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.
An assassin story set in a fantasy Mafia-like world, Assassin’s Heart begins with Lea Saldana living the privileged life of a clipper belonging to the First Family of her kingdom, Lovera. She is badass, but faithful to the Goddess, Safraella, who is of Murder and Resurrection. The lands are plagued with restless and dangerous lost spirits and only the protection of a God, or strong stone walls can give some semblance of safety. When she is betrayed and her family is slaughtered, she vows revenge, in the name of her Goddess, as well as for herself. She goes on the run to seek help, and living in another kingdom, she experiences hardships unbeknownst to her before, as well as the true meaning of family.
While the story is mainly about Lea and her revenge, the mythology is interesting. Normally, gods are of elements, some garden variety virtues, but the gods in this world are..strange, to say the least. There is the god of murder and resurrection, the god of agriculture and debts (?), and one for the light. There might be more, but what mainly matters, as of this book, is Safraella. It seems clippers was an interesting choice of word for the assassins, because they are like reapers, who ensure the souls go peacefully into the afterlife. So, while the assassin plot has a lot of action and stuff, plus romance thanks to Les, there is also an interesting mythology and culture of the kingdoms, which I hope will be explored further in upcoming books.
The writing was reasonably good, for me. The action scenes were drawn out and bland, and I would have loved more detailing when it came to the world. This is an assassin story – there should be excitement, thrill! Some actions of the characters made little sense to the plot, and as a whole, it didn’t seem to add up well enough. However, I do think it is an interesting start. 3.5 stars.