Title/Author: Assassin's Heart (Assassin's Heart #1) by Sarah Ahiers
Publisher/Date published: HarperTeen, February 2nd 2016
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley, thanks!
Goodreads summary: 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.
There's just something about books about assassins that always manages to draw my attention. I'm kinda wondering what this says about me...
I've been reading a lot of 'meh' books lately and have DNF-ed quite a bit, so I was REALLY hoping Assassin's Heart would not have the instant sigh factor that some of my recent reads have had. And it didn't! I was sucked in from the start and I totally love that!
We meet Lea just before the murder of her whole family (as described in the summary) and see how she operates and we also see a bit of her relationship with Val. And I really liked seeing this glimpse into what Lea's life was like before the plot of Assassin's Heart starts rolling. And knowing that it'll all go downhill very fast gives it a bittersweet vibe from the get-go.
I really liked Lea. I mean, she's definitely a kickass character in the literal sense of the word, but she's also smart and determined and even though I'm a bit like, girl shouldn't you think a bit more before running off and doing whatever, she makes it work. I did really want someone to shake some sense into her when she's all like 'I'll murder ALL the Da Via's for what they did' and there are like 50 of them and she's by herself. Yeah. Odds and all that. BUT she has a plan and is also open to adjusting it a bit, so I could work with this.
I really enjoyed the worldbuilding and I loved that Lea's views about how 'normal' the system is that they have in Lovera with it being legal to kill people for money are being challenged a bit. I mean, the whole idea behind this and the mythology is delightfully complicated and I loved getting a bit deeper into the how and why of things. I cannot imagine the whole Family before family thing, but it's maffia-esque and while I don't really understand it, I can accept it for what it is.
The plot is pretty fast paced and towards the end things start snowballing almost out of control, but OBVIOUSLY Lea has a plan and after the bomb that was dropped plotwise in the last couple of chapters, I'm REALLY wondering what will happen next! I felt like this was a very solid start to the series!
My rating: 4,5 stars