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17 Best Books About Assassins To Get Your Heart Racing

Last Updated on November 26, 2023 by Louisa

Are you in the mood for something exciting to read? There’s nothing like the life of an assassin to keep you glued to the pages.

That’s why I wanted to compile a list of some of the best books about assassins.

An assassin is a killer for hire. They have a unique set of skills for taking people out without getting caught. The thing about assassins is that they don’t just kill anyone. They are generally hired to kill someone important, like a politician or royalty.

Some of my favorite action-packed books feature an assassin as the leading character.

If you’re in the mood for a good assassin book, you should check out some of the following titles.

Affiliate Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through any of these links. 

What Makes A Good Book About Assassins?

Assassin books are thrilling and mysterious reads that explore the dark and intense world of assassins, the secret agents who specialize in taking out their targets without being detected.

These stories typically revolve around a central assassin character that is faced with morally-charged missions and difficult decisions to make in order to complete these tasks.

Themes explored in these books span from loyalty and redemption to justice and revenge.

As readers journey through the suspenseful plots, they can expect twists and turns as well as moral dilemmas that go beyond what they might have expected.

Assassin stories are fast-paced tales of morality, danger, power dynamics, and heroism – all elements that make them a captivating read.

Best Books About Assassins

Are you ready to read an exciting book about assassins? If so, you should add the following titles to your to-read list.

1. Throne of Glass – Sarah J Maas

If you loved A Court of Thorns and Roses, then you’ll love other works by Sarah J. Maaz – particularly, Throne of Glass, which is an excellent choice when you’re in the mood for books about assassins, fantasy, and action.

This book doesn’t disappoint.

Celaena is one of the best assassins in the kingdom. However, she’s imprisoned as a slave. To win her freedom, she must defeat 23 villains in a competition. 

As Celaena prepares to fight in the competition, something terrible is happening in the castle of glass. An evil force is killing off the other competitors one by one.

To save her world, Celaena must prepare to defeat this evil force.

Related Reading: Books Similar to ACOTAR

2. Assassin’s Apprentice – Robin Hobb

Another great assassin book to check out is Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb. This story follows a young outcast that gets accepted into a much bigger world.

Fitz is a young black sheep. He’s been surviving on his own without any friends or family by his side. His only companionship is the magical link he shares with animals.

A chance encounter brings him to the royal castle, where he’s accepted inside.

However, this new opportunity brings Fitz into a world of special weapons and secret killings. Readers can enjoy Fitz’s journey as he begins training to be a royal assassin.

3. Graceling – Kristin Cashore

One of the best books about assassins to read is Graceling by Kristin Cashore. This book features action, fantasy, and romance all wrapped into one story. 

Kasta has a unique skill that she developed at a young age. She can kill a man with her bare hands. She also happens to be the king’s niece.

She gets to live a charmed life as long as she does the king’s dirty work when he needs to get rid of someone.

Then comes Prince Po. Kasta never expected to get romantic feelings for anyone. But falling in love is out of her control. This romance does come with risks as Po comes closer to discovering Kasta’s secret.  

4. Grave Mercy – Robin LaFevers

Not every assassin wants to take the path they are on. Some of these killers were born with the gift of killing and had no choice but to follow the path.

This is what happens in Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers.

Ismae thought she found a sanctuary when she joined St. Mortain. However, this is where sisters serve the gods of the old.

Ismae learns she was blessed with a dangerous gift from the God of Death. If she wants to stay at the convent, she must follow her destiny.

This is a big conflict for Ismae. Is following her destiny worth it if it destroys others? Ismae must make impossible choices as she’s given her first assignment.

5. A Dance Of Cloaks – David Dalglish

A Dance of Cloaks by David Dalglish is an excellent story about the conflict an assassin-to-be has about the path that’s been chosen for him.

Since birth, it has been expected that Aaron will follow in Thren’s footsteps. There is the greatest assassin the world has ever known.

After Thren declares war on the Trifect, Aaron is left with the hardest decision to make. 

Aaron’s been assigned to kill the daughter of a priest. However, this is something he doesn’t have in his heart to do.

He puts his own life on the line to keep her safe and to put an end to this war.

6. Age Of Assassins – RJ Barker

One of the best books about assassins and their apprentices is Age of Assassins by RJ Barker. 

Girton is an apprentice to the best assassin in the land. There’s a lot to learn about the art of killing people.

However, Girton and his master are assigned a mission unlike any other. This time, they will have to save someone’s life.

This mission is just the start of a bigger conspiracy that’s brewing within the kingdom. Will Girton be ready for what’s about to come?

7. The Way Of Shadows – Brent Weeks

The Way Of Shadows by Brent Weeks is my favorite graphic novel about assassins. This story follows the most accomplished assassin in the city.

Durzo thinks of assassination as an art, and he’s the most talented artist.

Azoth will do anything to survive, even if that means working for Durzo.

He takes on a new identity as Kyler while learning about the dangerous world Durzo has brought him into.

This exciting graphic novel brings strange magic into the mix to tell an unforgettable story about learning from an assassin. 

8. Venom: An Elemental Assassin Book – Jennifer Estep

Venom is the 3rd installment in Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assassin series. This story is about when an assassin’s job is personal.

Gin is the owner of a bbq joint in town. As far as her close friends are concerned, Gin’s life as Spider the assassin is over.

What they don’t know is that Gin has a secret project, and she must keep her identity hidden. 

Her new mission isn’t for money. It’s for revenge. She’s determined to end Mab Monroe, who killed her family. 

One of her family members is still alive, Bria, who’s now a detective. While Bria thinks her sister is dead, Gin will do anything to save her life. 

9. The Book of Jhereg – Steven Brust

If you want to have a laugh and enjoy a fun assassin story, I recommend The Book of Jhereg by Steven Brust. This story follows Vlad the assassin, and his dragon sidekick.

