire package was calling out to me, telling me that I needed to read it. A group of revered female assassins who use magic daggers to enforce justice and keep the peace? That cover? A debut YA fantasy author to try out? Yes, yes, and more

    Give me a pen and paper, and I'll sign on the dotted line. I was eager for this book to be a huge hit, but while it wasn't bad by any means, it wasn't what I was hoping it would be. My main issue was that I just could not stay engaged in the story. Throughout the majority of the book, it felt as if it was dragging at a snail's pace, and I had to keep setting it down and picking it back up again.

    I think the plot may have suffered from that dreaded first book in a fantasy trilogy syndrome. All of the necessary characters' introductions, intricate world building, and establishing backstories can drain the story of potential action. I felt as if I spent most of the book learning about their culture and waiting for things to kick into a higher gear.

    Kyra as the main protagonist was at the top of the list of things that were right. Having a female centric story was appealing enough, but it was an added bonus that she was a likable character that I could root for. In the beginning of the book, she has just earned her place as an official Markswoman after taking out her first mark. We see that she is a young woman who struggles with the morality of what she is doing, and her doubts consume her despite a personal interest in the kill. Kyra is a bit of a rebel in the sense that she is unable to let go of the injustices done on her family in the past. Her heart is firmly set on revenge, even though the Order specifically mandates that all members must release the past in order to give themselves and their futures to their superiors. The hatred and anger she feels towards those who wronged her just cannot be snuffed out. It simmers and burns quietly under the surface, just waiting for the opportunity to appease it.

    Kyra started out as a novice in the Order at the age of five, the youngest that had ever been accepted. Since that time, she took classes and trained, working towards earning the katari that she would eventually bond with through life and beyond. The rare kalishium metal that is forged with has telepathic properties that they still don't fully comprehend, and the skill to produce these special daggers is almost extinct. To earn these extremely rare weapons, novices are put through a rigorous coming of age trial with four stages that prove their worth. The concept was really unique, and the idea behind it one that was clearly intelligently thought out.

    The themes of good and evil were prevalent, most notably in the kalashik guns formed before the Great War that alter minds, causing horrible death and destruction. Whereas katari blades seek to protect, there is a wrongness to these guns that almost wiped out an entire world. Another was prejudice, aimed towards the one solitary male Order of Khur. These men are belittled and insulted despite their fierceness and skill, and the females are generally taught that they are imposters. This was an interesting gender power reversal, and smartly highlighted the unfairness of discrimination and inequality in society in a fresh way.

    Rustan is the second protagonist, one of the males in the Order of Khur. When Kyra flees her home and steps through a portal that has been closed for decades, her preconceptions quickly change about Rustan and the rest of his Order. Training with him is a very humbling experience, and she realizes that her plan to return home to her Order and her comfortable life may be doomed for failure. If she cannot best this man, how will she win the dual against the traitorous new Mahimata?

    Both are tormented with their own uncertain futures, and self-doubt plagues them. However, they both showed extraordinary courage and commitment to doing the right thing despite the odds that were against them. Separately they were great, but as a couple, I couldn't really get behind the pairing. Their romantic emotions had absolutely no realistic build to speak of. At one point, we were abruptly told that he was in love with her, with no foundation at all. We were not

    this development at all, making the entire thing two dimensional and disingenuous. I personally enjoy romance in my fantasy books, but this was not executed well in my opinion.

    I will say, the last 15-20% of the story finally fully engaged me, and the climax was well written and impressively creative. I wish that I had felt that way about more of the book, and perhaps the following installment would be more successful in consistently holding my interest. There was quite the cliffhanger at the end, so I confess that I'm more than a little curious as to how it will continue. I think this could be a hit for many fantasy lovers, especially if you're looking for something unique with a strong female character in the forefront.

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  • Lena (The Printed Girl)

    omg omg omg! I just one this book as my first goodreads giveaway!!!

    I'm sooo happy. I entered more than 100 give aways for over a year and I FINALLY won!!

    Can't wait to start reading this book!! :D

    -----------------------------------

    Great read! It was a bit confusing sometimes because it went very fast at some points, but still a great book.

  • Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    I freaking love this cover! I loved the summary of the book but it was just an okay read for me.

    I'm sure plenty will love it though 😊

    Happy Reading!

    Mel ❤

    I freaking love this cover! I loved the summary of the book but it was just an okay read for me.

    I'm sure plenty will love it though 😊

    Happy Reading!

    Mel ❤️

  • chri

    I AM HERE FOR SISTERHOODS OF BADASS WOMEN. My reading interests fall pretty neatly into two categories: books full of badass characters (the characters I want to become) and trashy romance novels (for the trashy person that I am.) I was so certain Markswoman would fall into the former category, but it ended up falling into neither. My emotions while reading went something like: bewildered -> confused -> quite frankly lost???? -> bored -> a little more than slightly angry -> confus

    I AM HERE FOR SISTERHOODS OF BADASS WOMEN. My reading interests fall pretty neatly into two categories: books full of badass characters (the characters I want to become) and trashy romance novels (for the trashy person that I am.) I was so certain Markswoman would fall into the former category, but it ended up falling into neither. My emotions while reading went something like: bewildered -> confused -> quite frankly lost???? -> bored -> a little more than slightly angry -> confused -> oh what the book ended?

    Let's START AT THE VERY BEGINNING. The map was charming; the intro fairly interesting. I liked the "while we hold a katari in our hands and the Kanun in our hearts, a word from us can still raise armies and crumble mountains" line. But then we get to the opening chapters in Kyra and Rustan's POV, and, well. It's not a bad thing necessarily - no part of Markswoman was inherently terrible, except for maybe that bit toward the end that I'll get to later - and this is going to sound really bad at the beginning but please bear with me I'll explain.

