Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1) by Robin LaFevers
Young Adult Historical fantasy
Hardcover, 564 pgs.
Expected publication: April 3rd, 2012 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Source: Gift (ARC)
Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?I wanted to read this book ever since I read the description. It absolutely sounded amazing! So I went in with high expectations (usually not such a good thing) but this book met those expectations! It was such an amazing book for me!
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?
The book starts out steady and keeps that steady pace through the entire thing. I was concerned that the first half would be Ismae being brought to the convent and her training, but the author cut the three years of her training out and provided us with just the important information. Which meant that we got to the meat of the story almost straight away. I thought it was done perfectly!
I really liked Ismae and the strength she showed. She could kill without overmuch thought and trusted she was doing the right thing. While later in the book issues arise that make her second think the way things are done, she's always firm in her beliefs and finds her way with an amazing strength.
I wasn't sure if there would be romance in this book so I was surprised at how amazing it was! It was easy to see where things would go as they argued and fought about things, the spark between them was clear from the start. But they had to go through a lot and Ismae had to find herself truly trusting him before it went anywhere. So there's no instant romance here. It was drawn out and played out exactly how I like! And while Ismae fought the attraction I never felt truly frustrated with her like I sometimes do when characters fight the spark.
I loved the way the story played out. I never felt confused even though there were quite a few nobles to keep track of. The court intrigue was fun and kept me riveted. The entire book was easy for me to keep reading, I truly didn't want to put it down! And the way the historical aspects blended with the fantasy elements was perfect! I wasn't real aware of how and what the fantasy would be like but it's subtle though important at the same time. Ismae is Death's daughter and I just figured that she wasn't really, that she just was called that cause she should have died in her mothers womb. But she is. And she's called to deliver Deaths vengeance on those that are traitors to the crown. And she knows who these traitors are because they bear Mortrain's mark which is like a smear on their body where they are to be delivered the death blow (or poison, etc). There's also a seer that sees how it is and will be, etc. It may sound a little weird, I don't explain it well, but it works great and it feels real, it was believable to me with how it all blended together.
It's been a few days since I finished the book and I'm not very good at voicing my thoughts when I wait more then a day. Especially since I've read three books since then. But I loved this book and it's definitely a series I'll have on my to-keep shelf. I very highly recommend it! I do have to point out that there are some more mature themes and I recommend it for a more mature audience.