Review: 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.

PUBLISHER: Astraea Press

PAGES: 283


I was given this book by the author and, as always, that does not affect my overall opinions of the book.


PG-13: Violence (it’s about underage assassins ahaha come on), some mentions of sex (implied sex? idk), lots of kissing


When I read this novel’s premise, I was instantly intrigued. Kids close to my age entrusted to carry out assassinations of high-paying clients? I can’t say that I’ve read a book that shares a plot line like that before. I was even more excited when I found out that the author is only nineteen! That gives me hope for my future writing career. From the first page, I was hooked. Jane comes across as an independent, strong young woman who knows what she wants and desires from life in the beginning of the novel. While I don’t know if that carried across throughout the novel, I liked the way that her character was introduced. She’s carrying out a secret relationship with a mega attractive agent, Adrian King, and she’s thought of highly in the world of Covert Operatives (otherwise known as CO). Pema Donyo definitely holds a lot of promise as a writer and her writing style flowed well and kept me captivated throughout the novel. There were also plenty of plot twists and turns that kept me guessing! I found Jane Lu and her life as a double agent really interesting. Plus, I loved Jane’s sassy narration.


I mainly had problems with the characters of this novel. While Jane seemed to be intended to be a super strong, independent character, I was a bit disappointed with her. Yes, she is infatuated with Adrian King, hottie extraordinaire (and who wouldn’t be, honestly?). But, I was confused when she’d say one thing and completely change her mind a few pages later when Adrian walked in. And then, she’d insist that she could survive without him. I don’t quite know about that…? Also, the ending seemed a bit rushed. I wish that Adrian and Jane had solved some of their problems before the end of this novel. Maybe there’s a sequel? Hmmm… There are also some typos in this novel involving character names that could easily be changed in a second edit (this didn’t detract from my overall enjoyment of the novel).


I love General Ghost’s sound and I feel like the tempo and the lyrics (even the song’s title!) work really well with what Jane finds herself going through with CO.


Overall, I’d give this one 4/5 hearts! It was an enjoyable, fun, and memorable read. While some of the characters didn’t quite pan out for me, I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a gripping and suspenseful read.


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