Cameo The Assassin

( 17 )

Overview

The Kingdom of Sieunes is rife with taverns, dirty streets, and clay pipe smoking citizens all toiling to feed their families and keep themselves in something little better than rags. With a foiled revolution just ten years prior still burning in the hearts of many, the royals enlist the aid of assassins to keep things in order. The townsfolk entertain themselves by dreaming of better times to come and regaling in stories of the undead said to walk the graveyards at night... and...
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Cameo the Assassin

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Overview

The Kingdom of Sieunes is rife with taverns, dirty streets, and clay pipe smoking citizens all toiling to feed their families and keep themselves in something little better than rags. With a foiled revolution just ten years prior still burning in the hearts of many, the royals enlist the aid of assassins to keep things in order. The townsfolk entertain themselves by dreaming of better times to come and regaling in stories of the undead said to walk the graveyards at night... and of Cameo the killer with corpse-like eyes...

Scarred and jaded Cameo is one of the most effective assassins in the employ of the Association, moving from one mission to the next as long as the alcohol keeps flowing. Her acceptance of the murder-for-hire lifestyle is thrown into doubt when she meets a local highwayman with a penchant for fine clothes and women, and then she begins to think about breaking with the company but no one ever breaks with the Association under good terms.

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Editorial Reviews

M. Wayne Cunningham
The action is rapid and the multi-layered plot is well-constructed and paced accordingly, with several instances of wry humour despite the overall darkness of the themes. The characters—whether likeable or detestable—are credible. The historical settings, although imaginary, are recognizable, with their references to weaponry like rapiers, swords, and muskets, and travel by horses and coaches. Images of Haffef when he "slipped through the floor feet first" or of the world-weary Cameo swigging from her ever-handy flask create clear pictures in the reader's mind. The majority of the novel's text is made up of dialogue, and the way each character speaks is well-suited to their personality. McCullough-White produced this novel through "spontaneous trance writing." A sequel to Cameo is obviously in the making, and readers will hope the next instalment is as much fun as the first.
ForeWord Clarion Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781440159923
  • Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/14/2009
  • Pages: 200
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.46 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 17 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(8)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 6, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Cameo the Assassin is a truly fang-tastic novel by Ms. Dawn McCullough-White!

    Storyline: Cameo is an assassin for hire and she's good at her job. Very good. She is also the stuff of local legends and frightening children's rhymes. Her story begins after she receives an atypical assassination assignment and a chance encounter leads to unexpected changes in her "typical" assassin routine. Cameo manages to make friends as well as make new enemies when she becomes the target of an attempted assassination. The story is distinctive in that the reader is uncertain of Cameo's origins and what she truly is until about mid-way through the book when her true nature is revealed. The pacing is just right, with enough back story and action to keep the reader interested, wanting to learn more and even cheering on the "bad" guys. Grammar/Spelling: I only noticed a few missing commas or periods throughout. Character Development: Ms. McCullough-White does a remarkable job creating a killer that is both plausible and easy to identify with. Cameo manages to leave your heart aching for her to have some normalcy and acceptance in the world. Ms. Mc-W's ability to present the reader with a unique cast of characters without them becoming too contrived or predictable is truly remarkable. Cameo is our heroine/killer and she is exactly what I would imagine a person in her line of work would be: excellent at killing people, jaded and lonely. Throughout all of this, she still has moments of true humanity and even romanticism that help prove that she is not without a conscience or heart. With each revelation of her past, the reader is drawn to her like a moth to the flame. Black Opal is the dashing Highwayman who loves fanciful fashion and lovely lasses. Opal thinks of himself as a debonair and charming gentleman who just happens to rob coaches for a living to support his dandy lifestyle. However, there is more - much more - to him than he lets on. Writing Style: Ms. Mc-W's style is something to be envied and is certainly as refreshing as much as it is straightforward. She doesn't bombard the reader with too many details; yet develops the story with enough speed and grace to keep the reader captivated. Her choice of character names is very interesting in that many of the names seem to have been switched from the typical masculine use to the feminine and vice versa. I have always been intrigued by the origin of names and words and for someone efficiently switching it up a bit and creating "new" names without stringing together a series of vowels and consonants just to "create" a different name is an excellent change of pace for a fantasy novel. Continuity: The length of a character's hair is referred to several times as extremely long - all the way to his ankles - and towards the end of the story, his hair is described as touching the ground. Overall Rating: 4+ I am extremely pleased with Cameo the Assassin and am looking forward to reading the second book Cameo and the Highwayman. Without giving away too much of the plot, I can say that a book with a central character like Cameo is like nothing else I've had the pleasure of reading and I can only hope that Ms. McCullough-White continues this series for many, many volumes! The story has some violent scenes; though, none are too graphic and there is very little adult language. Although, the dark storyline isn't for everyone, I can say that many people would enjoy this and I would recommend

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 12, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great book!

