Title: Assassin’s Heart
Author: Sarah Ahiers
Published: February 2nd 2016
Length: 420 pages
Source: Received for review from Netgalley
First of all, the cover for this book is just STUNNING, I mean just look at it! I haven’t read a lot of books that have their main female protagonist as an assassin. I read the synopsis for this one and thought I’d give it a try…
Synopsis: (taken 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.’
There were a few things that I liked about this book, but a few things that were a bit… This story had a few strong characters, I would say the main character Oleander (Lea) was one of them. She managed to come across as a ruthless assassin yet somehow the reader found her relatable. I LOVED Alessio (Les) , I really thought that him and Lea had chemistry and there interactions were really enjoyable to read. BUT I felt like the pace of the story was weirdly inconsistent. I mean I know the pace is supposed to change as the story occurs, but it was just offff. I didn’t feel the story was unfolding naturally, I don’t know if what I’m saying is making sense but for anyone who’s read it I think you’ll understand what I mean.
World Building: This was a high fantasy and I think if the world building wasn’t as great as it is I wouldn’t have been able to finish it. This story came across as a being fairly religious which was a bit unexpected, each region of this world tend to follow a God, where Lea is from they follow Safraella. The highest order of worship to this goddess is being an assassin or a ‘clipper’ as its referred to in the book! The one consistency I found in this story was the depth of the world building, whether it’s the beginning where we’re still getting to know the Saldana family or the end where I’m not going to spoil anything… My point is that the world building was probably the strength of Assassin’s Heart.
Characters: So this story had some strong characters,it also had great character development. Although it’s a repeated sort of idea, an individual has something horrific happen to them and they’re blinded by vengeance, only to realise that may not be the answer… Because Lea was relatable, as a reader I could understand why her perspective would change! Les was my favourite character BY FAR, I didn’t know a fictional character could be so charming, I literally felt like I was the one being wooed! I feel like less of a weirdo actually typing this on a book blog, imagine telling someone you felt like a fictional character was courting you, hermahgerd…
Plot: The development of Lea changed the direction of the story, so I was really interested to see what she would end up doing. I feel like I say this a lot of but again the last 30 pages felt a little rushed, that particular point in the story could’ve been stretched out a bit. Let me try and make sense of this, at around 60%, the story felt like it kind of stalled a bit, I feel like that kind of lasted until about 90%. Then BAM, everything happened at once and I was like wait, what, hold up!
APPARENTLY there’s a sequel for this, I felt like the ending didn’t leave much room for a sequel. I would really recommend this to anyone but especially if you like high fantasy, and having the basis of the story be so bizarre!