Assassin’s Heart by Sarah Ahiers
Release date: February 2nd, 2016
Genre: Young adult, fantasy, romance
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.
Assassin’s Heart was a book that I was so excited to read. I love the whole assassin aesthetic/concept, which could be due to my love of Skyrim and the Assassin’s Guild, but I digress. The concept really intrigued me and while I enjoyed reading the book it ended up being just alright. Not amazing as I thought it would be, but fun and easy to read.
The book is about Lea, a clipper (or assassin), who belongs to an ancient world of assassin families who murder in the name of religion. Things are very competitive and dangerous, especially for Lea who belong to the Saldana family. Her family is the most prominent group of assassin’s until they are murdered at the start of the book. As the only survivor of the slaughter, Lea takes it upon herself to avenge her loved ones. This puts her on a direct path with her family’s long-time enemies the Da Vias.
While the story featured a lot of overused YA tropes such as the angst kick-ass female MC and themes of heartbreak and betrayal, the story was quite interesting. The world created by the author had a lot of potential, especially its pantheon of gods and goddesses. People from Lea’s city of Lovero worship a goddess called Safraella, who promises her followers rebirth and a peaceful death. Basically, the clippers are empowered by her to take lives in for those people to become new again. Throughout the story Lea travels around a lot in search of help and answers and each place really stood out as new and unique. The story seems to be inspired by Italy or at least that’s what it reminded me of. I just wish that more of the world was slowly revealed and not told to the reader. There was an awful amount of info dumping at the start of the book which made it kind of slow. However, after the first few chapters things really picked up and I just wanted to keep on reading and reading.
The plot was also not very original and often times very convenient, but sometimes that’s ok. I kind of figured out from the first chapter that it wasn’t going to add anything new to the genre. So, I just decided to read on and take it for what it was. And I ended up having a lot of fun with it. Some of dialogue is a bit silly but for the most part I forgot about it because something exciting had happened. I guess you just need to go into the book knowing this is what it is and let the fantasy world allow you to escape your current reality. And that’s why I really loved fantasy books…they transport you to somewhere faraway for a tiny bit and help you avoid whatever is stressing you in your life. That’s what Assassin’s Heart did for me and I’m so happy I picked it up when I did for that reason.
At first I didn’t like Lea…she was too much of a know-it-all, arrogant and stuck up. But she’s one of those characters that grow on you. I just wish that the author would have written her as the kick-ass assassin that she was supposed to be. She made too many errors that seemed a bit off for someone who had been training since a small child. Like, people are not perfect, but if that’s all that she was meant to do since birth, I would expect a lot more from her. Les was a lot of fun! He’s a wannabe clipper and so adorable and awkward. Ahhh….I just loved him.
So, while not a perfect book, Assassin’s Heart was a lot of fun to read. A perfect escape from the real world. I flew through the pages and will totally read the next book in the series, Thief’s Cunning.