Assassin’s Heart is a Young Adult fantasy about Lea Saldana, a seventeen year old assassin who belongs to the top family of assassins in Lovero. In total, there are nine families of assassins, and they are allowed to legally “clip” people because their city’s patron goddess is the goddess of Death and Resurrection. The families earn money for their jobs, and they provide a service as well. When they kill a person, they guarantee a rebirth for him or her; the alternative is that they would wander around as a ghost, angrily looking for a new body.
The families compete for jobs, and are rivals. So when Lea’s family is murdered by the Da Vias, she sets out on a path of vengeance. She intends to repay the Da Vias by murdering all of them, but she’ll need help. She travels to Yvain to find her disgraced uncle, Marcello.
Lea is a very skilled assassin, but the limits of her abilities are tested by assassin families, crooked lawmen, ghosts, and her stubborn uncle. The book is hard to put down when Lea is faced with challenge after challenge. She proves herself a capable protagonist – someone worth rooting for.
The world building in this story is incredible. Cities develop around a deity (and the gods and goddesses are active in the story) and the implications of that completely make sense. There are ghosts who kill people and try to take their bodies (something that has important implications for how the residents in the world order their lives.) Now, throw the political intrigue of nine rival assassin families into this world, and you’ve got a well textured story.
I keep thinking about the world in Assassin’s Heart, long after I’ve put the book down. For what it’s worth, I belong to the Zarella family, according to this quiz.
Go read this book. Seriously.
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