This is a fantasy anthology novel that is split into three separate stories. Readers can follow Vlad’s early adventures as an assassin all the way to the later years when he’s an expert in his field. 

If you’re a fan of role-playing games and fantasy compilations, you’ll want to get your hands on a copy of this book.

A tabletop role-playing campaign inspired the story.

10. Poison Study – Maria V. Snyder

One of the best books about assassins that kept me on the edge of my seat is Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder. Instead of focusing on the assassin.

This story follows the one who could be assassinated.

Yelena was set to be executed for murder. Instead of execution, Yelena is offered a deal. She can live in the palace and be the food taster.

However, she will have to risk assassination if someone puts a hit on the Commander of Ixia. 

The chief of security poisons Yelena. This is to ensure she doesn’t go anywhere and continues coming back for the antidote.

To make things even more complicated, Yelena develops magical powers she can’t control. 

11. Nevernight – Jay Kristoff

Nevernight is one of the most exciting books on my list. This story follows Mia, as she begins her journey as an assassin’s apprentice. 

Mia’s father was the leader of a failed rebellion. After he was executed, Mia went on the run to avoid being next.

This led her to the Red Church, which is a team of some of the best assassins in the land. 

At the Red Church, Mia joins other students to learn about the art of assassination.

But when it’s discovered that there’s a killer in the halls, Mia’s past soon returns to her. 

12. The Assassin and the Desert – Sarah J Maas

Throne Of Glass is one of the best books about assassins, but if you couldn’t put that book down, I highly recommend the Throne of Glass novella The Assassin and the Desert.

This prequel story follows Celaena as she joins the Silent Assassins of the Red Desert.

She’s determined to sharpen her skills and become the best assassin the world has ever known. Celaena wants to be a name that people fear.

However, there are forces that are bigger than her that want to put an end to the Silent Assassins.

Will Celaena be able to stop them before it’s too late?

View it on:

13. The Emperor’s Edge – Lindsay Buroker

Are you looking for a fun book following the journey of an assassin? I suggest reading The Emperor’s Edge by Lindsay Buroker.

This book follows Amaranthe, an assassin who considers herself pretty good at her job. She’s been able to keep the empire clean of thieves and petty criminals.

However, things begin to get complicated as bodies begin to pile up at the waterfront and an arson covers up a big crime. 

If this wasn’t enough, the emperor’s assassin Sicarius returns. He’s the most notorious assassin in the empire.

Even Amaranthe knows to stay out of his way. That is why she can’t believe it when her special orders her to take him out. 

14. The Day of The Jackal – Fredrick Forsyth

The Day Of The Jackal by Fredrick Forsyth is a thriller from the early 1970s. This book follows The Jackal, one of the world’s most notorious assassins.

Jackal has been hired for a job so secretive his employers don’t even know his identity. His mission is to take out the president of France.

However, placing a hit on this man isn’t going to be an easy task, even for the best assassin.

This isn’t the first time someone put out a hit on the French president. Many years prior, OAS (a militant underground organization) attempted a hit on him that didn’t go as planned.

Since then, everyone has been living in danger. This president must be stopped, and Jackal is the only man for the job.

15. Godsgrave – Jay Kristoff

One of the best collections of books about assassins is the Nevernight Chronicles by Jay Kristoff. If you enjoyed the first book in this series, Nevernight, you’ll love the second installment Godsgrave.

Mia is back for another adventure. This time, she’s earned her spot in the hierarchy among the Blades Of Our Lady Of Blessed Murder. However, there are people at the Red Church that believe she shouldn’t be there. 

She’s determined to avenge the death of her father and believes she’s ready. But, the people responsible for her father’s death are part of Consul Scaeva.

Mia has been told they are strictly off-limits. As Mia uncovers more about Red Church and Consul Scaeva, she begins to question what the church’s motives really are. 

16. The Shadow Between Us – Tricia Levenseller

Alessandra plans to overthrow the Shadow King and take over his kingdom.

Nobody knows for sure how powerful the newly crowned Shadow King is. Some people claim he can control the shadows, while others say he can communicate with them.

Regardless, Alessandra knows what she deserves and will do everything possible to get it.

Alessandra is not the only threat to the king.

As assassination attempts are made on his life, she finds herself attempting to keep him alive long enough for him to make her his queen and slowly becoming attracted to him in the process.

17. A Kiss of Shadows (Merry Gentry Series Book 1) – Laurell K. Hamilton

Enter a world of secrets, suspense and sensual immortals.

Follow Princess Merry Gentry as she poses as a human in LA and works as a private investigator specializing in supernatural crime.

But when the Queen’s assassin arrives to bring her back home, she faces an ultimatum—the mission before her is one of power and peril, with life or death on the other side.

In pursuit of the crown, this fae romance book is full of mystery, twists and turns that will have readers enthralled until the very end! A must-read for lovers of assassin stories.

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books about assassins

Final Words On Best Books About Assassins

I hope you found some exciting books on my list. There are so many great assassin books to choose from.

If I missed one of your favorites, you should let me know about it in the comments below. 

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About Louisa Smith

Editor/Founder - Epic Book Society

Louisa is the Founder, Editor, and Head Honcho of Epic Book Society. She was born and raised in the United Kingdom and graduated from the University for the Creative Arts with a degree in Journalism. Louisa began her writing career at the age of 7 when her poetry was published in an anthology of poems to celebrate the Queen's Jubilee. Upon graduating university, she spent several years working as a journalist writing about books before transitioning to become a Primary School Teacher. Louisa loves all genres of books, but her favorites are Sci-Fi, Romance, Fantasy, and Young Adult Fiction. Read more Louisa's story here.

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