- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 650 KB
- Print Length: 437 pages
- Publisher: Harlequin Teen (1 September 2016)
- Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers (AU)
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01IEICNE0
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Customer Reviews: 42 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #181,703 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Assassin's Heart Kindle Edition
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"An electrifying debut that captivated me from the first nail-biting chapter. Spellbinding!"--Gennifer Albin, New York Times bestselling author
"Equal parts adventure, romance, and politics, Ahiers' first novel is astonishingly good. This is a unique twist on a love story, and the exciting Godfather-esque plotline adds layers of intrigue. Fans of Robin LaFevers' His Fair Assassins series will snatch this one up in a heartbeat.--Booklist (starred review)
"Love, death, family--and vengeance. This gripping fantasy thriller will keep you turning the pages all night long."--Laura Ruby, author of the Printz Award-winning Bone Gap
Ahiers's Romeo and Juliet-inspired world of gods, angry ghosts, and assassins is darkly lush, and Lea's voice is strong and pragmatic, making for a stylish and rich read.--Publishers Weekly --This text refers to the paperback edition.
About the Author
Sarah Ahiers spent her childhood running around outside with her siblings, drawing pictures, and writing stories. Now, as a grown-up, she has an MFA in writing for children and young adults, and while she does less running around outside, the writing has held fast. Her books include Assassin's Heart and Thief 's Cunning. Sarah lives in Minnesota with three dogs and a houseful of critters. She has a collection of steampunk hats, and when she's not writing she fills her time with good games, good food, good friends, and good family. To learn more about her, visit www.sarahahiers.com.--This text refers to the paperback edition.
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I really enjoyed the world building in Assassin’s Heart. You just can’t go wrong with assassins, masks, ghosts and gods. Throw in vengeance and a pinch of love and you’ve got a sweet tale exalting your thirst for a great read. When I first picked up this book, I thought it was going to be just another YA Romeo and Juliet story but with assassins. How wrong was I!!! it was a tale of adventure, family, choices and devotion. I might be wrong but it has an “Underworld” vibe to it. Recommended to fantasy fiction fans – such an interesting read!!
I rated this book 5 stars! I loved this book! the mystery – the intrigue.. an amazing, well written book that captivated me from page 1!!! A story of how powerful assassin families are filtered by tier and tensions rise of power and position and one Lea Saldana harbors a deep, dark secret that just may cost her, her family and possibly her life. I was most impressed with the world building of Lovero and how well explained and intriguing the characters’ beliefs were. I also liked how well defined the characters were by their masks. A plot full of twists, mystery and adventure!!! I am really looking forward to the sequel now!!
Many thanks to Harlequin Publishers for sending us an Advanced Review Copy in exchange for our honest review
Sarah's writing style is great. She writes very detailed and thrilling. I never got bored with the story and I haven't found any dull scenes in the whole book. The story is also definitely full with the kind of action, which fascinated me all the time.
The author created amazing characters.
Lea is a very strong personality. She is the perfect assassin and absoulutely deadly but she is also loving and kind. She seemed really sympathetic to me from the very beginning of this book. In the early parts of the story, you would think that she is free of any fears. But while you dive into her adventure, you will notice that she is not fearless. She is strong, has courage and faith and never loses any of it during her huge adventure. It is an adventure, which could cost her life.
You will also meet Val. He seems kind, loving and despite the fact that he's an assassin and should be Lea's rival, they seem to love each other. But are they really in love and who has Val's loyality? Is it Lea or is it his Familiy?
Les is another character, you will stumble across. He is an easy going guy, who seems totally carefree and loving. Les doesn't care about the opinions of others and knows how to live through the days and nights in his hometown. The paths of Lea and Les will cross sooner or later in this story but what happens then? Find it out by joining Lea on her journey to revenge her Family's death.
You will of course get to know more characters, while reading this story. I intentionally don't tell you more about her enemies but you should know one thing for sure: I wouldn't wish for my worst enemy to cross ways with the bad guys in this book!
'Assassin's Heart' is a story about a hard life, which opens your eyes about the truly important things in life: Family. True, loyal friends. Love.
It is a sad, emotional, sometimes even brutal book but all up it is an absolutely amazing story.
I'm looking forward to read more from Sarah Ahiers and I can highly recommend this book to everybody, who wants to jump into an adventure full of action.
This was a great book. The world the author built was interesting and captivating. I liked the main character Lea (Oleander) and Les (Alessio), the idea of clippers was really interesting and enjoyable to read about and Lea's journey and her character development were interesting. The exploration of te Levro's belief system and their God of worship Safraella was really interesting. Overall, this is an amazing read that blends action, romance and fantasy elements.
