Big Book,  YA

Sister Assassin

Kiersten White
sister assassinShe never chose her deadly gift but now she’s forced to use it. How far would you go to protect the only family you have left?
Annie is beset by fleeting strange visions and a guilty conscience. Blind and orphaned, she struggles to care for her feisty younger sister Fia, but things look up when both sisters are offered a place at Kessler School for Exceptional Girls.
Born with flawless intuition, Fia immediately knows that something’s wrong, but bites her tongue… until it’s too late. For Fia is the perfect weapon to carry out criminal plans and there are those at Kessler who will do anything to ensure her co-operation.
With Annie trapped in Kessler’s sinister clutches, instincts keep Fia from killing an innocent guy and everything unravels. Is manipulative James the key to the sisters’ freedom or an even darker prison? And how can Fia atone for the blood on her hands?

Well I’ve got to give to give it to Kiersten White, Sister Assassin is a fast paced, rollercoaster of a supernatural book and what’s more it’s actually original! Annie and Fia are sisters, when their parents die they are sent to live with an Aunt that doesn’t really want them. Hearing that Annie has visions of the future the Kessler School offers Annie a place, originally there was no place for Fia, until the school works out that Fia has perfect instincts and as such can be more valuable than Annie could ever have been.
Sister Assassin is a very, very easy read. It’s one of those books that draws you in and before you know it hours have passed and you are staring at the last page. Told from the point of view of both Fia and Annie and jumping around on the timeline did leave a little confused occasionally. It is however made very clear who is speaking and when at the beginning of chapters, I’m terrible for not reading these though so any confusion is probably my fault. That the story didn’t follow a chronological timeline did mean that the tension was racketed up a notch. It meant that you found out crucial details slowly, some surprising, some not. But it really added to the need to keep on reading. Also in some ways it kind of makes sense to do it this way when one of the main characters can see into the future anyway. On the whole Fia and Annie voices were different enough that it meant it was easy to tell between the two.
The characterization in this book was fantastic. All of the characters were flawed and had aspects of their personality that were utterly unlikeable, but they also had redeemable features. My favourite was Fia, strong but undeniably broken. Committing unimaginable acts in order to protect her sister, I couldn’t help but like her. I also quite liked James, who is supposed to be a fairly dark character. But then that was one thing that I liked about the book, that characters could be dark and do horrible things but somehow be one of the good guys. For me this reflects the complexities of life and those various shades of grey that lie between good and evil.
One very strong theme throughout the book is the lengths that people will go to to protect the people that they love. This is seen mainly in the case of Fia and Annie where both are prepared to sacrifice a lot for the other. You do also see it in a number of minor characters as well. In fact it is in this willingness to protect that we see the redeemable features of some of the characters.
This book very much sets up a series, but is fairly unusual in that it reaches a good enough conclusion to be read as a standalone book. This was a big plus point for me. I love reading series, but get frustrated with cliffhangers and having to wait. This was a happy medium.
Verdict: Original and fast paced. A sure fire winner.
Reviewed by Alison

Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s
Publication Date: February 2013
Format: Paperback
Pages: 302
Genre: Paranormal, Mystery
Age: YA
Reviewer: Alison
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: None

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