May 4th

Review of Assassin’s Heart

Posted in Reviews


Assassin Heart

Title: Assassin’s Heart
Author: Sarah Ahiers
Publisher: Harper Teen
Date Published: February 2, 2016

Where I got the book: Public Library

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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.

I picked Assassin’s Heart up from the library because of the awesome title and the Romeo and Juliet vibe I felt from the blurb. It is definitely a far cry from Shakespeare’s original; more like a mix between that and The Godfather set in a fantasy world where murder is acceptable when done in the name of their goddess Safraella. The assassins–or clippers as their known in the book–are members of one of the nine ruling families of the kingdom. While there is a king in power, he exerts very little influence over the nine assassin families because of their religious favor and the nature of their work. The people believe that when they are murdered by a clipper, the coin with Safraella’s image on it that is placed on their body guarantees them a better life when they are reborn. This coupled with the fact that when the King embraced Safraella as the patron goddess of the realm, the wandering ghosts were exiled from the province, compelling him to give the Families a lot of leeway. The most fascinating thing about this world is the existence of real deities. Not just a name or a face that people worship but real Gods and Goddesses that have power over the realm of mortals. It’s not often you see a completely original pantheist religion where the Gods have this amount of power, enough that it can be used by their priests. I would definitely love to find out more about the history and mythology of this world, I think that’s one of the few things lacking from the novel. The concept however, was fun and exciting and made for a quick, enjoyable read.

The characters were also very interesting. Lea is not a true Juliet; how can she be when she’s an assassin?! She is far stronger than Shakespeare’s version. As an assassin, Lea is also brave and arrogant. She believes anyone who is not a clipper is not worth her time. While her ideas and thoughts could be a little annoying in this respect, it’s understandable. In her world people revere and respect her and that’s bound to make her less humble. She’s also very human. Countless times in this book she made grave mistakes that cost her or someone else dearly. She’s not the perfect assassin and that makes her more relatable. It also means she carries around a lot of guilt, whether deserved or not. Her need for revenge is all consuming at times, also understandable and yet annoying at times. Can we really blame her? I’d be pretty pissed if someone killed my entire family, especially if my “boyfriend” was at fault. All in all Lea is a pretty solid protagonist and I enjoyed her point of view.

Val is another story altogether. I ABHOR VAL!! Right from the beginning I disliked every darn thing about him. This version of Romeo is no Prince Charming! He’s arrogant, with little reason to be. He’s also a pretty boy who seems to know it and use it. I can’t stand pretty boys; give me a burly, surly, bearded love interest! Throughout the book we find out he’s also spineless, he never goes against his family, and untrustworthy. I really don’t know what Lea sees in him. In truth, though, Val is written well. He has a part to play in this story. His personality and actions make me dislike him, and I think that’s what the author was trying to accomplish?

Les is my boy. I love him! He’s described as less than attractive and he’s a fledgling assassin that isn’t very good at his job yet. This immediately endears him to me. He asks Lea to train him and we see that he brings his own set of skills but is also willing to work hard to learn what Lea can teach him. He trusts Lea so easily, he is kind and loyal at heart and that makes him the perfect love interest for the somewhat battle hardened Lea. Les also doesn’t let Lea get away with hurting people. He questions her when he doubts her plan or motives, he holds her accountable for her actions. At the same time, he forgives her and supports her when she needs it. He’s a really refreshing character.

Assassin’s Heart was such a good read! I love when I find something new, and even though there are a lot of literary assassins out there now, this is something completely different. I really wish there’d been more world-building. The little bits of history and mythology included in the book were really interesting and hopefully will be more thoroughly described in the sequel.


Assassin Heart

Title: Assassin’s Heart
Author: Sarah Ahiers
Publisher: Harper Teen
Date Published: February 2, 2016

Where I got the book: Public Library

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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.

I picked Assassin’s Heart up from the library because of the awesome title and the Romeo and Juliet vibe I felt from the blurb. It is definitely a far cry from Shakespeare’s original; more like a mix between that and The Godfather set in a fantasy world where murder is acceptable when done in the name of their goddess Safraella. The assassins–or clippers as their known in the book–are members of one of the nine ruling families of the kingdom. While there is a king in power, he exerts very little influence over the nine assassin families because of their religious favor and the nature of their work. The people believe that when they are murdered by a clipper, the coin with Safraella’s image on it that is placed on their body guarantees them a better life when they are reborn. This coupled with the fact that when the King embraced Safraella as the patron goddess of the realm, the wandering ghosts were exiled from the province, compelling him to give the Families a lot of leeway. The most fascinating thing about this world is the existence of real deities. Not just a name or a face that people worship but real Gods and Goddesses that have power over the realm of mortals. It’s not often you see a completely original pantheist religion where the Gods have this amount of power, enough that it can be used by their priests. I would definitely love to find out more about the history and mythology of this world, I think that’s one of the few things lacking from the novel. The concept however, was fun and exciting and made for a quick, enjoyable read.

The characters were also very interesting. Lea is not a true Juliet; how can she be when she’s an assassin?! She is far stronger than Shakespeare’s version. As an assassin, Lea is also brave and arrogant. She believes anyone who is not a clipper is not worth her time. While her ideas and thoughts could be a little annoying in this respect, it’s understandable. In her world people revere and respect her and that’s bound to make her less humble. She’s also very human. Countless times in this book she made grave mistakes that cost her or someone else dearly. She’s not the perfect assassin and that makes her more relatable. It also means she carries around a lot of guilt, whether deserved or not. Her need for revenge is all consuming at times, also understandable and yet annoying at times. Can we really blame her? I’d be pretty pissed if someone killed my entire family, especially if my “boyfriend” was at fault. All in all Lea is a pretty solid protagonist and I enjoyed her point of view.

Val is another story altogether. I ABHOR VAL!! Right from the beginning I disliked every darn thing about him. This version of Romeo is no Prince Charming! He’s arrogant, with little reason to be. He’s also a pretty boy who seems to know it and use it. I can’t stand pretty boys; give me a burly, surly, bearded love interest! Throughout the book we find out he’s also spineless, he never goes against his family, and untrustworthy. I really don’t know what Lea sees in him. In truth, though, Val is written well. He has a part to play in this story. His personality and actions make me dislike him, and I think that’s what the author was trying to accomplish?

Les is my boy. I love him! He’s described as less than attractive and he’s a fledgling assassin that isn’t very good at his job yet. This immediately endears him to me. He asks Lea to train him and we see that he brings his own set of skills but is also willing to work hard to learn what Lea can teach him. He trusts Lea so easily, he is kind and loyal at heart and that makes him the perfect love interest for the somewhat battle hardened Lea. Les also doesn’t let Lea get away with hurting people. He questions her when he doubts her plan or motives, he holds her accountable for her actions. At the same time, he forgives her and supports her when she needs it. He’s a really refreshing character.

Assassin’s Heart was such a good read! I love when I find something new, and even though there are a lot of literary assassins out there now, this is something completely different. I really wish there’d been more world-building. The little bits of history and mythology included in the book were really interesting and hopefully will be more thoroughly described in the sequel.

By Kate Woods

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Review of Assassin’s Heart

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