I received this book for free from Library, Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
Series: His Fair Assassin #1
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on April 3, 2012
Genres: Fantasy, Historical, Romance, Young Adult
Length: 14 hours 14 minutes
Source: Library, Publisher
I have to admit, I was nervous about reading Grave Mercy because its setting is one that I know TOO well. As a medieval historian, I worried I’d get caught up in the historical details and miss out on the story. But I read a great review from Lexxie @ (Un)Conventional Book Views and decided to give it a try. It didn’t hurt that I was able to get it for free from Netgalley… though it did expire before I was finished, so the second half was a library grab.
Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?
Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.
Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?
As it turns out, I wasn’t at all distracted by historical details in Grave Mercy. For one, LaFevers did a really good job with historical elements. And, more importantly for me at least, the story was so good I couldn’t be bothered to care! I loved the mixing of political intrigue, religious power (which was oh SO appropriate for this time period!) and female power. Not to mention a decent, though secondary romance.
I loved the female power the most. The main character – Ismae – is a daughter of St. mortain (or God of Death) and as a sister in his convent, she acts in one of the only roles of legitimate power for women during this period and only as a disguise for her greater purpose… as an assassin! Hell yes!
I do have to say, bits of Grave Mercy dragged for me and – being a fairly lengthy novel – that was frustrating. But for the most part, I was glued to the story and characters. I look forward to more if this series – which, I believe, is complete. Even better!