Author: Robin LaFevers
Series: His Fair Assassin #1
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Release Date: April 3, 2012
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
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 be willing to take the lives of others.
Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany, where she must pose ass mistress to the darkly mysterious Gavriel Duval, who has fallen under a cloud of suspicion. Once there, she finds herself woefully underprepared – not only for the deadly games of love and intrigue, 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.
When I first heard that there was a book about “assassin nuns,” my first words were WHERE WHEN HOW WHERE?! I mean, before Grave Mercy, I would never, in a million years, think that assassin nuns could even exist. I want to applaud Robin LaFevers for being so creative with her idea – I mean, have you heard of assassin nuns before?! – and writing us a book about assasin nuns. I was really excited and a tad bit worried when I began Grave Mercy – my worries would be explained in the next paragraph – and in the end, I did enjoy reading Grave Mercy, but not as much as I hoped to. Perhaps my expectations was a bit too high as who can lower their expectations with a book about ASSASSIN NUNS?
Unable to stop myself, I smile.
I have avoided the fate my father had planned for me. Surely it is I who has won, not he. (6)
My fear going into Grave Mercy was that Grave Mercy would be super religious. I mean, since Grave Mercy is about assassin nuns, it makes sense that I would be worried about the religion aspect of the book right? Add the fact that I’m highly sensitive to any religious talk – if I didn’t sign up for huge amounts of it, I don’t want to hear it – and I was scared. However, to my surprise, even though Grave Mercy did contain religious talk about Ismae’s saint and the other eight saints that people in Brittany worship, the religious aspect of the book wasn’t preachy or in your face at all. Not once did I feel like the author was forcing the religion on me – she was merely informing me about it to help me enhance my reading of the book and to help me visualize the world.
The one downfall of Grave Mercy was a little bit after the one-third point of the book. From that point, Grave Mercy dramatically slowed down as there was much less action and much more politics. There was also more talk about the world of Brittany, much more character development, and chats how it wasn’t that easy to defeat their enemies. Grave Mercy did eventually pick up again towards the two-thirds point of the book and from then on, everything was a breeze to read. There were finally answers, more assassinating, and let’s not mention the bit of swooning I did in the last few pages.
“You are a spy, aren’t you?”
“Some might call me that, but it is not what I am.” 428
Overall, Grave Mercy was an enjoyable read with some long, slow parts. If you don’t mind trudging through some slow parts to get into the juicy meat of the story, then Grave Mercy is definitely the book for you. I, meanwhile, will definitely continue on with the series and check out the sequel, especially since people had loved that one the most. I have really high expectations for that one.