Author: Sarah Ahiers
Published: February 2nd, 2016 by HarperTeen
Read: December 9th to 18th, 2015
Add it: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository
*An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review*
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'd like to say that gorgeous covers don't allure me in, but they do! As soon as I read the blurb to match this beautiful piece of art, I knew I wanted to get my hands on it asap. This debut is a thrilling ride that's bound to capture the hearts of many readers. Lush with world building and a decent plot that's immersed with mythology, spiced with The Godfather's and Romeo & Juliet's influences, Assassin's Heart made for quite a thrilling read.
As you probably gathered from above, the world building is great! It's rich in all the places it needs to be, but it never feels as though it's told to us, but rather shown, which is a good thing. Ahiers' writing allows the world to be developed along with the plot so it never gets exhausting. The setting itself is very vividly described and really makes you feel like you're inside the story rather than being an outsider observing it all.
I quite enjoyed the plot as well. The beginning was very fast-paced and set the tone for the rest of the book. Everything that is mentioned in the blurb happens quickly and it's great, because you don't know what's coming next exactly; the plot really does keep you on the edge of your seat. Though, from a reader's point of view, of course I sympathized with Lea when the tragedy happened very early on, but it was hard to feel such grief, because I didn't know the characters all that well when all of it went down, hence it didn't hit me as hard as it hit her when she finally admitted to herself that this had happened.
There is romance in this book and it does have a focal point as you'd assume, seeing as the book is somewhat based on Romeo and Juliet's story. What I gathered from the blurb wasn't exactly what happened in the romance front though. You see, there are two love interests for Lea and as much as I liked the endgame and thought it was a better fit for Lea, I didn't find myself shipping it as much as perhaps expected? I didn't quite connect with the chemistry between him and the main character, which made me slightly frustrated when the typical romantic elements and plot points happened at the last 30% or so and the romance took over too much for my taste. I love the characters separately and the ship itself makes a lot of sense as well, so I do think a lot of people would enjoy this pairing together. Also, the ending is a bit too open for my liking, all things considered.
As a whole, Heart of Assassin is a promising debut by a talented author whose future books I'm more than excited to read! The setting, mythology and all the characters really do bring this story to life as one unit that, I'm sure, will appeal to a lot of readers. I hope there are many more books to come from Sarah Ahiers, because I absolutely cannot wait to get my hands on them!
P.S. When I requested to read and review the story, I had an understanding that this would be a standalone in this particular setting, but turns out that there will be a companion novel and I'm actually really glad, because there is so much more of this world is left to be explored, and maybe the return of some characters we met here? Very excited to see where the author is taking it all next!
Overall rating: 3.5 out of 5.0
Meet the author
Website | Twitter | Goodreads
and in no way did this review copy affect my thoughts.
I'm so glad you at least liked it! I adore retellings, you probably know by now, but Romeo & Juliet is a hard one to pull off, at least for me, since they most often spin into a crazy instalove tale meh. But this one has seemed so promising and besides the blemish of love triangle? *horrorified gasp* it seems like one I'd pick up and enjoy since I'm all for open-ended conclusions *if* we get a companion/sequel of sorts!ReplyDelete
I did like it! The world is super interesting and so much thought has been put into it -- one of my favorite elements for sure! Heh, yeah, there is some triangly action going on, which may be the fault of what lessened my love, because I wasn't aware of it before I wend into it. I hope you pick it up and we can discuss more ;*Delete
Siiri. It's been so long!! This sounds like an incredible novel. At the moment I'm really into books with such beautiful world building. I'm currently reading one now, The Dark Days Club and loving it. I will take a look at this one for sure. Lovely review. :)ReplyDelete
Aw, hah! I'll try to beat my 9 posts per year from 2015 hah! Right? The world was so different and vivid and amazing, so I'd totally rec you check it out! It seems like your type of novel, Emma! :) Ooh, I haven't heard of this one. Need to check it out for sure ;) Thank you, lovely!Delete
This cover is absolutely gorgeous! This book is a favorite of mine because the setup of the story is pretty bad ass (I love the whole assassin families aspect), but I do get what you mean with the romance. I mean I did like that they ended up together but I wasn't really that into it? Like I wasn't that giggly and happy and fervently shipping them.ReplyDelete
Wait what there will be a companion novel!? UM YES!
Lyra @ Defiantly Deviant
Eeep! I'm so glad you ended up loving it so much! Same for me about the ship. I didn't mind it, but I wasn't falling all over myself about them :P HAH! YES! I did some detective work and turns out we can expect a companion! So exciting *jazz hands*Delete
Hm. I'm trying to decide if the romance in this one would work for me Siiri! I don't think I'll mind that the romance takes over the story a bit, I like it when that happens, but I don't love that there are two love interests and that the ending is a bit open - I NEED TO KNOW EXACTLY WHAT'S GOING OT HAPPEN TO EVERYONE!ReplyDelete
You don't have to worry about it *that* much, Jenny! The open ending isn't AS open as some I've read :) I simply wish there had been a few more chapters to see how/what some characters turned out to be/do ;)Delete
Loooveee this review Siiri. I've been on the fence about this book for months because I started it a while back, wasn't in the right reading mood, and haven't gotten back to it yet. I've heard average ratings all around for it, and this review solidified my non-interest. I'm feeling very meh about the love triangle and I do have a feeling that the guy I'd end up with her wanting to be with will not end up with her. So yeah, that kind of ruins it a bit lol. Nice to know that the world-building is on-point, though!ReplyDelete
- Aila @ One Way Or An Author
Aw, thank you! I'm sorry you lost your mojo with this one. The romance part is quite tricky for a few reasons, so I don't blame you for not wanting to dig deeper and potentially be sad about not getting your endgame <3Delete
Yay!!!!! I'm so glad you enjoyed this book Siiri <33 It was a good one and I agree on the world building part - Sarah wrote a really amazing world, I wish they were more book in that space!ReplyDelete
Sil @ TBV
I totally agree about the world building Sil! It really felt as though we were inside the story :)Delete
So glad to hear you liked it so much Siiri! It sounds absolutely amazing despite the few minor flaws. I think if I go into it knowing the romance isn't amazing, I'll end up liking it more. ;) Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! ♥ReplyDelete
I think a lot of people could look away from those flaws since they're just my personal taste; I saw that Cait loved the romance, so that already shows that things are up for interpretation and people will totally have different opinions on it:)Delete
Gorgeous covers catch my eye too. I agree when tragedy happens very early on, and you don’t know characters and not really invested in the story yet, it doesn’t have big impact on you. The world-building sounds good and you definitely made me intrigued. Great review, Siiri!ReplyDelete