5 Things About Assassin’s Heart by Sarah Ahiers

February 18, 2016 Review 28 ★★★

5 Things About Assassin’s Heart by Sarah Ahiers
Assassin's Heart by Sarah Ahiers
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Edelweiss
Pages: 400
Release Date: February 2nd 2016
Series: Assassin's Heart #1
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, Young Adult
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.

With shades of The Godfather and Romeo and Juliet, this richly imagined fantasy from debut author Sarah Ahiers is a story of love, lies, and the ultimate vengeance.

I received this book for free from the source listed above in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


“What would I do? The only thing I could do.
Kill everyone responsible.”


It delivers what it promises.

We finally have a blurb that matches the book. ASSASSIN’S HEART is pitched as The Godfather meets Romeo and Juliet and I would say that is pretty accurate. Granted, this book doesn’t have the badassery of The Godfather and nostalgic feel of first love like in Romeo and Juliet, but the bones are the same, making ASSASSIN’S HEART an interesting read.

The concept was great.

If you were to peel off the surface, I feel like there is a great story here. My favorite aspect of the novel was probably the world. Lovero is a kingdom where murder is legal so long as you are from one of the nine Families. Your Family is more important than your family, your blood. This motto was the basis of the story and we get to see the main character, Lea, struggle with choosing which side was on.

Based on the first few pages, I thought this was going to be a very romance-focused book. Thankfully, it wasn’t. While the romance plays a key part, it wasn’t the most important aspect of ASSASSIN’S HEART, and for that I was grateful.

“You are a flame and he is a moth, drawn to you,
unaware if he gets too close you will burn him up.”


Fantasy? Maybe. High fantasy? Definitely not.

Another fantasy novel lacking fantasy elements. My threshold for calling a book fantasy might be high, but I’m pretty sure just adding in ghosts doesn’t make a fantasy book. Paranormal elements? Why, I think that would be the paranormal genre. Also, in my opinion, ASSASSIN’S HEART lacked the development to be called a high fantasy even if it did have fantasy. Other than there being different kingdoms, I don’t see it. There were also some religious aspects, but it was more along the lines of GRAVE MERCY, where nothing was too preachy.

The writing reads like your least favorite college professor.

Sentences read like this. Short with no variety. It felt bland. It was also more telling than showing. I had trouble immersing myself in the story. Also, the climax, which had been building for a good 360 pages, kind of fizzled out as everything resolved itself way too quickly (and easily.)

“No one would bother me when I was about my work.
No one would dare. Not if they valued their lives.”


Not very good assassins.

These assassins were kind of lame. Lea is supposed to be from one of the more prestigious Families but she was kind of… sloppy. She didn’t think things through and made a ton of mistakes she should have learned from. We were constantly told how badass assassins were but I just didn’t see it. I saw a ragtag group of people who, if they were lucky, could stab other people.


Despite some of the issues I had with it, I did like ASSASSIN’S HEART and would consider it worth a try. It kept my interest and never felt too long.

Quotes are from an ARC and should be checked against a finished copy.

Rating Report
Overall: 2.9

28 Responses to “5 Things About Assassin’s Heart by Sarah Ahiers”

  1. Lucia @Reading Is My Breathing

    “I saw a ragtag group of people who, if they were lucky, could stab other people.”
    ^^^^ LOL this is too funny :)
    But seriously, I am kind of sad that this book doesnt have the badassery of The Godfather. That would be probably the thing to persuade me to read it because most of reviews on this book that I read were either negative or meh so I am not very eager to read it myself…

    • Alise

      Hahaha thanks, I was laughing about that when I was writing it xD But seriously, they were really unskilled. I know what you mean.

  2. Lonna | FLYLēF

    Hi Alise! This is the second review I’ve come across for Assassin’s Heart. My hopes for this book are dwindling slowly. I really appreciate the fact that you mentioned, “We were constantly told how badass assassins were but…” because I really don’t enjoy books when I’m told one thing and feel another. That disconnect ruins the whole experience. I think I will pass on this one. Great review!
    Lonna | FLYLēF recently posted…The Marriage Contract (The O’Malley’s 1)

    • Alise

      Hi! I’m the same way, if a book tells you one thing then you expect that and become disappointed if it is lacking. So true. Thank you!

  3. Denise

    I’ve read a few negative reviews now, so I’m not too sure about this book. The concept does sound amazing, but the writing looks almost unbearable! I don’t like the sound of the characters, and I’ve heard some other people saying the terminology isn’t very nice. I don’t think I’ll be picking this up any time soon!

