Review: The Innocent Assassins by Pema Donyo


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!

2 thoughts on “Review: The Innocent Assassins by Pema Donyo

  1. 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! :]


    1. 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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