Top international reviews
In the kingdom of Lovero, killing is legal for nine assassin families in tribute to some old saint or other. These families are bitter rivals for territory, respect and of course, money. The Saldanas. The Da Vias. Valentino. Rafeo. Marcello. Dante. Estella. The author amazingly manages to restrain herself from calling anyone Corleone - although hilariously there is a minor character named Brando. Seriously, this book is about as subtle as a Michael Bay movie. The Da Vias even own a restaurant - one that smells of rosemary and olive oil. I can only imagine that the Dolmio puppets are manning the bar.
The plot hinges pretty much entirely on how much you buy into Lea and her desire for revenge when her family are killed by their sworn enemies; the Da Vias. But I just couldn't get invested. Lea is utterly unsufferable. Even one character outright stating "you must be very special indeed Lea Saldana" - subtlety, thy name is Assassin's Heart! - couldn't do anything to make me believe she was worth caring about. Barring a one or two instances of ghostbusting which are exactly as stupid as they sound, there's zero interesting about her. Her love of Val seems to be limited to a bit of kissing and a few gropes in an alleyway, there's certainly nothing in her inner voice to suggest she's interested in anything more than his body (we're treated to several loving descriptions of how muscular he is in the first three chapters alone) which doesn't make his betrayal hit as hard as it probably should. When Lea finally flees, we immediately get The Transformative Haircut scene. She drags Les along in her quest to kill the Da Vias even though she knows he's so useless he'll probably be killed. She complains about the terrible fashions and boring nightlife in the kingdom of Ravenna while she searches for her uncle. She's less a character than a particularly annoying walking stereotype of all the worst elements of a YA heroine. Her rambling about murder being a blessing didn't do a lot to endear her to me either. It reeks of someone indoctrinated from birth into a cult that is never more than one step away from rat poison-laced kool-aid. These aren't her beliefs, they're merely what's been drummed into her from birth. The rationale behind all the killing - "I killed them to honour my saint and free them to a better life" - is some psychokiller talk if ever I heard it.
For a book that has such an exciting plot, I found it unforgivably boring. Things happen, people die, but I felt no emotional connection to the goings on. When your protagonist is so slash-happy and willing to drop anyone for a price, why should you feel sympathy when she gets a taste of her own medicine? Why should you believe in her self-righteous cause? Lea's family are little more than ciphers, hastily introduced with barely a defining characteristic between them (Rafeo probably comes off best, but he's still a cardboard cutout masquerading as a character), so I couldn't have cared less when they were killed off. Family tragedies can be gut wrenching - see The Hunger Games, Storm Siren, Daughter Of Smoke And Bone - but this tragedy is pure plot device to kick off Lea's adventures, and it shows.
The pacing is all over the place too. Within the first chapter Lea is poisoned, something that's abruptly swept under the rug for a few chapters of mooning over how hot Val looks in his leathers. The entire Saldana familiy is slaughtered in one, almost throwaway chapter, and we're then treated to chapter after chapter of Lea kicking about in the neighbouring country of Renne where literally nothing happens. Her search for her banished uncle who knows the location of the Da Via's family home consists of sitting on rooftops waiting to see if he stumbles into her path. She has a couple of run ins with a lawman who seems to sense her unique and special snowflake-ness, but aside from forming an uninteresting subplot, this goes nowhere. There's a confusing sense of time in the story as well. Lea seems to cross cities and countries in moments, while her skulking in Renne seems to go on forever. She goes to see the king after her family's murder, saying that she expects a long wait, and barely three sentences later he turns up, with zero indication that any length of time has passed.
Of course this book wouldn't be complete without a love triangle, now matter how unncessary and gratuitous. Val Da Via ... uh ... well, he looks good in leather from what I hear? And clipper-in-training Les ... blah. His sole motivation is to be a clipper/assassin and when we meet him he's killing anyone who's name is on a piece of paper, no questions asked. He's not a born clipper, he's just a guy who wants in on killing people. He volunteers to murder an entire family just to get in the good graces of a girl he's just met and he bumbles around like an idiot after Lea because she's an assassin. Am I supposed to care what happens to this amoral jackass just because he calls the lead character beautiful? Even when he's supposedly finding his backbone it's all purely to advance the plot. He and Lea fight over her stealing money from him (our wannabe assassin has no issue with murder, but apparently takes great offence to thievery), he ludicrously overreacts - for "conflict" I assume - claims he's done with her forever, and then five pages (seriously) later, he's back and all is forgiven.
