Sunday, September 2, 2012

Review: Grave Mercy

Title: Grave Mercy
Author: Robin LaFevers
Series: His Fair Assassin #1
Version: Hardcover
Published: 2012 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Obtained: Bought

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 Sentence:
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.

This book is intimidating. I don’t know about you, but when I saw the page count (549 pg) and tried to understand the complex summary, I felt like giving up right there. Boy, am I happy I didn’t. I LOVE THIS BOOK.

Ismae is rescued from an abusive husband/life and brought to the convent of St. Mortain, the god of Death. There she learns to fight and kill and destroy men. As she is sent on assignments, she learns different things about the convent and who she is.

First off, I adored Ismae. I loved the feminism she possessed. While she was all “women are powerful,” she didn’t think men were inherently horrible. I mean, she had to get over the evil men from earlier in her life, but she soon understood that not all men were like those. Some men can love you for who you are and not hurt you. It wasn’t the feminism of Graceling by Kristen Cashore, where the powerful heroine doesn’t want to tie herself to any man. This was a true embrace of feminine power without down-grading men, aside from showing their weaknesses when it comes to beautiful women.

Ismae was a force of nature. Most epic, amazing, frightening assassin ever. She knew her job as an assassin and she wasn’t going to let anyone get in the way of her “calling.” However, as her big assignment progressed, she realized that maybe the convent wasn’t as perfect as she thought and maybe her “calling” was different.

Gavriel Duval, by the way, is like, the greatest guy ever. Their romance, which happens at the most perfect speed, is real. I knew where the emotions they felt towards each other stemmed from and understood what it would take to get past their differences and hang-ups.

The sequels to this book will be about Ismae’s two “sisters,” Annith and Sybella. I cannot wait to read about them, as they are introduced as such potentially complex and fascinating characters. The court intrigue did get a bit confusing and I was lost amidst the millions of names and evil plots. Also, one moment had me completely heartbroken for Anne. I felt despair and hopeless during that moment and had no clue how things could get better. Thankfully that wasn’t the ending. :)

I wait with eager anticipation for the two sequels to this fantastic book. I love the length, the world, the writing, etc.

Content Warning: Kissing, blunt talk of seduction, affairs, mistresses, etc., implied sex.

5 Pigs

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