Title: Assassin’s Heart
Author: Sarah Ahiers
Publisher: Harper Teen
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Released: February 2nd 2016
Trigger Warnings: Violence, death
Representation: Person/s of colour
Synopsis*: 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 is another assassin book like a lot of others but at least there is actually assassinating, unlike some series…
“Dying is the easy part.” Marcello got to his feet. “But what you leave behind is another matter.”
For some context, I’ll say that I only picked up this book because I requested and was approved for the second book in this series, Thief’s Cunning.
I was not aware it was a sequel, probably should have looked into it a bit more but oh, well, bit late for that now.
To be honest I was more intrigued by the second book than Assassin’s Heart so I didn’t have very high expectations. I think that really helped here because honestly, this book is not incredible, but it is surprisingly easy to get through once you get into it.
“You don’t get to roll over people. Just because you have permission to end lives doesn’t give you the right to destroy them first.”
Lea, our main character, is strong and sly. She doesn’t take much shit and works hard.
But she can also be too trusting and likely to run into any scenario, guns blazing, and loses her cool quite easily. She can be quite selfish, rarely thinking of others and she’s incredibly prideful.
Despite her weaknesses I still found myself wishing the best for her.
She blames herself for the fire and attack that killed her family. And boy, does this get a bit much by the time you reach the end of the book. It’s like being suffocated by someone else’s guilt and it gets old pretty quickly.
Lea does grow and go through a decent character arc by the end of the book which I was worried we wouldn’t get at all from her. But not many of the other characters go through much growth, if at all.
“I fear you will destroy him.”
“He is too kind to you. He thinks if he is kind, then people will like him. And if they like him, they won’t leave. But that is not the way of things. You are a flame and he is a moth, drawn to you, unaware if he gets too close you will burn him up.”
Val started off as a fuckboy and was still a fuckboy by the end.
Les continued to give too much of himself to others, desperate for the people he cared about to not leave him behind. Like Lea, Les is too trusting and it will easily be his downfall. Also having two main characters, one Lea and one Les, got a bit confusing. Probably should have had a name change there.
Marcello is a grumpy old man, and like Val, the book ends with him still as a grumpy old man.
Maybe they’ll all get decent character arcs in the next book but I won’t hold my breath.
Maybe love was less about feeling wanted and beautiful and more about feeling safe.
There was an almost love triangle, and I’m super glad it never quite got there. It was less triangle and more human beings and relationships between them are complicated.
Breakups are never clear-cut, no matter the circumstances, so moving on is always going to be messy. When feelings are involved, it’s always messy. It was a breath of fresh air having that portrayed this way in YA, as it doesn’t happen often.
The book probably could have been cut down more. It did drag quite a bit.
I feel like this is something I’ve been saying a lot recently but seriously what the fuck are these editors doing? It felt like there was a lot of filler and unfortunately for me, this problem is far from being exclusive to Assassin’s Heart.
“You just gave a weapon to a child,” Les said.
“He’s, what, four?”
“He’s been handling weapons since he learned who to talk. He won’t hurt himself.”
This novel was very religious heavy and normally that may have turned me off but in this case, it didn’t and I’m not entirely sure why.
The world was interesting and I look forward to seeing more of it in Thief’s Cunning. I also enjoyed the fact that we got given what we signed up for, a female assassin.
Not pointing any fingers, but I’ve noticed that female assassin are words that are used liberally in the YA world and quite often readers are left feeling ripped off.
Lea isn’t afraid to get blood on her hands, despite a lot of the book being spent on not assassinating people, I didn’t feel short-changed and there was more than enough fighting and violence to appease my appetite.
Does that make me a bad person? Do I sound like I need therapy? I mean I do, but it’s probably not got anything to do with my book tastes right?
By the end of the book, I was left feeling unsure. It’s just one of those books that aren’t bad but isn’t amazing either so you’re stuck in middle ground limbo and that makes it extraordinarily hard to write a decent a review.
“Nice. Though I’d choose a knife in the back any day.”
I nudged him again. “Be careful what you wish for in the dark, no?”
*Taken from Goodreads.
**Currently free on Aus Amazon.
***If you would like me to include links to purchase books from a specific store in my reviews please let me know!
💲I receive a small commission off the following link
I read this book as part of my 2018 Library Love binge, where I read as many library books as possible to take advantage of my great local library network!
To follow my binge reading adventure just visit my 2018 Library Love shelf.
Or I’ll also be updating my 2018 Library Love Blog Post as I go!
Have you read Assassin’s Heart?
What did you think?