And as for the ending ... urgh. Just ... urgh. I've never seen such a blatant "get out of jail free" card. It's a pair of "get out of jail free" card aces. Rather than a tragic ending in the vein of Romeo and Juliet ending, or a lesson about the futility of revenge, there's a hastily written twist that undoes the previous few chapters and sets up a by the numbers finale with a half-hearted revelation that means nothing because nothing has been done to set it up. While I would normally be irritated by this, I was just glad the book was nearly over. It's also another book that tries to make a tragedy the protagonist's fault, only to lose its nerve at the last minute and backtrack.
Frustratingly, I felt that there was a really good book in here trying to get out. The idea of ghosts haunting the cities and plains had so much potential, but ultimately it just felt a little half-hearted and used to explain away plot twists rather than a believable part of this world. The themes of blood and family, loyalty and love could have been fantastic, but got swept aside in a standard story that seemed to squander all the elements that could have made it something really special. One thing that did pleasantly surprise me though was the lack of a blatant, sequel-baiting hook, it's been so long since I read a book without one I'd almost forgotten that they exist. But that said, if there are any more books in this series, I certainly won't be reading them.
Review originally posted at [...]
In Lovero, where the dark Goddess of Death, murder and resurrection - Saefraella - is venerated, ine families of assassin's hold sway, bringing death to those whose enemies and loved ones can afford their services. Murder is lawful here, for a price. The Saldanas and the Da Vias are the creme de la creme of assassin families, and are not at ease with each other: an old unknown argument has left a deep enmity between the two families.
Oleader - Lea - Saldana is being courted in secret by Val De Via. This turns out to be a mistake...
With her entire family wiped out by the Da Vias, Lea swears revenge before being forced to flee and regroup. One thing is certain, she'll never fall into the trap of loving someone again. The only reason to go on now, is to make sure every single Da Via is dead. Lea is determined to do it personally...
Despite passively thinking that Lea was an inept idiot for much of the book, I did really enjoy this. I liked the world building with its feel of renaissance Italy and its system of worship. Safraella is my kind of goddess. The story was gripping enough to keep me turning pages - although shelling out for a hardback may have made me a little more tenacious than I would normally be... I liked Olessio as a character - although his choice of profession made very little sense in view of his character. Yes ok if we allow that sacred murder, sanctioned by the goddess and paid for by humans... actually no, it still doesn't make sense. I know the loveable thief with a heart of gold is a bit of a steriotype but he seemed much more like that IMO. Lea was somewhat under developed. It wasn't just that her reactions were uncomplicated, they were predictable. That said there were occasions when I warmed to her. I'd really like to see a proper female anti hero rather than this bland 'heart was in the right place and she had big trauma' substitute. (Same reason I find Throne of Glass series entertaining but don't care very much about Celaena.)
However if you like mild-violence in you YA action adventure with a romantic subplot and/ or you enjoyed 'throne of glass', you'll probably really like this. For me, this was far more about the world and the culture than it was about the character's journey, but it was still an entertaining (and undemanding) read. A pretty good YA debut.
Doesn’t that just scream pain, drama, and tension to you? Assassins, murder, revenge… it’s all in Assassin’s Heart, along with a little romance and humour to balance things out. It made for a book filled with twists I wasn’t expecting, and it kept me on my toes all the way through. That’s not an easy task, which is why I appreciate it so much when it happens.
Along with the level of tension, I also really enjoyed the world this novel is set in. It’s different from ours, and certainly unique. It’s a place where the ghosts are more dangerous than the people, and a paid assassination is a respected livelihood. And because of Safraella, one of the land’s most worshiped Gods, death is seen as both something to be feared and desired. It’s exactly the kind of world and inhabitants I loved learning about.
Forse l’unica, piccola, pecca di tutto il libro è stato il finale, “leggermente” affrettato per i miei gusti, ma nel complesso un libro decisamente piacevole.
Lea is the main character and a clipper. Her job is to murder for Safraella. She knows her poisons and takes pride in her kills. By placing a coin on the deceased' tongues she can give her victim a chance at life again. She is a kick *ss heroine with a tough persona. However, her heart is set on the forbidden. She loves a guy from another family... Each night they spend time together on the rooftops or dining in privacy. They know it's dangerous, but can't stay away. It's takes tragedy to tear them apart to the point of no return. Lea's home is burnt to the ground with her family inside. She is the lone survivor and desperately seeks revenge. She doesn't know it, but the revenge she seeks may just be against the person she loves most. Through her feelings of guilt she presses on to take down the family that took hers away. She reaches out to a long lost family member for help and he is quick to shove her away. The boy living with him however is intrigued by her presence. They strike up a deal and end up using one another to get what they want. A new love blossoms, deaths occur, and in the end belief and love is resurrection.
