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.
Sarah Ahiers debut Assassin’s Heart was made of total awesomesauce! It was an incredibly epic read and I pretty much loved every minute of it! It was exciting and thrilling with nary a dull moment! Pitched as a mesh between The Godfather and Romeo and Juliet, I can definitely see bits of this. Though I was glad the only R&J bits was the forbidden romance.
The first thing to know about this fantasy world, is that in the country of Lovero, everyone worships the goddess Safraella, and in their worship the assassins kill in her name. This is where things get the most convoluted in a sense. That in order to worship their goddess and respect her, the assassins murder people. They are paid by “customers” and sometimes there are even paid “suicides”, but those tend to be mercy kills since the patron is either dying from a terrible and slow disease. While there are still some moral factors to overcome, this was just the way of things in this world and after awhile I just started to roll with it.
Lea Saldana and Val Da Vias come from two rival assassin families. They keep their relationship a secret for obvious reasons and then one night, Lea awakens to her home burning down and finding her family members dead or dying. She manages to escape and holds her dying brother in her arms, believing he could be saved, but after he died she knew she was alone. It’s not until the king—who happened to be a friend of her father’s—reminded her of her banished uncle in another country and so Lea travels across a field of ghosts in order to find her uncle.
I liked the added ghost factor to this one. I totally wasn’t expecting it until Lea mentions how the ghosts come out at night. And these are quite vicious ghosts. They are angry spirits who refuse to accept their death and try to steal a living person’s body! Yes, this is for real! Basically being outside at night is dangerous, you have to stay inside locked doors or be on holy ground, for spirits can’t tread on holy ground.
When Lea finally finds her uncle, it’s only to learn he’s a rather crabby old man who wants nothing to do with her. But she needs him in order to exact her vengeance on the Da Vias family. She plans to kill them all since they killed her family. Then she meets a would-be assassin named Alessio, aka Les. And he just so happens to be her uncle’s “assistant”. He received some training from her uncle on how to be an assassin and basically does the work of a Family assassin. But he’s a little rusty around the edges. Lea agrees to train him if he gets the Da Vias home location from her uncle.
Naturally, along the way are tons of shenanigans involving dirty police officers, ghosts, and of course, some romance! I quite enjoyed the romance here. For quite awhile Lea tries to deny any feelings towards Les. She still has mixed feelings over Val, despite it being his family that killed hers. Not only does she harbor guilt over her family’s death, believing it to be her fault. But there’s just a lot of mixed feelings. Though, I think you sort of get the idea where her feelings lie. And naturally, the tension between her and Les and is just scintillating!
The ending lead to some of the biggest shocks of my reading lifetime! It reminds me of another epic series, but I won’t divulge into that! Needless to say it was shocking and I couldn’t believe how things happened! Amid the shocks and surprises, I do quite liked how this one ended. From what I hear, this story is done, but a sequel might happen with different characters? Not sure if there’s a lot of information out there just yet, but I truly hope this isn’t the end of the fabulous world Sarah created! I am so looking forward to more from this author! She’s one debut author I cannot recommend enough!
If you’re looking for a story about love, revenge, murder (pretty much your typical Shakespeare tropes) but told in a new manner with more action and GHOSTS then I highly recommend Assassin’s Heart! It was a remarkable and most incredible read! I need more stat!
Overall Rating 5/5 stars