    I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy this! I hope you like your next book more :)
    Denise | The Bibliolater
    Denise recently posted…Books That Have Changed Me

  4. Jee Ann @ The Book Tales

    Great concept, but I wonder if I’ll like it. I’m not much into star-crossed lovers anyway, but you did write that the romance isn’t the main attraction. What I love about fantasy, though, are epic battles and countries on the brink of war!!!! But maybe I’ll try this if I see it :) Thanks, Alise! Love the new header image!
    Jee Ann @ The Book Tales recently posted…Discussion: Do You Like Cliffhangers?

    • Alise

      Yeah, it definitely didn’t totally go down the route of Romeo and Juliet so it wasn’t the star crossed lovers plot for too long. There weren’t a lot of epic battles in this though :/ Thank you!

  5. Aentee

    Thanks for the honest and balanced review. I actually couldn’t get into this book at all, I finished it but it felt very forgettable. I completely agree about the writing – the proses were awful, I’ve read LOADS of better fanfiction. Lea was an awful assassin: being caught off guard, losing her weapons, being poisoned or tricked at every turn. I was so annoyed at her the entire time.
    Aentee recently posted…Read at Midnight Designs: Morning Star

    • Alise

      No problem! Yeah, I probably won’t be checking out the sequel but this one didn’t entertain me for a few hours. Oh my gosh, I know right? Seriously.

  6. Emma

    Wow, have I been away that long…loving the new design ladies. Anyways, I have seen some very mixed reviews for this book which leads me to think that it might not be up my alley. Me and Fantasy have a picky relationship for sure. LOL. Great honest review! :)

    • Alise

      Nope, we just changed it! :) If you have trouble with fantasy books because you aren’t too big on fantasy, this was kind of lacking in that department. Thank you! ;D

  7. Lola

    That’s great it lived up the blurb and delivers on what it promises. Those sentences that mention other books in a book’s blurb always make me a bit wary because the comparison doens’t always give the book justice or is spot on. I don’t like the sound of the writing style, it does sound a bit bland indeed and I am not a fan of telling instead of showing, especially when there’s too much telling. I am not really sure what I would classify as high fantasy, I’ve read a few books that I think are high fantasy, but not really sure why, probably because of the epicness and focus on magic. Great review!
    Lola recently posted…Lola’s Kitchen: Tofu and Veggies in Peanut Sauce Recipe

    • Alise

      Yeah, the comparisons sometimes do more harm than good. When I think high fantasy I think Game of Thrones and this wasn’t anywhere near that. It was really light on the fantasy elements in general actually. Thank you!

    • Alise

      It really did sound promising, I was looking forward to it. It’s not a terrible read, but it definitely has some aspects that could have been better. If you do read it, let me know!

  8. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    For some reason, I kind of resisted getting really excited about this one, despite it being marketed as high-fantasy or whatever…I guess I was waiting for reviews to start coming in before I got too hyped up. Anyway, so far the reviews have been really mixed. I feel like the issues you discussed so eloquently here would likely bother me too – but at the same time, the fact that you’d still recommend giving it a try gives me pause. I’m not in a big rush but I might just give this one a chance! Thanks for the thoughtful review Alise!!
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Review: The Son of Neptune

    • Alise

      I didn’t xD I got pretty excited about it haha. I should definitely take a page out of your book and do that with all of the new fantasy books coming out this year because this isn’t the only one that has disappointed me. Of course, thanks for stopping by :D

    • Alise

      Yeah, there were definitely some holes. I guess if everyone was a killer then it would just be chaos so only the few do it? I don’t know haha

  9. Julie @ Retro Writer

    Kinda sucky. I was interested in it for the “The Godfather meets Romeo and Juliet” concept. But the summary definitely sounds more like Romeo and Juliet with a little Godfather thrown in. However, I’ll have to check it out to see for myself. Sad the assassin part was lame. That’s the whole point! Agreed, High fantasy is Game of Thrones, Shannara, the Lord of the Rings, etc. Stories that have wizards, magic, elves, dragons, quests, etc.
    Julie @ Retro Writer recently posted…Waiting On Wednesday: Little Black Dresses, Little White Lies

    • Alise

      While there are Godfather aspects, this book is very lacking in the badassery and action the Godfather had. Yeah, I agree, that’s how I would definite it as well and this just didn’t have any of that.

  10. Olivia

    I have this one so it is just a matter of time before I am going to be reading it myself. It seems like this one had some good aspects to it like the world being interested and the book being what the premise says it is going to be! It’s a shame about the writing style being so blunt and uncreative though :/
    Olivia recently posted…A Study in Charlotte (Review)

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