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.
Assassin’s Heart is a fantasy novel, but not in the normal sense where there is a king and queen to the kingdom. Well, there is a king but there are these Families that are in essence rulers to their lands. They are the nine Families to basically assassinate people. With her blessing and the request to be assassinated, those people are granted a better life when they are reborn. I really liked that aspect because it was really different and unlike anything I’ve read before. Yes, it did take some getting used because I’m not used to death being so open and positive, but I ended up enjoying the story once I put my personal issues aside.
Lea Saldana is part of the Saldana Family. They are number one in rankings and since the Da Via Family wanted to be the best, they killed all of her family. Lea escaped by the skin of her teeth and that’s when the story started to pick up for me. Everywhere she went, she got herself into some kind of trouble. There were other Families after her, bad ghosts, and a crooked sheriff that did not have very good intentions. I really felt for Lea, but she was a fighter and I loved that about her. She did not give up even at moments where she was all banged up and ready to die. I liked that she was courageous and that family always came first for her.
Along the way she made an allie in a rookie assassin, Les. He was cute and brought the hilarity in times when things got too serious. I didn’t love him, but he balanced Lea out well. He helped her see reason when she got carried away with her vengeance. I did like that the author made him a normal person with some imperfections. Not all male love interests need to be drop dead gorgeous hunks. He was too tall, with a big nose, and I think that made me more endeared to him.
There were some things that I did not particularly care for. It was nothing to run away from, though. One was the whole Mafia type talk and assassinations. As I said before, it took some getting used because I was not expecting that at all. Once I got into the rhythm of it, it was smooth sailing from there. The second part was that I felt some things were a bit repetitive. Through out the story, Lea kept mentioning getting revenge on the Da Vias. She said it so much that at times I just wanted to shout at her and say, “We get it. You want to kill them. We heard it. Move on already!!” It wasn’t bad by any means, it just got to be annoying. Also, the way Lea kept saying, “I released the breath I was holding,” was said way too many time for my liking. Other than that I enjoyed the book, but that is why I had to take it down a star rating.
Overall, I really enjoyed the story. The plot was different and well written. There were many action scenes that kept the pace of the book moving. I also loved Lea, who was a kickass heroine, and did not need another person’s help if she really wanted that. I’m not sure if there is a sequel to this, but if there’s not, it ended on a positive note with no cliffhangers. That would be great if there was a sequel, though! It would add more closure to the story, or a new beginning for the Saldana Family. If you love fantasy books with a little bit of a mobster war type thing, then I highly recommend this book. It was very entertaining.