- Page Count: 420
- Release Date: February 2, 2016
- My Rating: 2.5 stars
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.
Well that was excruciatingly dull. It started out SO promising and had a ton of potential, too! Ugh I still want to give it 3 stars for what I kept hoping would unfold, but it’s really a 2.5 star read at best.
The story starts with Lea and Val in a Romeo & Juliet situation. They live in this renaissance Italy-type kingdom where nine Families of assassins murder people in a way that’s… good? (Because it lets you move onto your next life or something, idk). The setting had a ton of potential, but the worldbuilding was a bit of an infodump of confusing stuff about the Families… like I’m still not clear on exactly why they all wanted to kill each other?
Plus, I wasn’t sure what to do with the bizarre stuff with ghosts and talking to goddesses. It kind of felt like it was glossing over a shaky fantasy checklist without any substance at times… weird religion, castles, kings. Check.
So Val betrays Lea and his Family kills all of hers just a few chapters into the book. And I did not care. There really wasn’t time for the reader to even connect with any characters before everything happened, so there was no sense of betrayal or sadness or anything. It just turned into yet another potentially interesting event totally neutralized by the book’s passive voice and poor pacing.
Soooo the dull, emotionless writing really killed the story, but the actual plot itself was weak as well. Lea spends most of the book talking about how she needs to kill Val’s family for revenge without ever doing a whole lot. The beginning was interesting, but it went downhill rapidly after she left the kingdom (after some weird convo with the king who’s also useless). She goes to find her estranged uncle, meets this guy he’s training, and starts a new romance there with ABSOLUTELY ZERO CHEMISTRY.
It was hard to really connect with Lea as a character, but I was still annoyed by the small bit that was there. She’s been training for her whole life to be an assassin but I’m pretty sure most people who just wander in off the street could make better choices than her. I feel like the word “assassin” gets thrown around way too much in YA books right now. Celaena Sardothien is an assassin. Lea is… a reluctant incompetent murderer?
But ok, this is what totally ruined the book for me: Lea spends the entire book on a mission to avenge her family, right?! So when she’s given the choice to bring back onemember of her family from the dead, she chooses… (view spoiler) ARE YOU KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW.
This book just felt hollow. Like a lot of words on the page but not much there. And the plot overall was super convenient and dragged like crazy. I mean, I really had to force myself to keep reading. And this makes me sad because, like I said… so much wasted potential.
Ugh it’s just frustrating that everything fell so completely flat. The world and book description had SO much potential, but it went in a completely different direction than anything I was interested in.