Hey, didja know that Queen Elizabeth the First had a daughter out-of-wedlock and that daughter was raised as an assassin, actually her name was Phedre and she spoke lots of languages (including the language of loooove)…
wait, that’s mixing up the two series, this isn’t Jaqueline Carey: this is a different series by C.E. Murphy. Our heroine is the aforementioned bastard daughter, named Belinda really, and her mission is to wander about in this parallel Regency Europe wearing awesome clothing.
It’s an unabashed literal bodice ripper. Belinda is only occasionally credible as a cold-blooded killer – it rang true early in the book, but then in leaping forward in time it became a little harder to believe that she’d really offed so many political enemies for Elizabeth. I was surprised when she killed the next person. Then, surprise, after establishing half of the book as character- and politics-driven, Belinda’s innate magic shows up!
Overall, though, the writing is clearly stronger than in the first Negotiator book (Murphy’s first novel Heart of Stone).
Three/five stars, and I will read the sequel The Pretender’s Crown.