Review: Assassin's Heart (Assassin's Heart #1) by Sarah Ahiers10:00
Series: Assassin's Heart #1
Author: Sarah Ahiers
Published February 2nd 2016 by HarperTeen
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.
When I first heard about this book, I was immediately intrigued by the premise. In a world of assassins, the leading Families control Lovero. There are nine Families left, but the Saldana and Da Via are the leading rank. Committing legal assassination, in the name of their goddess, Safraella, Lea Saldana has grown up to be a 'clipper', and is good at it. Unfortunately, she has fallen for one of the enemy Da Vias, which leads to the murder of her entire family - and she's lucky to have escaped as it is. Hell bent on getting revenge, Lea finds out where her exiled uncle is hiding, and journeys there to seek his assistance.
I liked Lea - she was sassy, but not in your face strong. She felt all the emotions that ran through her, and because of this, she was a real person, not some robot. Just because she's an assassin, and is used to death, doesn't mean that the deaths of her loved ones comes as nothing. However, this did make her sloppy, and there were lots of times that she was at risk because of that - not really the best thing for a star assassin.
There were many characters I didn't like, mainly from the Da Via family. Val, considering he was a love interest for Lea, was awful, and I never liked him, not from the beginning. There was also Lafevre, the police captain, who was a thorn in Lea's side from the beginning. He was always there, and once he worked out she was the one remaining Saldana, he sold her out to the Da Vias, thinking it would bring him honour and prestige.
I did love Les though, the other love interest. Don't think it was all love-triangly because there were two love interests, because I never felt like Val was a viable option. Les was a wannabe assassin, training with Lea's uncle, but struggling still. Lea gets annoyed with how little he knows, so ends up offering to train him in exchange for help and information. They grow closer and closer as the training begins, and we can see Lea struggle with her feelings, but they are still there.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I'd seen some negative reviews in the past, and was a bit apprehensive about starting the book, but happily, I didn't think the same as others. The ending was nice too - there wasn't really a cliffhanger, but it was left open for the next book. I'm not sure if it's a proper series, or more companion books, but I'm looking forward to reading book 2 in the future.