Published by Harlequin Enterprises (Australia) Pty, Limited on February 2nd 2016
Genres: Adventure, Family, Fantasy & Magic, Fiction, General, Romance, Social Themes, Suspense, Violence, Young Adult, Young Adult Fiction
With shades of Game of Thrones and Romeo and Juliet, this richly imagined fantasy from debut author Sarah Ahiers is a tale of love, lies, and vengeance. Fans of Kristin Cashore and Rae Carson will devour the flawlessly crafted action and inventive world building.Seventeen-year-old Lea Saldana is a trained assassin. She was born into one of the nine clipper Families in the kingdom of Lovero who lawfully take lives for a price. As a member of the highest-ranking clan, loyalty to Family is valued above all, but that doesn't stop Lea from getting into a secret relationship with Val Da Via, a boy from a rival clan. Despite her better judgment, Lea has fallen in love with him; but she's confident she can anticipate any threat a mile away.Then she awakens one night to a house full of smoke. Although she narrowly escapes, she isn't able to save her Family as their home is consumed by flames. With horror, she realizes that Val and his Family are the only ones who could be responsible. Devastated over his betrayal and the loss of her clan, there's just one thing on her mind: making the Da Vias pay. The heart of this assassin craves revenge.
Assassin’s Heart is one book with a truly interesting concept. Families of assassins who see their work as the ultimate way to worship their goddess of death and resurrection. Oleander Saldana, the daughter of the most prominent Family in Lovero, goes on a mission of revenge when her entire family is taken out in single blow. With no one left to assist her, Lea travels across the country to find her banished uncle hoping he will give her to the key to avenge her family and her goddess.
I wanted to like this book. It started off strong but after the first few chapters I found myself losing interest. The characters are rather two-dimensional. Lea is a spoilt princess type who is apparently the best at assassinating. She’s distrusting and always right. Her quest to find a way to kill the Di Via Family was incredibly ill-thought out and she is too impulsive to be believable as a good assassin.
I’m not new to reading books about assassins. But I had problems with this particular one because I couldn’t quite grasp the society Lea lived in. People could pay the Families to murder people for whatever reason and that was cool because their goddess, Safraella, would resurrect the deceased with a rebirth. It just didn’t make sense to me why everyone was so okay with this. I did like how over the course of the novel, characters would call Lea on her plan and her beliefs but overall it just didn’t make sense to me. The pacing is a bit weird in this book. I didn’t feel like I had enough time to get to know characters before being forced to mourn them or be invested enough to feel betrayed by them. It was just an odd experience.
I did like the ghosts in this book. I thought they were interesting and enjoyed most of the scene with involved them but I do think that they were underutilised in this book but that may have been because I wanted to see more of them. Plot wise they probably appeared as much as they needed to.
This is one of those books which throws in a romance story line that doesn’t feel entirely necessary. I thought certain parts of the book felt a little jarring and took me out of the overall revenge plot. It may have been a way to try and soften Lea to readers and show there was more to life than violently avenging ones family but it felt superfluous.
Assassin’s Heart is a book which made me question a lot over the course of the novel. Some bits were plot related and sometimes I just didn’t understand the morals. I understand that everyone has a different moral code but there were things in this book which confused me and I don’t get why they were allowed to happen.
This book is one which I think had great promise. But everything is a little underdeveloped. I didn’t understand their religion well enough to get behind the Families assassinating the townspeople. The world building is rather flat and for the most part the characters are not explored well enough for me to have overly strong feelings on way or another about them.
I won’t be reading the next book in this series but I would be interesting in reading more from the author. She’s got a great imagination but I felt this book lacked it in execution.