An assassin nun sounded cool but when I heard the phrase “a handmaiden of death”, I got shivers. Love the phrase, the idea and the book!Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
Series: His Fair Assassin #1
on 3 Apr 2012
Genres: Historical Fiction, Paranormal, Young Adult
Buy on Amazon
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?
First Line of Grave Mercy:
“I bear a deep red stain that runs from my left shoulder down to my right hip, a trail left by the herbwitch’s poison that my mother used to try to expel me from her womb'”.
My Thoughts on Grave Mercy:
I loved it! So much. It’s a historical fiction/paranormal mash up and it works so well. The world is fascinating. I love the setting which is based on some historical facts but the author took liberties (which she explained at the end). It is set towards the end of the Middle Ages in a war torn Brittany and is full of politics, treason and back-stabbing which makes for an edge of your seat read.
Ismae is such a cool character. I love how paradoxical she is. She is pure of heart but will kill you in a moment if ordered to do so. Her father is Mortain who is the God of Death. I would have loved to have know more about him and what exactly happened between him and Ismae’s mother (hopefully in a future book!). Ismae loves the kill and loves to serve her God and I love how fierce she is. She isn’t any bit squeamish about her duty and is even blood thirsty about it at times.
” “Your choice, Either way, you will die”. My blood is singing in my veins, so happy am I to be doing my god’s work.”
As part of her work, she is sent to spy on the people surrounding the young Duchess. The convent sends her with the Duchess’s half brother Duval with strict instructions to spy and to report back any information she comes across. Duval is a strong, honourable character and it’s not hard to see what direction this book will take.
It is a bit predicable but every other aspect (the writing, the characters, the setting) is so well done that I can easily forgive that. I love Ismae’s growth in the book. She is smart and is so obviously a leader and not a follower that watching her start to question and doubt is really rewarding. As always, it is hard to watch a woman being used as a pawn but Ismae is well able to look after herself and is an inspiration in courage and discipline.
Overall a big thumbs up and I immediately purchased the next book in the series – Dark Triump. Can’t wait to get back into this murderous world!
|Did I feel it?|
Who should read Grave Mercy?
Highly recommended to fans of historical fiction. If you love the romance and mystery of the 15th century along then I think you’ll love this one too. The paranormal aspect lends a nice twist to the plot too.
Note : This book is currently only $1.99 on Amazon and it’s a steal at that price. I recommend you snap it up, if you haven’t already read it.