    Cameo the Assassin took me by surprise in an extremely good way. I was expecting a run-of-the-mill vamp novel and it didn't deliver that! What I got was a steampunk-esque (though I'm not sure I'd qualify it completely as Steampunk) story about a ghoul, I mean girl, who's a hired killer-with-a-soul for the Association (dun-dun-duuuuun!). I've never read a Zombie book before, and while this novel is careful to not bandy about that term (certainly, Cameo, our daring lead character doesn't like it), it certainly fits.
    Dawn McCullough-White writes Cameo incredibly well. When you are introduced to her, she is aloof and emotionless, taking swigs from her flask while she watches the rather questionable activities that surround her each day. She is paid to do her job and not question, something she does well. She is the very embodiment of someone without a soul. Or so you think. She's not without morals, however I felt like she largely kept them hidden, because frankly, Cameo is a survivor. What you find beneath Cameo's surface...well, I won't spoil it for you. But it's spectacular. And not the least bit ordinary.
    As you read, you're drawn into the story, bit by bit, like a lazy fishing line slowly being reeled in. She paints a dark, yet lovely picture of a Victorian-era period with fine clothing, large egos and intrigue that invites you want to keep reading. Her supporting characters, Opal, Kyrian and Bellamy, are often delightful and amusing with their verbal repartee; I found myself giggling at Opal's and Bellamy's witty and comical conversations. And while they are both deep, complicated characters, they certainly are the light to her dark.
    It was a little difficult to keep up with the character jumps, but I attribute that more to the way it was formatted on my Nook than anything else, so it's easily overlooked. I definitely recommend this for anyone who enjoys Steampunk, Dark Fantasy or Paranormal Fiction. It was a great read!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 23, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A great new find in the urban fantasy genre . . .

    I generally stick to high fantasy when reading, but lately I've branched out into the urban fantasy genre. Cameo the Assassin happens to be one of those new discoveries I have made. I must confess, I am not a vampire fan in the least, and when I saw that this book was tagged as a vampire book, I was a bit unsure of what to expect. But the plot sounded interesting and I've been trying to read more indie books of late, so I went ahead and purchased the ebook version. I'm happy to say that the whole undead theme seemed, at least to me, a background detail; the story is more about the characters and their battles within and without as opposed to a focus on what supernatural powers the undead possess. Although I thoroughly enjoyed the nonstop action and the unique setting of this story, I absolutely loved the two main protagonists the best. Cameo and Black Opal are so hopelessly flawed that one would never consider them to be ideal heroes at all. They both have a past that is dark and dismal, and as the reader gets to know them, this past is revealed little by little. I consider this to be a wonderful attribute to the story, for there is nothing worse than reading about a hero or heroine who is absolutely perfect. Bravo Dawn McCullough-White on a well crafted tale!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 6, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    The characters drew me into CAMEO THE ASSASSIN, and though I hat

    The characters drew me into CAMEO THE ASSASSIN, and though I hated the ending, the novel was an entertaining read, and a nice break from physical perfection and honorable heroes.

    Characters: **** 4 Stars
    It was nice for once to have characters who aren’t physically perfect, or even very desirable. The author did a great job making me feel connected to these imperfect people and able to relate to their foibles.

    Cameo is a coldly compassionate assassin, with dead gray eyes to match. She has a fairy tale monster reputation for living in graveyards and killing children who don’t go to bed, but she doesn’t kill indiscriminately...well, unless she’s paid to do so. When she’s assigned to kill Black Opal, she finds she can’t go through with it, and ends up alienating herself from the Association she works for to keep him alive. She’s an interesting mix of self-loathing, empathy, loneliness, warrior, and friend.

    Black Opal, is a dandy with a passion for fine coats and makeup. He is described both as pock-marked and handsome, and he has only one eye. While he is a womanizer, he has a soft spot for Cameo and becomes incredibly jealous any time she takes any interest, platonic or not, in another man.

    Secondary characters include Bel (Opal’s partner in crime), Kyrian (a young acolyte who’s more than what he appears), and Wick (the leader of the Association and a witch capable of convincing everyone but Cameo that she’s a beautiful young temptress rather than an ugly old woman who smokes too much). Overall, a very well-rounded cast.

    Plot: ** 2 Stars
    The plot wasn’t terrible, but the ending killed it, no pun intended. There was a reasonably strong story arc with a good balance of action sequences and character development. However, it sometimes felt like the author was trying to build suspense by not telling the reader something that the character knows. Even given that, I probably wouldn’t have given the plot two stars, except that the book ends seconds after the climax, literally ending with an ellipsis and the word “End”. There are several plot points left open and no emotional release. I know the story continues in a trilogy, but each book should still be a complete novel.

    Setting: ** 2 Stars
    The story is set primarily on the road out of Lockenwood, in a quasi-eighteenth century world, but the characters just go back and forth, back and forth, back and forth...you get the idea. The description is limited, even when they visit taverns or inns along the way. I really wanted more sensory detail throughout the novel.

