“Academy of Assassins” by Stacey Brutger – 4 stars

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Morgan has no memory of her life before 10 years of age. She was found and raised by a powerful man named The Macgregor, leader of a coven of witches. The witches tortured and bullied Morgan because she has no magic, only she really does. It’s leashed by a magical torque she wears around her neck and she has no idea how she got it or what it’s true purpose is.

The Macgregor taught her to hunt and she is spectacular at it. She calls herself a mutt, but she is faster, stronger, than humans, and can heal. So she is something more, but we don’t know for most of the book.

Morgan finds herself at an academy, where she will train with other hunters. Since she trained so hard for so many years, it’s not surprising she finds herself on an elite team. Ryder, the shifter. Kincade, the leader, who is something unusual and smells of stone. Draven, the siren. Atlas, the fae.

There is someone else named Ascher too, but I won’t go into him because spoilers.

This reads like an urban fantasy with romance. It’s described as a slow burn reverse harem and that is accurate. There is bonding and kissing, but no sex. I really like all Morgan’s guys.

The world is interesting. The witches view everyone else as “less” and beneath them. They are the ones who can open and close portals and must be protected by the hunters. They get to “claim” shifters, who are treated as second-class citizens.

In this one, there is a murder mystery. Someone is killing women and carving runes onto their bodies, trying to perform a ritual, but failing. Part of the reason Morgan goes to the academy is to find out who the killer is. She ends up finally finding a place where she belongs.

There is a lot going on in this book and it could use a better editing job. But I liked the story and characters enough that the errors didn’t bother me.

I thought even though Morgan did some dumb things, it was acceptable because of her background. She has to learn to rely on other people and work as a team and trust does not come easy to her for good reason. But there is a lot of growth and I liked her.

I liked the supporting characters and even though the villains ended up being a bit predictable, I still thought this was a very solid and enjoyable first book in a series. I can’t wait to read the next one and see what happens with Morgan and her guys!

Buddy read with my reverse-harem-loving MacHalo girls!

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