Assassin’s Heart by Sarah Ahiers

Assassin's Heart by Sarah Ahiers

Title: Assassin’s Heart
Author: Sarah Ahiers
Series: Assassin’s Heart, #1
Pages: 420
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: February 2nd 2016

       “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.”

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“The ghost shrieked—a guttural screech that echoes across the field. It rushed my way, its white, glowing form spread out behind it like morning mist.”

Sarah Ahier’s debut novel, Assassin’s Heart, had such a promising premise but fell short in execution. Lea Saldana has been raised in a family devoted to the goddess of death and resurrection, Safraella. As part of a Family of “clippers” Lea has been trained as an assassin since birth. For Lea, her Family means everything, so when she loses them, her entire world crumbles. As much as I wanted to feel the devastation of such a loss to the protagonist, the story moves far too quickly, never allowing readers a chance to feel anything but a passing sense of sadness. Assassin’s Heart really needed to take its time at the beginning of the novel, not just as a way to introduce Lea’s family, but as a way to introduce the world of clippers. I would have liked to have seen this world play out more because even though we are told how the system of assassins and clientele works, I would have liked to have seen it in action.

I enjoy reading about flawed characters and Lea, being only seventeen, is more rash decisions than careful preparation. The problem with this is she has been raised as an assassin, schooled in various skills, and one of these ought to have been strategy. Lea is an example of someone who has little to no understanding of how important a well-thought out plan is. While I will say that Lea does learn a valuable lesson about family by the time the novel finishes, I do wish the book would have spent more time devoted to how she was dealing with her loss internally rather than focusing so much on her overwhelming desire for revenge. The novel could also have used more development in terms of minor characters. Val, Lea’s secret suitor, is given only two scenes with the protagonist before tragedy strikes and I felt very little for him and Lea’s relationship as a result. The most interesting secondary character was Lea’s exiled uncle Marcello, who I really wished we could have spent more time with.

Assassin’s Heart had a really interesting religious system that I wanted to know more about, but failed to grip me emotionally and could have been more enjoyable if the characters and world were given more time to develop.

Rating: 3/5

★★★

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13 thoughts on “Assassin’s Heart by Sarah Ahiers

  1. Character development, and hence connection, is such a vital part in a good story. I find that if I can’t connect with the protagonists, it’s harder to enjoy the story. Right, two scenes are not enough to establish a romantic bond. Do author’s still think that insta-love works? Perhaps, it could work for star-crossed lovers which this doesn’t sound like it. On a positive note, the assassin’s theme is really interesting. Is it of the Kill Bill variety? =)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wasn’t sure how the author wanted readers to feel about this love interest considering he only had two scenes in the beginning. It wasn’t really an instalove situation, it was more like here are these two characters, they are in love, then suddenly there’s a stumbling block to their relationship, don’t you feel the agony of the protagonist? The answer is no because I didn’t really get to see their relationship. I’ve definitely read better assassin books. I just found myself wondering if Lea was really that good of an assassin to begin with.

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  2. I almost bought this but went for Reign of Shadows instead. This sounded kind of busy and a bit complicated, and the reviews ice been reading are kind of “meh.” I wonder if there’s a sequel planned for this one.

    Liked by 1 person

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