"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."
Carolyn's thoughts on the book:
Assassin's Heart reimagines the kingdoms of renaissance Italy as feuding families of assassins, adding a darker form of intrigue to the familiar tale of star-crossed lovers from opposing families. But what if Romeo betrayed Juliet? Assassin's Heart is the tale of Lea's journey towards revenge after she flees in the wake of the slaughter of her family. Alone and unprotected by the code of Assassins, Lea finds herself in a strange town - the same town her disgraced uncle was banished to. To exact her revenge, Lea must discover the root of their feud, which only her uncle can explain. But when she meets her uncle's apprentice, she finds an unlikely (and untrained) ally loyal to her and her cause. Together, they plot to take down the Da Vias and rebuild the Saldana family.
The book's success stems from the lush world within the novel, allowing the reader to accept that assassination is a legal, everyday occurrence. Assassination is not only accepted but honored, because in the kingdom of Lovero, everyone worships Safraella - the goddess of death. The polytheistic faith in the novel, while certainly different than the Catholicism of renaissance Italy, mimics the patron saint system of Catholicism mixed with the deities of the Roman Empire and adds a depth to the world-building. The assassin families' worship of the goddess isn't the only supernatural part of the book - ghosts run wild outside of the gates of Lovero (and the protection of Safraella). But religion isn't the only interesting facet of the setting. Everything, from the monarchy's relationship to the Families, to the code of honor of the assassins, to the elaborate customs and costumes of each Family, serves to add another intricate piece of the puzzle. The reader is immersed in this fantastical world to enhance and add depth to the plot.
Assassin's Heart is a great read for fans of intrigue and suspense. I can't wait to read Sarah Ahiers' next book, whatever it may be!
Carolyn is a teen blogger who shares her favorite YA reads and favorite book related finds with readers on Fridays.