The Butterfly Assassin
by Finn Longman
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Pub Date 7 Sep 2022 | Archive Date 29 Jun 2022
Simon and Schuster UK Children's, Simon & Schuster Children's UK
'An electrifying debut!’ Chelsea Pitcher, author of This Lie Will Kill You
Trained and traumatised by a secret assassin programme for minors, Isabel Ryans wants nothing more than to be a normal civilian. After running away from home, she has a new name, a new life and a new friend, Emma, and for the first time, things are looking up.
But old habits die hard, and it’s not long until she blows her cover, drawing the attention of the guilds – the two rival organisations who control the city of Espera. An unaffiliated killer like Isabel is either a potential asset . . . or a threat to be eliminated.
Will the blood on her hands cost her everything?
From Finn Longman, an exhilarating new voice in YA fiction, comes an addictive new blockbuster series for fans of global phenomena The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Killing Eve and The Hunger Games.
PRAISE FOR THE BUTTERFLY ASSASSIN:
'This dark, enthralling thriller is a compulsive debut' The Guardian
'An immersive, fast-paced thriller' The Irish Times
‘A heart-in-your-mouth thriller that grips you from the first page until the very last.’ Benjamin Dean, author of The King is Dead
'A bold, jagged and uncompromising thriller that will keep you guessing all the way to the end.’ Tom Pollock, author of White Rabbit, Red Wolf
‘Sharp and layered, with a bright beating heart. The Butterfly Assassin will lure you deep into a fascinating and dangerous new world.’ Rory Power, author of Wilder Girls
‘An utterly addictive story. I told myself "just one more chapter" well into the night.’ Emily Suvada, author of This Mortal Coil
‘Fierce, thrilling, and impossible to put down. Packed full of amazing friendships, plot twists and a desperate fight to survive’ C. G. Drews, author of The Boy Who Steals Houses
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 13 members
Gripping from start to finish. The Butterfly Assassin follows Isabel Ryans, an ex-child assassin on the run from the Guild that raised her, but no one can run forever and her past is quickly catching up.
The Butterfly Assassin was a thrilling ride. I found the use of Esperanto fascinating and endlessly cool. Isabel too was a great protagonist to follow, full of drive and vulnerability.
What a fantastic start to a new series! One of the most intriguing and original YA thrillers I've read in the recent past. There have been many versions of the teenage assassin character, but Finn Longman has done something different with it. I saw one of the twists coming early on, but there were others that defied the usual tropes and formulas. I'm waiting with bated breath for the next one.
While I take away half a star becase Isabel's tendency to blame herself for everything became annoying after the first few dozen times, I will put it straight back in for casual, no-nonsense diversity in the book.
(Review copy from NetGalley)
I read an early copy of this book.
Although this is far from my usual choice of reading I was hooked from the first pages. Finn's writing is exquisite, and their storytelling ability no less than their skill with words. This is an easy crossover book into adult fiction, and will appeal to a broad range of readers.
I was quickly invested in Isabel's world, and my heart ached for her throughout the book. I kind of wish Finn had thrown a little more happiness at her, but I guess that wouldn't have made such a good book.
Isabel is caught up in a dystopian world of rival factions, killing, and revenge, but ultimately her story is one of being backed into impossible corners, and being let down by those who should look after her. The story artfully explores themes of child abuse (physical and mental, more than sexual), family loyalty, illness, lonlieness, and anger.
Isabel has so many barriers up around herself that even when friendship is offered to her, by Nick and then by the lovely Emma (another character who is so well-portrayed and tugged at my heartstrings), Isabel is skeptical and distrusting. Meanwhile, the past she is running from catches up with her when she kills someone who harasses her. Scared, sick, alone, she has no choice but to open up and seek help, but this only pulls her new friends into her world of danger. The novel is quite fast-paced, but also slow enough to build the world and characters extremely well. It's quite a rollercoaster as Isabel seeks the lines between family, friendship, life, death, trust, distrust, and when these overlap, experiences fresh heartache and destruction. So many times through the book I wanted to reach into its pages and give Isabel a hug, tell her she's safe.
