Series: Assassin's Heart #1
Published by HarperCollins on February 2nd 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Love & Romance, Social Issues, Violence, Family, General
eARC provided by HarperTeen
With shades of Game of Thrones and Romeo and Juliet, this richly imagined fantasy from debut author Sarah Ahiers is a tale of love, lies, and vengeance. Fans of Kristin Cashore and Rae Carson will devour the flawlessly crafted action and inventive world building.
Seventeen-year-old Lea Saldana is a trained assassin. She was born into one of the nine clipper Families in the kingdom of Lovero who lawfully take lives for a price. As a member of the highest-ranking clan, loyalty to Family is valued above all, but that doesn't stop Lea from getting into a secret relationship with Val Da Via, a boy from a rival clan. Despite her better judgment, Lea has fallen in love with him; but she's confident she can anticipate any threat a mile away.
Then she awakens one night to a house full of smoke. Although she narrowly escapes, she isn't able to save her Family as their home is consumed by flames. With horror, she realizes that Val and his Family are the only ones who could be responsible. Devastated over his betrayal and the loss of her clan, there's just one thing on her mind: making the Da Vias pay. The heart of this assassin craves revenge.
This is a hard review to write. The background is complicated.
I really enjoyed this book. The protagonist is a kick ass assassin (or clipper, as they call them in this story). She has been training since birth to kill. She kills quickly and with honor for the goddess who demands a blood payment. Lea was born into the Saldanas family. Her family is the first family of nine rival clipper families. Lea has a secret though. She and a member of the the rival second family, the Da Vias family, are in love. Their relationship is forbidden. Her place in the Saldanas family is not secure. Just when she thinks to help them by marrying a member of another of the nine families to help her own family’s position, they are attacked. Lea is the only one in her family to survive. When she realizes it was the Da Vias family that attacked and killed her whole family, she vows revenge.
I seriously loved this story. Lea is a bit arrogant at first. I grew to really like her. She isn’t perfect and this becomes even more apparent when she gets out of her element and ventures out to find her estranged uncle. She tries to enlist his help in her vengeance and along the way she faces danger and death. Lea grows so much in this story. I loved that her faith stays strong and she never wavers from her mission.
The world building in this story is pretty amazing. Each town has it’s own gods. Without the God’s (or Goddess’) protection the spirits of the dead threaten to steal the bodies of the living. There are whole sections of this world full of dead souls. The come out at night and travel over the land. Each city had a different specialty and structure of power. Since Lea is an Assassin we see the seedier side of things. Lea walks the streets and she travels by rooftops and undergrounds of these cities to keep herself i the shadows. There really is danger everywhere Lea goes in this story.
Lea meets a wanna-be clipper, Les, when she is searching for her uncle. Les and Lea form a bond that was so damn sweet. Les is just a good person, despite being in a bad way. He is a rock for Lea. Lea tries to teach him the clipper ways and she finds out more about herself along the way. I loved their slow burn romance.
I do have to mention one thing the author did that broke a main rule for me. I can’t actually say what it was, but I am pretty sure anyone that has read this will understand what I mean. I have to admit I really let it slide. I was so invested in the story that I just let it go. It was the only real detractor from the story. The religion is a heavy topic in this story, but I enjoyed it anyways.
I enjoyed this story so much I did a video review.
This was really a great story. I would recommend this book for anyone that enjoys a good YA Fantasy.