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.
“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.