Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

April 15, 2015 Reviews 11

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 LaFeversGrave 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
Pages: 560
Length: 14 hours 14 minutes
Format: eBook
Source: Library, Publisher

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?

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.

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!

4 stars Pretty Great

Follow on Bloglovin

About Robin LaFevers

Robin LaFevers was raised on a steady diet of fairy tales, Bulfinch’s mythology, and 19th century poetry. It is not surprising she grew up to be a hopeless romantic.

Though she has never trained as an assassin or joined a convent, she did attend Catholic school for three years, which instilled in her a deep fascination with sacred rituals and the concept of the Divine. She has been on a search for answers to life’s mysteries ever since.

While many of those answers still elude her, she was lucky enough to find her one true love, and is living happily ever after with him in the foothills of southern California.

In addition to writing about teen assassin nuns in medieval Brittany, she writes books for middle grade readers, including the Theodosia books and the Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist series. You can learn more about those books at


Photo of Berls
About Berls
Berls has been a book lover her whole life. She reads pretty much every genre and is currently working hard at making her childhood dream of becoming an author come true. She loves sharing her thoughts about books, blogging, and just random fun stuff. She's a challenge and read-a-thon junkie, so it's no wonder that she loves co-hosting the COYER reading challenge. Leave a comment, Berls is always happy to chat!

11 Responses to “Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers”

  1. Liza Barrett

    Haha, this is one we will have to, by and large, disagree on. While I did really enjoy the historical elements (not a particular setting that I know very well, but I got curious enough to do a bit of research while I was reading), I struggled with most of the rest of this book. I just didn’t really like the characters all that much, and I struggled with the believability aspect. :/ I’m glad you really enjoyed it though!

    Here’s my review, if you’re interested: Grave Mercy @ Classy Cat Books
    Liza Barrett recently posted…Random Ramblings: Book Title Word CloudMy Profile

  2. Heidi

    I am glad to see you finally giving this a go. It took me a long time to give in and read this series and I finally did it on audio. It was fantastic on audio. I think the second book is the best of the three. I hope you love it as much as I did.
    Heidi recently posted…Review: The Liar by Nora RobertsMy Profile

  3. Lexxie

    I’m so happy you enjoyed Grave Mercy, Berls! The female power is amazing in this series, and I love that these innocent-looking ladies are assassins! And that they are able to use any means necessary to get what the need to make sure their object is completed 🙂
    Great review, my dear!
    Lexxie recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday #41 – Shards of HopeMy Profile

  4. Bookworm Brandee

    Yay for girl power!! 😉 I’ve had this book on my shelf since it first came through the doors of my bookstore…as an ARC! Gah! That’s a terribly long time. And it’s one I was so excited about. You’ve reignited my interest though. So I think I’ll get it on my schedule soon. Great review, Berls!
    Bookworm Brandee recently posted…Review ~ Meet Me In The Dark ~ JA HussMy Profile

  5. Ramona

    Everybody loves Robin LaFevers! I don’t think I’ve read her – shame on me – but she’s one of the authors I’m planning to discover this summer. Lengthy books can be frustrating, but if the characters were so good… Can’t wait to try her out myself! Happy Wednesday, ducks 🙂
    Ramona recently posted…Amazon HarperCollins ClashMy Profile

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge

This blog uses premium CommentLuv which allows you to put your keywords with your name if you have had 0 approved comments. Use your real name and then @ your keywords (maximum of 9)