Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Innocent Assassins

The Innocent Assassins by Pema Donyo

There are three rules to staying an assassin at the corporation of Covert Operatives: (1) your parents must be deceased, (2) your contracts must remain confidential, and (3) you must be under the age of eighteen. 

After a murder mission goes awry a month before her eighteenth birthday, Covert Operatives assassin Jane Lu finds herself caught by the federal government and forced to spy for the CIA while remaining in Covert Operatives. Once her spying mission is over she will be allowed to live a civilian life without facing criminal consequences, a life she’s only dreamed of having. 

As Jane leaks information to the CIA, she uncovers secrets with enough power to both destroy Covert Operatives and her own boyfriend, Adrian King, who’s next in line to be CEO of the company. When her identity as a double agent for the CIA is discovered within Covert Operatives, she must decide where her allegiance, and her heart, truly lies. 


3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Concept, Lacking CharacterizationFebruary 10, 2015
This review is from: The Innocent Assassins (Kindle Edition)
**Reviewed for EBooks Galore**

Innocent Assassins follows young adult Jane Yu as she graduates from Covert Operatives, a secret society that uses children to "close contracts." Jane knows she doesn't want to stay with the company once she ages out, despite being in a relationship with Adrian King, fellow assassin and (perhaps) her new boss. On one of her last missions, something goes wrong and Jane gets captured. The price for her freedom? Betraying the only family she's ever known.

I wanted to like this book. It has a great premise and the language and narrative are both strong. Until the very end of the book, I did not know how the end would shake out - I was in fact worried that the author may have to kill off the heroine or her love interest. For a book to keep me guessing that long is pretty rare.

What kept me from loving this book was the characterization. Jane is very wishy-washy in her emotions; one moment she loves Adrian and wants him with her forever, the next she's dumping him (again). She also flips her allegiance with lightning speed, given that CO is all she's ever known. Adrian himself is nearly impossible to read, and while his behavior (until the end) was more consistent, he was still really hard to peg. At the end, he acts comPLETELY out of character. I won't post spoilers but I felt very cheated by the ending.

The secondary characters were about as befuddling as Jane and Adrian. They behave erratically, doing rash, selfish things and then going back on it a minute later. In once scene a character starts with, "I'm not asking for forgiveness" and then as he walks away says, "please forgive me." It's hard to keep up with.

I do think this author has potential. There were very few typos or errors (Lucy refers to her boyfriend as Tristan when the correct name is Dave, small things like that), and the plot was intricate. Once the author really learns her characters (and how best to show them to us), her stories will only improve.
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