    I wasn't really feeling how the good majority of the "good" characters in the story seemed so uncertain about executing. I mean normal people SHOULD be uncertain about executing people. But when it's your job, please be certain before you do the deed? Personally, I consider it pretty crucial for executioners to be certain about their actions. And if they ever feel like they did something wrong, they should right it as well as they could. You can never bring someone back from the dead, but acknowledging a wrongful death, figuring out what was behind it... I think those are pretty good places to start. And the uncertain waffling didn't stop at killings - it extended to practically all other aspects of the character's life. But Markswoman and Marksmen are chosen, and I find it hard to believe that so many wafflers were chosen? Kyra I can see; Kyra makes sense - her first kill left her uncertain, and her character's brave and strong and fairly tenacious in her other actions. But Rustan? Rustan. He waffles a lot - on everything - and avoids responsibility just as often and wow his character was frustrating. A lot of the elders of Kali were the same, as well as many of Kyra's friends, and it didn't match with the narrative. Markswoman and Marksmen are chosen on spirit, y'know, all that good inner stuff, and while that sounds nice and all, you can't see a lot of it! Tamsyn and Shirin Mam had balls of fucking steel if you'll forgive my wording, but most of the other characters? They left a lot to be desired.

    I did really like how the author used palindromic prime numbers as passwords for the doors. Call me a nerd but little things like that make me happy. The whole thing about how Kyra and Shirin Mam would pass on was also kind of eerie and unsettling but interesting at the same time - especially Kyra and her dreams. I'd love to see that developed in the upcoming books.

    The pacing, on the other hand, was shaky. The beginning ambles a little. When her mentor dies, Kyra isn't "forced on the run" so much as she just hightails it out of there and at that point, Tamsyn hadn't seemed like a terribly bad character, and so Kyra's actions do come off as rash and bewildering. The plot starts ambling again after the death, only to collide headfirst into the tragedy that was Markswoman's Romantic Subplot. In which Kyra doesn't "befriend" Rustan so much as she does piss him off, get beat up by him, and then plummet headfirst into what can be best described as a tragically ill-timed romance. In that order. Then the plot slows again, only to speed up in the last few pages. If the author's goal was to give us all whiplash? She succeeded. Markswoman was like one of those "the history of the universe in a year" kind of videos when nothing happens in the first 365 days and then suddenly you hit the last few hours and BOOM apes become people invent writing make Pyramids start the Renaissance go to space.

    MOVING ON. THE ROMANCE. Quite honestly I thought Markswoman would've been better without the romance. But if there had to be, of all the possible ways it could've gone - Kyra x a cute badass girl from the Order of Kali or Kyra x a cute badass girl from a neighboring order or Kyra x a cute badass guy from the order of Khur who actuALLY TREATS HER WELL - how did we end up here?

    Without giving anything away, right before the descent into ~romance~ some other asshole assaults Kyra via her mind and after saving her the first thing her "male romantic lead" does is pull some aggressive tsundere romantic bullshit on her and WHY? There was no chemistry and then suddenly we're told they have all the chemistry and the guy is this close to being unable to keep it in his pants anymore. I'm paraphrasing of course but that was very much the sentiment and I was very much put off.

    And then it gets even worse because I actually kind of admired Kyra's spirit and tenacity before, even though it wasn't as delved into as it could've been (the thing with her dead family's only brought up here and there, and in her goals against Tamsyn, she seems fierce at times but oddly emotionless and forced at others). BUT BUT BUT so she's in for the fight of her life. Her work over the past few months have been building up to this moment. SHE MIGHT DIE. SHE'S THE YOUNGEST MARKSWOMAN, PART OF A HIGHLY TRAINED SISTERHOOD OF ELITE WARRIORS, IS ARMED WITH A TELEPATHIC BLADE, IS ABLE TO WALK THROUGH DOORS NO ONE ELSE CAN, AND HAS THE STEELY MIND TO SHUT OUT THE LURING CREEPY SUGGESTIONS OF AN EVIL SENTIENT GUN (which was a super cool idea I'd definitely be down for reading more about) ANd then some guy who can't read the atmosphere or spare consideration for her mental state comes along and all she can think of is

    @Kyra maybe not now? YOUR LIFE IS ON THE LINE DAMMIT.

    All in all, Markswoman wasn't a terrible read. The writing was nice, I liked a lot of the ideas that went into this novel, and Kyra was, at most times, pretty cool to follow along. But with the pacing, the shaky characterization, the romance... it had potential, but ended up slipping to the lower end of "okay."

  • Sabrina

    I read a few chapters of this book but I'm going to put it off for some time later. It was good so far like the world building and characters were interesting but what bugged me was that the MC cuts her arm after a kill (this happens in chapter 1). It is explained why though, to remember who they kill but I just.. I'll give this book another chance some time later.

    - - -

    So I did give this book another chance but it just fell flat for me. There were many great elements like the wor

    I read a few chapters of this book but I'm going to put it off for some time later. It was good so far like the world building and characters were interesting but what bugged me was that the MC cuts her arm after a kill (this happens in chapter 1). It is explained why though, to remember who they kill but I just.. I'll give this book another chance some time later.

    - - -

    So I did give this book another chance but it just fell flat for me. There were many great elements like the world building but a lot of other things brought it down. The characters, besides the MC, just felt flat and like an accessory. The writing was a bit passive and I couldn't really get into it.

    I really wanted to enjoy this one, the cover is beautiful, but I guess it didn't work for me.

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