    Romance: ** 2 Stars
    Neither Cameo nor Black Opal is the ideal of beauty, and yet they are attracted to each other from the beginning. However, Opal is more concerned about his makeup than he is about wooing Cameo (not that she would be easily wooed, but that’s beside the point). Meanwhile, Cameo is stuck in self-pity and can’t see that Opal likes her, despite his obvious jealousy. Though they help each other through some horrific and violent events, they don’t actually come together in a romantic way until the last couple of pages.

    Genre - Dark Adventure Fantasy: **** 4 Stars
    CAMEO THE ASSASSIN is a pretty good representation of a Dark Fantasy novel, despite its flaws. There’s blood and violence, undead creatures, and two different graveyards. While I abhorred the ending of this first book, I imagine that the entire trilogy is probably a pretty decent story, and I may even give the second book, CAMEO AND THE HIGHWAYMAN, a chance.

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  • Posted March 28, 2011

    Horrible.

    Please save your money and your time. Reading this was sheer torture. I skimmed the last 60 pages and I am seriously disappointed and disgusted. Plot, dialogue and the attempt to keep the story flowing...all terrible. Ugh. I would actually give it half a star in the rating.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 6, 2010

    Everyone should read Cameo's story

    I recently finished reading Cameo and the Assassin by Dawn McCullough-White and I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed it from beginning to end. The characters are well defined and relatable which is an important part of any story. I was pulled into Cameo's world, wanting to learn more about her and what makes her tick. Having found herself working as one of the best assassins for The Association, Cameo lives day to day killing for a living. Just when she thinks her life is repeating the same pattern, Cameo's path crosses with that of two highwaymen, and though she may not know it at that time, her life will be forever changed. Moving at just the right pace, we learn more about Cameo and her past, and why she is forced to do the things she does. Although the book jumps from character to character which can at times be confusing, it is easily forgivable because it is overall well written and intriguing. I can not wait to read more about Cameo in the sequel, Cameo and the Highwayman! Keep up the great work Dawn McCullough-White!!

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    A Restoration Gothic Thriller - much wine is consumed - a three star book - but four stars aren't far away

    I can forgive many things in return for a good story. And Dawn McCullough-White delivers a good story. I can forgive even more in return for good characters. In Cameo the Assassin, the characters are intriguing and compelling from the start.

    I was quite happy to forgive the odd malapropism; there are very few outright linguistic errors, which suggests either considerable rigor on the part of the author or thorough and skilful copy editing. From time to time there is a little too much repetition avoidance, and this is most obtrusive when the author refers to her key symbol - eyes, vision and sight. Rather too often, McCullough-White goes out of her way to avoid using the word "eyes", which spoils her otherwise satisfying style in places.

    The most interesting feature of Dawn McCullough's writing from the point of view of a critic, is that her characters don't always agree with her descriptions of them. Let me try to explain. She knows her characters well, she has a strong sense of who and what they are, and how they would react in given circumstances. You can tell because the secondary characters are established quickly, simply and clearly, through their reactions to the primary characters. Indeed, the first character for whom I began to feel real empathy was a secondary character, Bellamy, who is established entirely through his relationship to primary character, Opal.

    Opal is the case in point. The author keeps trying to convince the reader that he is charismatic and charming in spite of his other characteristics, when it is obvious that it is his failings that make him attractive. It is his desperate, exaggerated vanity that compensates for his selfishness and occasional brutality. His vanity is both disgusting and endearing at the same time.

    So how can it come about, that the character seems to disagree with the author? I think the author knows him too well, and wants us to forgive his failings, but tries too hard. One of the consequences of this is that the rare "romantic moments" don't ring true at all, because they don't involve the real Opal, but the author's misty-eyed, rose tinted version of him.

    Cameo herself is a solid invention, weakened at times by some confusing description, especially of her supernatural metabolism.

    I suspect this may arise from a lack of confidence in her ability to let the characters describe themselves. She need not lack confidence; she has the ability and it shows.

    Here's why you should read it:

    If you like mainstream gothic fantasy that prefers a thrill-ride to psychology and romance. If you like cartloads of moral ambiguity. If you like your supernatural unobtrusive.

    The characters are believable; intriguing where they are not likeable, sympathetic where they are not intriguing. It is easy to get drawn into the story both by the twists and turns of the plot and by curiosity as to the nature and backgrounds of the characters. McCullough is developing a strong style; unsettling, jarring, gory, she paints a strong picture of the unnatural (a much more difficult skill to master than the mere supernatural). Characters are ambivalent - at once repulsive and sympathetic. It is a good story, and I want to read more.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2009

    Great

    I'm usually not one to review novels that I read, but luckily enough for you.. I decided to make an exception.

    To me, it is the character Cameo that makes this story so great. Wow, I don't know how much I can say. She's one of the most developed characters I have ever found. Another notable quality is this story has is an original plot. Original plots are very hard to come by now a days. There are just too many "writers" and too little "creative writers". This author is extremely creative and her story is a masterpiece.

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