Rating: 4 out of 5.

This was a very good first book in a new fantasy series. Joss is one of a long line of executioners in the kingdom. She is required to execute those condemned by the kingdom. Despite her inherited role, Joss and her assistant Henrik work as healers for the surrounding villages. One day Joss and Henrik find a seriously wounded man on the road. They take him home and care for him, but are hesitant to reveal their occupation. The wounded man, Aric, is an assassin who was beaten and left for dead after he failed to kill his last assignment. He also doesn’t want to reveal who he is, especially since the dangerous men that hired him know where he is and want him to finish the job. When Joss and Aric’s duties intersect, decisions are made that jeopardize all of their lives.

I really enjoyed this book and look forward to the next one in the series. The author did a good job of sprinkling in the worldbuilding throughout the book rather than writing a big info dump. I loved Joss and Henrik’s sister/brother-type relationship. Despite their gruesome duties, they work hard to help and heal the town’s residents, as well as support each other. Joss and Arik’s interactions initially start out cautiously, but eventually turn flirty. They are both used to keeping people at arms length, being judged, and keeping a protective wall around themselves because of what they do for a living. It took time for them to start letting the other in, while still keeping their delicate balance of honesty and secrecy. The book is a bit of slow burn until about half-way through, where the action picks up. It ends on a fantastic cliffhanger that left me wanting more.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Katie and Brey PA and the author. All opinions are my own.