Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Book Review: Assassin's Heart by Sarah Ahiers

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.
I am very conflicted about Assassin's Heart. I am giving it four stars but it could have easily been five, yet I nearly gave it a three.

There was a lot about this book I liked. It is the most original novel I have read in years. Sure, there are plenty of books out there about assassins, especially in the YA bracket, but I haven't come across one quite like this. I was blown away by Ahiers imagination. The creation of the cities, religion and culture of her fantasy world was quite simply outstanding. The story and writing were rich with originality. I honestly do not think I will come across another book to match it for some time.

Ahiers is a truly creative writer. Everything in this book had purpose, all the information given to the reader was important in some way. The story was built well, it was never boring and never rushed. On the whole it was a very well put together book.

The reason I nearly gave this book a three star rating was the main character Lea. I didn't like her. Truthfully, I think Lea is not a character you are supposed to like, not straight away anyway. She goes on a journey and she changes as the book goes on. You could really see the difference in her from the beginning of the book to the end. I have no problem with that, I like it when a character grows, the issue in this book is that the change takes too long. For at least 75% of this book I disliked Lea. That is just far too long.

For three quarters of the book Lea is borderline unbearable. Sure, she is a kick ass assassin and that is all kinds of cool, but she is also a snob who looks down on people who do not have as much as she does. She lacks personality, I kind of get it, something horrible has happened to her, she seeks revenge but her one track mind was an annoyance and it prevented the reader from getting to know her. If I had a pound for every time I read the words 'all that mattered was killing the Da Vias,' or some variation of that, I would be a lot better off than I am now. Honestly, she sounded like a broken record and it was too much. Her single mindedness also leads her to become selfish. She focuses on her goal so much that she loses sight of the cost that could come with achieving it. She doesn't care about the consequences of her actions and drags others into her plot without thinking of the risk it poses to their life's.

Luckily, as I said, she isn't like this the whole time. I loved her towards the end of this book. She was still kick ass but she lost the snobbishness, she started to see things differently, she started to care, she fell in love and it changed everything. I just wish the change had come a little sooner.

Les was a completely different story. I loved him from the beginning until the end. Sweet, loyal and kind he is the exact opposite of Lea. He was patient with her, he knew when to be soft and when to push back. He never belittled her, never thought he knew best. He just supported her, and learnt from her and she, in turn, learnt from him, even if she didn't want to.

The romance was wonderful. It was beautifully built and surprisingly adult. It felt real and it got under my skin in a way few YA romances have managed. There was no teen drama, no romantic angst. It was just two people slowly, without really realising it, falling in love. I adored it.

Assassin's Heart is not perfect but it came pretty close. Sarah Ahiers knows what she is doing, she is on my watch list and I will wait eagerly for her next book.

4 stars

Find out more

Assassin's Heart book one.  Published February 2nd 2016 by HarperTeen.
A free book was provided in exchange for an honest review.  Image courtesy of Goodreads.

1 comment:

  1. OOh nice! I've been seeing a lot of this one and I pretty much immediately took it off my wishlist and ordered it stat! It sounds like a read I will eat up and need more of! Glad you were able to enjoy it despite some of the heroine's character flaws! Great review!


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