Assassin's Orbit Review

by Benjamin Williams

Posted on 3rd August 2021

Assassin's Orbit Review

Assassin's Orbit is a murder mystery book that contains political conspiracy intrigue (although becomes more of a thriller than murder mystery), as on the eve of the planet Ileri's historic vote to join the Commonwealth, the assassination of a government minister threatens to shatter it all. The story follows a few characters, namely Private investigator Noo Okereke, spy Meiko Ogawa and police chief Toiwa as they investigate and discover clues that point disturbingly toward a threat humanity thought they had escaped back on old Earth. A threat that could not only destroy Ileri, but spark an interplanetary war.

With a few POV's, it took a bit of time to really get going, but thankfully there wasn't too many that it became overcrowded or really disrupt the flow of the book once you get hooked into it. The different perspectives really helped show the different circumstances that the characters have to work with politically and the resources available to them.

Assassin's Orbit cover

The diversity on offer is incredible and you can tell the level of effort put in for that which is lovely. I had to look up some things, which is never a problem as it's good to learn - Ze and Zer were not words I'd come across previously when referring to people. The main cast though is entirely older women and there are lots of characters of colour, LGBTQ characters and even a blind character which is something you don't see often in books set in the future. The cane and assistive technology was wonderful and everything I love about sci-fi, focusing on how they've adapted to live rather than being "cured".

(I've also since learned that M. is a gender-neutral alternative to Mr/Mrs/Ms which was also new to me and adds another level to the book, as I assumed it was just part of their name. Embarrassingly I was wrong but at least I've found out since and learnt something else!)

If, you're like me, when reading books set in space in the future and they talk about old Earth and you find yourself wondering what happened to make them leave Earth and never return, then you're in for a welcome read - you do learn and the gradual reveal is unexpected and rather well done. Sometimes it's not necessary to know why Earth has been left behind and this is a story where you don't need to know and it could have been fine, but when you get to it the importance is suddenly clear and you realise it was absolutely necessary to include. It further adds to the universe building which is excellent throughout.

A bit more about those POV's though. There are the main characters which were engaging. There are also a few side characters mixed throughout which I probably brushed over who was who. Some could have been left out for more time being dedicated towards the main characters, but overall it didn't distract from the story too much which is essential. If it flows right, having a few side characters POV's doesn't matter too much, but I do feel like there was a few too many.

The story is a complete, well-developed story with all the plots and situations wrapped up nicely come the end. Sure, there's room to potentially expand with the world-building on offer, although it's not a story where you're left with a load of questions that need answers because there's a ton of loose threads. Everything you need is contained in this story. I'd certainly welcome more, whether it's following the main characters from here or other characters entirely. In addition, I'll probably read this book again, given what I've learnt since as there's plenty on offer. Maybe then I'll be able to appreciate some of the side character POV's more. Definitely one I'll read again though!

Rating: 4.5/5