This book had so many awesome points. The magic laced within the pages really brought the fantasy feel I crave. There was no choice but to leave reality behind when reading... It brought unique characters with unique stories. I was held captive by the twists and turns and couldn't wait to see how it all played out. The romance was unconventional and for that I am thankful. Talk about a swoon worthy couple. Les and Lea were the best book couple ever! There was kindness in him and fierceness in her. Together they protected one another with their lives. It was very romeo and juilet and I loved it.
Overall, I can't say enough wonderful things... I enjoyed the book and how it was different from all the other fantasies I've read. I can't wait to read more by this Author.
Cross the best parts of Steven Brust and Mercedes Lackey, and you have what Sarah Ahiers has written in Assassin's Heart. From beginning to end, there is nothing slow, plodding, or unnecessary in this story. The villains have reasons and humanity, the heroes have their all-too-human weaknesses and flaws, and there is no way the reader can avoid caring about them as they struggle against the odds stacked higher and higher against them. Ahiers has created an analogue fantasy world that lives and breathes its own consistent beliefs and social structures, and there is just a touch of magic and real wonder the give it a very special spark. Add Assassin's Heart to your fantasy (and/or young adult) "must read" list!
I did Sarah Ahiers did a wonderful job creating this intricate society in Lovero where the people pray to their god Safraella and through her the families of clippers clip people for a fast rebirth. Lea is part of the Saldana family and rank as the highest family, but clash with the second family the Da Via's. Despite this feud Lea fell in love with Val, a Da Via. Her whole life comes crumbling down when in the night her home is burned to the ground leaving her the only one to make it out alive. Fleeing for her life Lea retreats with a plan for vengeance.
I liked the small Romeo & Juliet feel. Although I did not like Val at all so I have no idea how she found him appealing. I'm not completely sure it was just him who clouded her killer instinct. For her to be part of the Saldana's she often slipped up in her skills and training and got into hairy situations. But despite all that I really liked Lea. She never waivered in her faith in Safraella, it kept her going. She had no problem handling herself in battle. I also really liked Alessio. I liked the way he challenged Lea in the way she thought and acted. He gave her new perspective.
Assassin's Heart is a little dark and hopeful. I liked the way the story built up even though it got a little slow in the middle. The twists were so amazing and unbelievable. I loved the characters and cheered for them to make it out alive. I seriously just couldn't help but to love this book. Don't get me wrong it has some issues, but I'm more than willing to overlook them because I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I can't wait to see what's in store for the next book.
Lea Saldana is a clipper, a trained assassin, from a powerful family. When her family is killed by a rival and her heart is betrayed, she decides she must take revenge. This book is so many things. There's the intricate world-building of families and ghosts and religion. There's the wonderful description - the foods and the towns and the surroundings. There's adventure (!!) and a sweet romance. There's a horse named Butters. Butters! Oh man, I really loved Butters.
But at the heart of the story is Lea, a fierce, loyal young woman driven by revenge. She was awesome!
I'm a huge fan of Robin LaFevers' His Fair Assassin trilogy. I think Sarah Ahiers' book is perfect for fellow fans! If you like adventure, romance and lushly built worlds, this book is for you!
What I liked the best about it was the development and worldbuilding of Lovero and Rennes and all of the other places--there were so many little details that were woven in there that I could truly imagine it as another world and see it completely real through my eyes. It was so full of color and life and I loved that the world itself and the religions and cultures were so developed.
Lea was a great protagonist and I loved her drive and how she slowly came to realize what was really important in her life. I loved that she had this dry wit and this angry bit about her that kept her going but she never pushed me away as a reader even though she did things like murder--though I guess it's legal. Les was also a really good character and I found myself rooting for him and her as a team and as a couple. There are a few wonderful twists in this novel that had me silently screaming and gasping especially near the end and I loved how well they were handled and executed. I think the ending was very satisfying and I wonder what's going to happen next with the Families as they've been left.
I would say the middle is a little slow compared to the beginning and end but I did like that time as it developed the relationship between Les and Lea and I'd rather have that than the two of them just meeting and instantly falling in love.
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves YA Fantasy and spectacular writing!