On the face of it, Sarah Ahiers' ASSASSIN'S HEART is a classic vengeance story: Lea (Oleander) Saldana belongs to the first family of clippers in Lovero--highly trained assassin's whose work is in service of the dark goddess who protects their kingdom. Her privileged life is only complicated by a secret romance with a rival Da Via--until she comes home one night to find her family murdered by the Da Vias. Lea vows vengeance, promising not to rest until the Da Vias (including the boy who loved and betrayed her) are dead.
But the story is much more than just a revenge plot. Ahiers' world is rich and complex. The cities of Lovero have some of the rich and vibrant feel of Italy, but this is a world of fascinating gods and angry ghosts that haunt the dead plains between walled cities. Lea's quest for vengeance forces her to confront the limits of her abilities, her heart, and her faith.
I loved the immersive world Ahiers' wrote (though I think I'd be terrified to actually visit it). I loved the surprises and twists she threw into the story, I loved Lea's growing relationship with Les, and I was sad to leave the world as the story ended.