Friday, 6 April 2012

Book Review: Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Book:  Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1) by Robin LaFevers, April 3rd 2012 by Houghton Mifflin Harcour, 549 pages.

Synopsis from Goodreads:
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?

My Thoughts:
I have to admit, I was intrigued when I read the tag line for this book:  Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?  And then to see the book was about assassin nuns... well, I knew I had to see what this was about.  

The book has an explosive start and certainly captures the attention.  The setting is the late fourteen hundreds and there is huge amounts of political intrigue and rules about how people act at court.  It is a time when women don't have much power over their own lives and Ismae takes the only option available to her that would lead her from her traditional, expected life.  It is obvious the author has done a lot of research because the politics and backstabbing at court was so crazy and convoluted, it is nearly impossible to keep track of it.

For the most part, I really liked Ismae.  She had a certain realism to her.  She was tough and ready to take action, passionate in her beliefs.  But she was also conflicted and imperfect, which is something I love.  I also like how she grew in the book to make decisions for herself rather than always following orders.  However, I did find her a bit repetitive in some of her concerns.

The romance part of the book isn't bad, though it is pretty obvious.  I am happy that she got to stay strong and didn't have to give up who she was through the romance.  It is a big part of the book, but there are also so many other parts, which all add to the richness of the book - the mystery, adventure, history and the paranormal aspects.  I have to admit, I really liked the paranormal part and all of the parts about the god of Death.

Disclosure:  I received an egalley of this book for review from NetGalley.

Here is the book trailer from YouTube:

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