Title: Assassin's Heart
Author: Monica Burns
Page Count: 384 pages
Genre: paranormal romance, historical fiction
Copy for review provided by the author in exchange for an honest review
Read the first four chapters here
50 words or less: Lysander Condellarie was horribly disfigured and emotionally scarred after being tortured by the Praetorians, including his father. Now he's torn between pursuing Phaedra DeLuca, a gifted healer who could find out the secret that might destroy him, and pushing her away. Luckily, Phaedra has a mind of her own on the subject.
After I read and enjoyed the first book in this series, Assassin's Honor, I was beyond stoked to learn that I had the opportunity to review the second book in the series as well! Assassin's Heart combines everything I liked about the first book with even more rich character development, vivid historical flashbacks, a ton of detail in the worldbuilding, and now leaves me anxious to read the next installment when it's available.
If I had to compare Lysander and Phaedra to another couple from the world of paranormal romance, it would be to Bella and Zsadist. Yeah, I went there! The dynamics of overcoming past trauma and of committing to a new future are both huge parts of the development of this story and to the relationship between the main characters. I definitely did not always agree with either Lysander or Phaedra's actions all the time, but the rationale for those actions was clear, which is something that I definitely appreciate.
The present-day events of the store are told with interspersing sections that took place in the Roman empire. Through these dream sequences, which both Phaedra and Lysander have and apparently have been having for as long as they can remember, we learn a lot about the history of the Sicari order, the nature of the conflict between the Sicari and the Praetorians, the mythology surrounding the magical artifacts that cause so much drama for the characters, and a bunch about Phaedra and Lysander. I wish I could say more but that would be telling- all I'll say is some of those dream sequences are SPICY. Wowza!
Lysander and Phaedra definitely do not have an easy time of it, and their interactions end in tears or fighting as often as they end happily or with boudoir fireworks. The ending was HEARTWRENCHING. It was definitely Kleenex time here at the WBiT hacienda. It all made for a sweet resolution that felt believable and real, and those are my favorite kinds of endings.
There are regular appearances by many secondary characters in this installment and they all get more face time and development, which resolves my qualm from the last book really efficiently. The next story belongs to Cleo and Dante (I don't know if I know him!) and is definitely on my to-read list.
Overall Grade: A-
Blog with Bite rating: 4/4