Source: Review copy given to me by the author
Let it just be said that I read this book in under 24 hours.
This book is most definitely romance. That being said, it is most definitely also a thriller.
I’m not a big fan of romance books. I never have been, and probably never will be. I mean, I have basically skipped over every romance scene in every book I have ever read. And yet Pema managed to get me to stay up until 2 AM finishing this book. Now, my friends, that is good writing.
Strong female characters! Whenever I read books, I feel like the romance eats up the book and makes the female character weak. This book was romance, but I actually liked how the plot was cleverly structured around it. Plus, Jane Lu is an assassin ninja, AND the book starts with her dumping her boyfriend when he isn’t supportive of what she wants to do with her life. So strong female characters are in great supply.
That being said, there were times when I felt like the romance did make her weak. And I didn’t like that, but there are many more Jane-Lu-The-Ninja-Assassin moments than Jane-Lu-The-Weepy-Girl moments.
Which leads me to Jane’s friends. I loved Lucy; she’s so sweet and just wants the best for everyone, and she’s also naïve. But because of that I often felt she was a weaker character, and she was a really sharp parallel to Jane. But even for all her weak girlishness, she really is such a sweet character you can’t help but like her. And Emma… I don’t even know where to start. She was supposed to be Jane’s best friend, but we don’t see any of that, other than one scene that lasts all of three seconds. Emma backstabs Jane a lot, and adds this whole high-school-teen-drama to the novel that I just didn’t like.
And Adrian… well, I didn’t like him much (in the beginning). But I started to like him more and more as the book went on. For example, his reaction when Jane returns from the CIA is amazing; it’s one of the few times during which I got the sense that he really cares about her. And I liked him at the book’s end. It just took a while to warm up to him. His psychology was really interesting, though, especially as the conflict went on, so I would have loved to see a companion book or sequel from his point of view.
And then we have Tristan.
I was really hoping the book wouldn’t have a love triangle in it, but it ended up having one anyways. Tristan is a CIA agent, who is assigned to stay near Jane in CO headquarters. But he ends up liking her. I really did enjoy reading about Tristan in the beginning, but as the book progressed, I began to like him less and less. He ends up sort of fading out halfway through, and it makes me wonder what purpose he served, other than being part of the love triangle. He did have an awesome backstory, but I think that he could have done so much more than what he did. Although it just might be me, because most of the reviewers on Goodreads love him.
Overall, the suspense and plot of this book was awesome. It’s on-the-edge-of-your-seat-glued-to-every-word sort of novel. And although I didn’t like the love triangle or the romance much, it probably just wasn’t my type of story. This book did leave me thinking about the morals of good and bad, which is always awesome. And strong female characters are always good.
3/5 Wagging Tails
The Innocent Assassins was written by Pema Donyo, a rising sophomore at Claremont McKenna College in Southern California. Her new historical romance book, One Last Letter, was published by Crimson Romance earlier this year.