Review of the amazing Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

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?

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 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!

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.  

5/5 stars!

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  1. Ohhh soo exciting!!!!!! I really want to read it, the premise sounds amazing and seeing you so full of praise definitely makes me want to read it even more! I’m happy there is some romance in the book, I always love to have a little romantic addition!

  2. Yay for no instant love and for a book living up to your high expectations! I love when that happens because it usually doesn’t happen all that often. I definitely need to pick this book up, thanks Candace!

  3. OH YES!! I loved this book! I was a bit surprised by the romance just because my first impression of Duval was that he was older but I was wrong and I love how it evolved. A great premise and fantastic story. I’m curious to know how much was “real” and how much imagined. (I don’t know my history of that area all that well!)

  4. I really liked this one as well. The romance was not instant and I really liked that fact. I felt the romance was a little boring at some points because it didn’t really happen until the end of the 500+ page novel. I really did like the look into the courts and that the time period was that far back. So often with teen historical they go back to WWII time instead of to when courts ruled kingdoms.

    I’m glad you really enjoyed this one and I agree it is a little hard to explain the fantasy element but it was needed for the book to give it that special touch.

    Can’t wait for book two :)

    Thanks for the great review

  5. Eeep so excited to read this one! I have to get through some other review books first but GAH it’s killing me! I love the premise and there’s actually a great romance! Awesome review Candace!!

  6. I am so ordering this book. And I’m so glad your high expectations were realized! Every review I read of this books just gets better and better. I loved this review Candace. Really. And yes to characters who don’t fight the SPARK!:)

  7. No insta-love?! Yay! I love unexpected romances. And the one here sounds great because of the slow build.

    I’ll admit that I wasn’t really interested this book before because it’s historical fiction, but you’ve changed my mind.

  8. Ohhh, I’m so glad it seems to be meaning the expectations! I’m getting even more curious about it, the more I see people loving it! And amazing romance, with no insta-love? Woop! So glad you loved it so much! I’m gonna have to take a closer look, that’s for sure. Great review!

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