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.
RATING: ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
Romeo & Juliet meets Assassin’s Creed meets Game of Thrones with a dash of The Godfather or the Sopranos. This is the feel and world of the Assasin’s Heart by Sarah Ahiers. Oleander ‘Lea’ Saldana’s life quickly comes crashing down when at the beginning of the story her family is murdered by the #2 Assassin family in their kingdom. What makes it worse is that Lea had a secret relationship with one of the Di Vias, Valentino so she feels as if this was her fault that all this happens. In reality, she’s not really at fault for being a teenage girl who was duped by a boy who didn’t care for her enough to stand up to his Family.
And yes that’s with the capital F. The 9 Families of Lovero put Family, which refers to all the assassins in their clan over blood family which is why it’s a little ‘f’. While most of the Families are blood-kin, there are those who taken in by the Family to be trained to be clippers (the term for Assassins in service Safraella, a goddess of death and resurrection who is also responsible for protecting her followers from angry ghosts who have not been sent to the other side to rest or be resurrected). In any case, the Di Vias have a hard-on for the Saldana, or the new head does because she was married to a Saldana (the families will marry and exchange members to produce clipper children) and never got a child (which may be she was barren) and Marcello Saldana was gay. Estella, the Di Vias head had her brother kill Marcello’s lover so he retaliated and killed that brother and the head of his house who was also responsible getting himself kicked out of the Family although we later learn that his family didn’t completely forsake him. And while being a clipper is important, the women also know it is their duty to produce children for the Family and Estella has never been able to do so (she’s really barren, I’m thinking) so she gets mad and when she gains power she turns her family to another god who also happens to be a fertility god. Bad move because you piss off your kingdom’s patron goddess in the process.
Anyways before I give away too much, long story short is that Lea learns how to move past her guilt and get revenge for her Family and to build a new Family/family. Yet somehow, while I enjoyed this book, I didn’t really feel it was a 5-star level. I’m not sure how I’ll feel about the next book which is about Lea’s niece.