I found myself feeling slightly sad as I finsihed this book - not just for Isabel and her pain and loss, but also because I could have happily stayed lost in Finn's writing for much longer. I look forward to reading more of their books, and highly recommend this one to older teenagers and adults everywhere, especially those who have their own experiences of pain and illness. I also found the commentary on society poignant and slightly unnerving - the human experimenting, the world of factions and fighting, seems all too possible in our current world, and, in the footsteps of such books as 1984, this book felt a little too close to 'probable future if not already happening' to be entirely comfortable. It's a thought-provoking book with messages and characters that will linger.
When I read the author's note, the pain and anguish of the story became more understandable, and to revisit the story with that author's explanation of their own batttle with chronic illness in mind put a slightly different slant on how I related to Isabel's story.
Congratulations, Finn Longman, on an incredible debut novel.
This is such a fast paced book it’s incredible! It had me hooked right from the start, the story is amazing the characters are great and relatable, there’s so much action and adrenaline throughout this book it’s next level. I couldn’t put it down from the very first page and that’s everything I look for in a book. I can’t wait to read the next!
This book was fire! But the good kind. A whirlwind of suspense, tension and assassin drama. I was on tenterhooks for the entire time and with the main storyline, it made for a very intense follow along and wow, I did not foresee what the plot of this book would be like but I loved it.
It was not what I was expecting but this was even better than the idea I had in my head of what this was going to be like. It by far surpassed my expectations and was so much more than I thought it would be.
It was dark, had a real ‘against the clock’ impending doom feel to it which had you on the edge of your seat, tearing through the pages to see what would happen. Once I’d gotten to grips with the gangs and the rivalries and the set up to the story, it was easy to follow and such a thrilling read.
It was such a pain to rip myself away from this book as I just needed to know how it was going to end. Certainly very entertaining although I was dissatisfied with a few of the events and how certain things unfolded. A bit too much injustice, some things felt a little rushed and too easy and occasionally the main character got a little repetitive but I did really enjoy reading it and I’m excited to see more from this author and where the story with Isobel is headed.
The Butterfly Assassin an intense thriller about a teenage assassin trying to leave her past behind her and live something of a normal life. With subtle world building and a lead character that I almost accidentally started to like, it was a hell of a read.
Darker than I expected based on the cover (which doesn't really fit the vibe at all!) the book did have some parts that felt a bit out of place or seemed a bit inconsistent. Otherwise it was a great story!
I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
The Butterfly Assassin is one of those books that I will be throwing at everyone I know. This is a unique, memorable and brilliantly complex book that shatters every expectation.
Longman’s world-building was exquisite, with a detailed hierarchy of Guilds, spies and assassins. It felt so fleshed out and immersive, allowing me to sit back and be pulled into this layered world. The plotting was also spot-on, with a constant increase of tension and suspense. Longman throws in some emotionally devastating plot twists and really does not pull their punches. They do not hold make on making you fall in love with these characters, only to throw you for a spin in the next breath. That emotional core and focus provides the shining star of the book for me in the exploration of guilt, trauma and abuse. Longman really goes in deep here with a thoughtful, nuanced and empathetic portrayal. You can feel how much heart and soul has gone into this, as it always feels delicately and carefully presented. The real horror and impact it has on Isabel is unrelenting and truthful.
Isabel was the absolute highlight of the book for me. Longman’s portrayal of an ace, disabled woman was something that really struck a chord with me. The disability representation rang so true in the way Isabel deals with pain. She was such a complex protagonist, messed up in so many ways and a killer to boot. That being said, I loved her anyway. Her fractured, flawed viewpoint was fascinating and your heart aches for the child that was warped and broken time after time after time. Longman’s character development was exquisite. This was accentuated by the ticking clock and impending sense of doom that hovers over the entire book. Combined with the emotional investment you have in Isabel’s attempts to forge a new life for herself, you have an extremely fast-paced, inventive and emotionally intuitive book.
The Butterfly Assassin stunned me with its compassionate, brutally honest and dark heart, though there are glimpses of hope woven into this bleak tale. This is going to be a book that everyone talks about.
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