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?
** This book was provided to us by the author for an honest review.
We were in no way paid for our opinion **
What did I not love about this book? Nothing! It was everything I hoped it would be and more. The world that Robin LaFevers has created is one that I found myself easily lost in, and could not wait to continue. One of the reasons I was hesitating in reading the book was the influence of historical fiction. But to my surprise, although the era described in the book is historical fiction, the actual story and premise of the story supersedes that fact, and replaces it with a story that is truly full of mystery, deception, and love.
All of the characters in Grave Mercy are ones that are not easily forgotten. They are all given so much individual personality and charm that there is no way that one could not fall in love with Ismae, Duval, Anne, Beast, Sybella, or any other character. The character building found in the pages of this book was so fantastic! Although there are quite a few characters involved in the telling of this story, the way in which LaFevers presents them is done in such a way that it doesn’t bombard the reader, but rather allowing them to find a place in our hearts.
One of the aspects that I loved reading about was the changes in Ismae that the reader is able to witness as the story progresses; where we are first shown a scared, meek, hopeless Ismae who then progresses to a cold killer with a thirst for death, to a woman in love and seeking acceptance. What else was so great about this story? No insta-love! We are treated to watch this love story unfold…where I found myself giggling, and awwwing at various parts throughout the book. I love reading a story where we get to grow with the characters, and watch them progressively fall for each other. *sigh*
What I did love about Grave Mercy was how we are not told the identity of the traitor until well near the end of the book. I found myself guessing and second guessing who this person was, and gahh’d at myself for not realizing who the traitor was, when the clues were so obvious…after the fact.
How would I describe the book, and the next installment(s) to come? After seeing that the second book, His Fair Assasin: Dark Triumph is due out in Spring 2013, I was reminded of JR Ward’s series The Black Dagger Brotherhood, but written for Young Adults, and with female protagonists, rather than males. The main idea being that even though these women grow up in a life of servitude and death, it is the men that grace their lives that will change them from heartless Handmaiden’s of Death to the woman that is hidden deep inside waiting to be freed. Sounds pretty familiar, don’t it?