Shadows of Hemlock (Apricots and Wolfsbane)

Written by K.M. Pohlkamp
Review by Nicole Evelina

Having betrayed those she holds dear, assassin Aselin Gavrell is faced not with the prestige and independence she imagined, but with a life of servitude to her powerful clients and distrust from the very Guild she sought to impress. With the help of a maid/possible apprentice of her own and a few close friends, Aselin has to fend off dangerous men who want her dead as well as complete a task so impossible it would make Hercules quake in his sandals, all the while dealing with the emotional and mental fallout from the actions that led to her Master’s death.

Returning to K. M. Pohlkamp’s Tudor world of assassins in this second book in a series is like going to a beloved vacation spot. It is much anticipated and comfortingly familiar, yet brings with it something new on each page and never fails to please. While this book can be read on its own, to get the full effect reading its predecessor, Apricots and Wolfsbane, is recommended.

Pohlkamp is a master of strong, clever, intelligent, yet flawed female characters. Aselin is by turns laudatory and infuriating, brave and weak, but that is what makes her such a relatable, memorable heroine. Filled with twists you won’t see coming, this fantasy will leave you breathless until the final page. Highly recommended for fans of the first book as well as anyone looking for a good quasi-Renaissance world in which to escape. And I personally hope this series will spawn many more books!