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 a gorgeous cover, a brilliant premise and a fantastic setting, Assassin's Heart could have been so much. It was, in fact, a good book, but I would not say it was as great as it could have been.
This book is like Romeo and Juliet mixed with Throne of Glass, without the power of either book. There is murder, intrigue, romance and action but in the way that I never felt fully absorbed into Lea's story. The thing is, I felt like Lea was one main problem in this book - Ahiers works so hard to make her a powerful, tough main character - she kills guiltlessly, feeling that it is her calling and that she is doing it for the good of her people and her religion - because of this, I think she became a bit of a flat character. When her Family is killed Ahiers tells us that Lea is angry, but I never really felt that fury, or saw the desolation.
For this reason, it felt forced when we were made to think that Lea had feelings. When she meets Les and begins to develop feelings for him, it felt more like a plot device than a natural development. With Val, it seems okay because her feelings for him stem from desire and the need to feel loved more than anything else. Les is supposed to be real love - that was the difference.
I did love the fantasy elements in this book though. The lore is gorgeous and the ghosts are terrifying. I did feel that the event that happened at 70% was a cheap cop out though - using that religion as a deus ex machina to keep the story going in dire straits was a bit of an anti-climax and from there the rest of the book was a bit rushed... like Ahiers couldn't see the way out and just decided to end it, hence the rushed scenes at the Da Via's manor.
Overall, Assassin's Heart was a rich book with great fantasy, but the pace was very slow at times and the ending and the main character fell a bit flat for me...
Overall Rating: C
Book released 2nd February 2016 by HarperTeen
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review