Weapon of Flesh by Chris A. Jackson
SE rating: 5 of 5 stars
Weapon of Flesh: Accessible, Well-designed Dark Fantasy: The back-cover blurb is concise and has no spoilers, and captures the book well (copied/pasted below).
This book is saturated with oppression, violence, and murder but none of that is gratuitous. Like his assassin characters, author Chris A. Jackson balances several tight-rope acts: (a) have the protagonist, Lad, commit evil acts while being innocent at heart; (b) present the coming of age of three characters with burgeoning romance without being cheesy; (c) dole out humor (mostly through Lad's dialogue) while shedding blood; (d) present mature themes of identity and life-purpose with an easy-to-read style (suitable for YA or adult audiences).
Each chapter blends into the next with a carefully scripted, enjoyable plot with just the right amount of tension. All the main characters (Lad, Mya, Wiggin) grow while establishing strong character motivations. There are five more in the series and this is solid introduction. Before I jump into #2 Weapon of Blood, I will read Chris A. Jackson's Deathmask since I already have the paperback and I'm a sucker for necromancers.
Most (if not all) are illustrated by Noah Stacey:
Weapon of Flesh Series
#1 Weapon of Flesh 2005
#2 Weapon of Blood 2013
#3 Weapon of Vengeance 2014
#4 Weapon of Fear 2015 *
#5 Weapon of Pain 2016 *
#6 Weapon of Mercy 2017 *
(* with Anne L. McMillen-Jackson)
Back Cover Blurb to Weapon of Flesh:
"Forged from flesh… and magic. Made to kill… but not to feel.
He was made for one purpose: To be the most efficient killer, the most lethal assassin the world had ever seen. But something has gone wrong with the plan.
The Master is gone… The weapon is free… And in a dangerous world, a weapon does what a weapon is made to do. Or does he?
Without even a name, the weapon chooses one: Lad. And so the weapon begins to become a person… All he has been told is that his destiny awaits him, so he seeks it out, though he knows not what that destiny is.
But the one who paid for the weapon to be forged awaits his prize…impatiently. The Grandfather of Assassins has invested nearly two decades and a fortune in his perfect weapon, and when it does not arrive on time, he begins to search. His hunters are seeking Lad, and Lad is seeking his destiny.
There is only one problem: No one thought a weapon of flesh would fall in love."
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