By: Sarah Ahiers
Expected Publication: February 2nd 2016 by HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss (Thank you!!)
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Goodreads description--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 feel like the description I read when I requested this book was a bit different than the one that’s listed now. That sometimes happens. Or more likely, I’m just not remembering what I did read correctly. That description I thought I read was really misleading. I read it and thought “Romeo & Juliet meets assassins! YES PLEASE!” And even still it’s no wonder I thought that because this description says “Romeo & Juliet meets The Godfather.” But Romeo & Juliet is not at all what this book is about. Well it kind of starts off that way, but it takes a significant turn. Perhaps the author was trying to make sure she didn’t do a retelling so much as a reimagining or something, but I didn’t like the turn of events.
Lea and Val have a secret relationship. I’ve noticed that anytime a couple has an established relationship at the beginning of the book, it’s pretty much doomed. But I was hoping for different with Lea and Val. They have a relationship where they admire each other’s talents in their jobs as assassins. They often play games together trying to outwit the other by lifting an object off the other or racing to a specific location or sneaking up on one another. I really enjoyed their dynamic. But of course, things go south. Lea and Val’s families are at odds with one another. They both live in the same territory and therefore are in competition. When Val’s family murders Lea's, Lea is the only one to escape and she must run for her life.
Without giving too much away, I feel it necessary to say that Assassin’s Heart has a love triangle—kind of. And this is where things went off for me. I had been hoping that Val wasn’t a part of the murders and he and Lea would be able to work things out. Regardless of whether that’s the case or not, I wasn’t feeling the chemistry between Lea and Les. The two didn’t really seem to go together for me. I didn’t feel any sparks with the flirting or any of that.
Also, Lea is supposed to be this awesome assassin, right? She and Val were always testing the other and even Lea’s mother often tested her abilities—even to the lengths of poisoning her to see if she could give herself the right antidote in the right amount of time. But when it was convenient for plot purposes Lea all of a sudden became really clumsy often making huge mistakes. I just found this to be a bit inconsistent in character. Sure, I imagine that she’s a bit off kilter with her entire family being murdered recently and all, but still. I would expect instincts to take over when you’ve been taught nothing but this your entire life. While at the same time, Lea also does exceptionally well considering the physical injuries that she receives throughout the book. A bit unbelievable.
I had higher hopes for Assassin’s Heart than panned out. I hate that because I was really enjoying it at first. Midway through things started to fall apart for me. Lea’s character was often inconsistent given the description of how talented she is. Also, I wasn’t buying the romance as I felt no sparks or chemistry between the two of the characters within the love triangle. In the end, Assassin’s Heart was just an okay book for me. I’m giving it 3 Stars. Have you read Assassin’s Heart? What did you think? Let me know!