Author: Sarah Ahiers
Series: Assassin's Heart, #1
Released: February 2nd 2016
Length: 420 pages
Source: Publisher for review
In the kingdom of Lovero, nine rival Families of assassins lawfully kill people for a price. As a highly skilled member of one of these powerful clans, seventeen-year-old Lea Saldana has always trusted in the strength of her Family. Until she awakens to find them murdered and her home in flames. The Da Vias, the Saldanas’ biggest enemy, must be responsible—and Lea should have seen it coming. But her secret relationship with the Da Vias’ son, Val, has clouded her otherwise killer instinct—and given the Da Vias more reason than ever to take her Family down.Racked with guilt and shattered over Val’s probable betrayal, Lea sets out to even the score, with her heart set on retaliation and only one thought clear in her mind: make the Da Vias pay.
Lea is an assassin for the Saldanas, one of nine prestigious assassin Families in the kingdom of Lovero. With the law of the kingdom and the goddess of death behind her, she kills quickly and efficiently to earn money for her Family and to keep them in their goddess’ good graces. Her Family is the strongest of the nine, with only one serious rival – the Da Vias. Being in love with Valentino Da Via, Lea hopes for the impossible, a resolution of their conflict and a marriage. But her world comes crashing down in fire and betrayal, and pretty soon she’s all alone, with neither money nor status to keep her alive.
Although the Assassin’s Heart is exciting from start to finish, it’s certainly not without its flaws. On the contrary, it has many. Some of the things about Ahiers’ world made little sense and the social structure required a major suspension of disbelief. It made no sense that people could pay an assassin legally to kill someone over petty grievances. With so many assassins working in such a small country, there would be no people left in a matter of months. I’ve also noticed how often in YA characters that are described as competent and practically invincible in the beginning turn out to be less than capable as the story progresses. At the beginning, Lea was presented as one of the best clippers (assassins) not just in her family, but in all the rest as well. The more challenges she faced, the more it became clear that she’s really just a girl, and she herself used the word sloppy to describer her actions on several occasions. I can understand characters losing when facing overwhelming odds, but to have them lose repeatedly because of sheer stupidity really grates on my nerves.
Nevertheless, I found myself enjoying Lea’s story even when she racing toward another stupid mistake. I liked her determination and those occasional bursts of wisdom that made me want to get to know her better. I also truly enjoyed all her companions along the way, including her grumpy, long lost uncle.
According to Goodreads, we should be getting a sequel eventually (although I’ve found no mention of it elsewhere). Be that as it may, this book functions perfectly as a standalone with its beautiful story arc and a more than satisfying ending. While I’m hoping for a sequel, and a very good one at that, I feel great about where we’ve left these characters.
A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.