Jeann (Happy Indulgence) 's Reviews > Assassin's Heart

Assassin's Heart by Sarah Ahiers
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did not like it
bookshelves: fantasy, review-copy, young-adult, edelweiss, 2016-releases

This review appears on Happy Indulgence. Check it out for more reviews!

For a book about assassins, I would’ve expected more assassinating. Set in a fervently religious world where killing each other is normal, Assassin’s Heart featured more telling than showing.

The world in Assassin’s Heart made no sense to me whatsoever. Built upon a world with nine families worshipping a death god, the Saldana family are the most powerful and revered. But there is bad blood between them and the Da Via family, and they’re constantly at odds with one another. So they do what assassins do – plot each other’s death and kill each other.

What didn’t make sense to me, was the reasoning behind this. What does it matter if you’re the first family, or the second family, if there are nine of them constantly trying to off one another to win their God’s favour? How is there anyone still alive? The reasoning behind this, other than killing each other for power, was severely lacking. Killing and assassinating is just another part of life in this world, which is disturbingly normalised without consequence (and I wish we were told why).

While it starts off like Romeo and Juliet, with Lea sharing a forbidden romance with the Da Via’s Val, it quickly plunges into a story of vengeance and betrayal. But instead of finding out who actually killed her family and finding out who’s alive, she spends much of her time gallivanting around with Les, the young unskilled clipper. What results is an irrelevant romance with a lack of chemistry and the mandatory love triangle.

The other problem I had was Lea’s characterisation. She likes to put up a big fanfare about how family is the most important. But then time and time again, she makes choices that show just how little she sticks to her word. As soon as she’s given the choice – her lover or her family – she chooses her lover, which throws her characterisation out the window. Apparently symbolism is more important than her blood relatives (which you would think she would treasure more, given how little there are left).

I thought religion was integrated in this world in an interesting way. Faith is a big part of this world and it also drives consequence and people’s motivations. Although the messaging is a bit heavy handed on doing right by your God, or facing punishment.

The most disappointing thing about Assassin’s Heart, is that it has all the elements of a great fantasy novel: a unique premise, interesting world, badass characters, nonstop action and an unpredictable plot. But sadly, the sum of these parts did not create a convincing story. I’m glad everything was wrapped up by the end though, cos I couldn’t have coped with a cliffhanger.
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Reading Progress

August 26, 2015 – Shelved
August 26, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
August 26, 2015 – Shelved as: fantasy
August 26, 2015 – Shelved as: review-copy
August 26, 2015 – Shelved as: young-adult
August 29, 2015 – Shelved as: edelweiss
November 3, 2015 – Shelved as: 2016-releases
January 26, 2016 –
14.0% "Simplistic writing, not impressed so far..."
January 26, 2016 –
14.0% "You did not just use the word 'appropos'."
January 27, 2016 –
59.0% "What even is this world building (or lack of)? It makes no sense."
January 28, 2016 –
90.0% "The whole premise is about families killing each other. How is there even anyone alive?!"
Started Reading
January 29, 2016 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-10 of 10 (10 new)

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message 1: by Tanaz (new)

Tanaz Masaba :v that rhetorical ques at the end!


message 2: by Tanaya (new) - added it

Tanaya I'm sad to see you didn't like this one! I had it preordered but now I'm wary


Jeann (Happy Indulgence) Ahhh lots of people enjoyed this one Tanaya, I hope you enjoy it too!


Brooke (The Cover Contessa) I'm with you. I didn't like this one and had a lot of issues with the characters and world building.


Jeann (Happy Indulgence) I'm glad I'm not the only one Brooke!


Nicay │The Nerdy side of a Queen Ohh Jeann, I am sorry. -___-


Jeann (Happy Indulgence) Lol, that's okay Nicay! Sometimes I feel like these reads XD


message 8: by C.G. (new) - added it

C.G. Drews THIS REVIEW IS EVERYTHING. XD " How is there anyone still alive? " <---- My biggest question. Like why the heck is everyone so surprised that two families turned on each other? One would think that would be a common occurrence?????


Brooke (The Cover Contessa) Commented on your blog with this:
Assassin's Heart: YES YES AND MORE YES! Ugh. I wanted to like this book but, no, it just wasn't happening. Yes to why the heck does it matter who the 1st, 2nd, 3rd families are. God's favor? HUH? Where was the real world building. Not in this book. That's for sure. The romance? BLAH! At first I was like ok, Romeo and Juliet, and then it was gone. And I was left...hanging? I think using that story line would have worked out better than Les. And can we talk about the ghosts? Was this fantasy? was it paranormal? What was the point of the ghosts? Again, world building gone wrong. I just was not a fan. I gave it two stars, though looking back I should have probably gave it one. And the telling, yes. SO. MUCH. TELLING. I want to be shown. In a fantasy book showing and world building are THE MOST important aspect. Great review!


Jeann (Happy Indulgence) Gosh, there are just so many things that you could poke a hole through because of the plot. Like the ghosts were pretty random and the romance was just...I wasn't sure what was happening there. Thanks guys!


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