Review: The Innocent Assassins by Pema Donyo

December 8, 2014 4 Stars, Reviews 2

Title: The Innocent Assassins
Author: Pema Donyo
Genre: Young Adult, Action, Romance
Published On: June 24th 2014
Publisher: Astraea Press
Pages: 344 (according to Goodreads)
Format: e-Book
Source: Author - in exchange for an honest review.
My Rating: 4 Stars

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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.


I was fully intrigued by the idea of teenage assassins, especially in such an organized setting that could easy be compared to a boarding school/workplace. It added an idea of institutionalized murder, which is equally intriguing as it is horrifying.

Jane works for Covert Operatives, an organization that ‘rescues’ orphans off the street and gives them a home… the catch? They are trained as professional assassins carrying out the dirty work for greedy people across the world. Except, Lucy isn’t as attached to the organization as some of her friends and agrees to be a spy for the CIA after being captured during a mission gone wrong.

I loved the entire concept of The Innocent Assassins, but some aspects boggled me a bit. Like the fact that most of the children and teens in CO didn’t seem to question the… morality of the jobs. The killing part seemed to come easy, and while I understand that they were trained to be that way, I guess I just have an optimistic view of human nature and hope that if I or other children in that position would be more against the idea.


I adored Jane. She was powerful, intelligent, and totally badass. However, her interactions with some other characters weren’t as appealing to me. First of all, I wasn’t a fan of her on-off relationship with Adrian. Adrian didn’t seem good for her and I didn’t always buy their romance, but towards the end the dynamics of the relationship became more clear and I grew to like them together…

BUT for the entire first half of the book, after Tristan was introduced, I wanted him to end up  with Jane. Even though after a while it was weird because it seemed like Tristan was more immature than Jane, even though he was older.

Also, at times Tristan and Emma seemed like props used to push things forward instead of having actual roles in the story. Emma was always trying to get between Jane and Adrian and it felt abrupt and without reasoning.

Although I wasn’t a huge fan of the characterization (aside from Jane), I did like the fact that despite the teens being forced into mature roles and  put in the position of being assassins, they still seemed like teens. They joked, they dated, the had high school like drama, which made it more it more realistic for me.


The concept is amazing, the protagonist is strong and lovable, and although the characters are, in my opinion, somewhat iffy, the romance between Adrian and Jane is sweet and heartwarming.

If you like YA action, romance, and assassins, you should definitely check out this book!


About Jessica

Jessica is an twenty year old blogger who lives in Michigan. She's currently a junior in college. She's a full-time student and part-time employee. She loves to read young adult fiction, especially contemporary, romance, and dystopian. Feel free to drop by and say hi by leaving a comment on one of her blog posts- she'll be sure to reply!

2 Responses to “Review: The Innocent Assassins by Pema Donyo”

  1. Catherine

    Lovely review Jessica! :] Wow, that does sound like quite a freaky concept, teenage assassins. But, I can easily see that happening, in the same way many countries have created child soldiers. I’m not sure about the CIA element, as I often shy away from books with that in it. But, you’ve made this book sound so intriguing that I think I will have to put it on my tbr list! :]

    • Jessica

      Thank you! I hope you enjoy it if you read it! The CIA element worked well I think, although I know little about it so I can’t say if it was accurate, but it was realistic at the very least. Thanks for commenting! 🙂

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