By: Sarah Ahiers
Published: February 2, 2016 by HarperTeen
Source: Edelweiss ARC from publisher
(Goodreads / Amazon)
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.MY REVIEW:
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.
With shades of The Godfather and Romeo and Juliet, this richly imagined fantasy from debut author Sarah Ahiers is a story of love, lies, and the ultimate vengeance.
I found this debut YA Fantasy to be exciting, touching, and action packed. At first I thought the relationship between Lea and Val, who are a part of opposing Family's (think mob-style), wasn't explored enough. The reader is just told about their secret romantic relationship. But by the end of the story I changed my mind on my feelings of that because there is much, much more to what the story is really focusing on. The betrayal of someone Lea thinks she loved is an early on aspect that leads to her quest for vengeance.
As the summary states, there are nine rival Families who are all skilled assassin's, called clippers, and each Family based on their power and wealth are numbered in order of rank. Lea's Family, the Saldana's are currently at the top. That puts a large target on them as other Family's want that top dog spot.
The common people pay the various Family's to assassinate but this isn't a crime. Their kingdom all serve the god Safraella, and as such, when someone is killed by a clipper and a gold coin with the face of Safraella is placed in their mouth She will then resurrect that person to a new life. It's almost as if there is honor in dying by the hands of a clipper. For those who die without this coin, those will become angry ghosts, which wander the dead plains seeking bodies of mortals.
There are so many interesting aspects to this story and the world that is created. But the ultimate point of the story definitely comes when the Saldana Family is murdered, save for Lea. Realizing she misplaced her trust in the wrong person and how her actions caused their deaths, she seeks help and safety from a country other than her own. It's here she meets Alessio.
I don't want to give away more than this, but I encourage you to read it if you enjoy YA Fantay stories that deal with betrayal and vengeance, and a touch of romance. The ending doesn't exactly end in a cliffhanger, so I'm curious where next the story will go. As for book one for this series, I thought it was well done.
"You are a flame and he is a moth, drawn to you, unaware if he gets too close you will burn him up."
"Revenge will not bring you peace. Revenge will not bring your Family back."
"Because I'll give whatever you want. I would give my life if you asked it of me."
"And I also believe that family is what you make of it."
Jewelry and dresses, and feathered masks were beautiful things, but so were good food and sleep, family and friends, love and letting go.
Language Rating: 2 (medium)
Mature Content Rating: 1 (light)
Final Rating: 4 stars