Upon Further Review is an original feature here at Somewhere Only We Know. I have always loved re-reading my favorite books, and I wanted a way to incorporate re-reading into my blog. Thus From the Ashes and Upon Further Review were born. From the Ashes is where I re-read a book that I have never reviewed before and finally review it. Upon Further Review is where I re-read a book that I've already reviewed and see if my original rating stands or not. This is also the time for me to discuss any new revelations that my latest re-read has brought to my attention.
Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, # 1)
By: Robin LaFevers
Published: April 3rd 2012 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Source: Free Audio Download from Sync Audiobooks
Goodreads description--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?
HERE’s my original review of Grave Mercy. I was originally drawn in by the cover of this book. A girl standing in front of a castle wall in a big dress and holding a crossbow. Um…yes please. Then to find out that we’ve got assassin nuns! Does it get much better than that? Yes, yes it can!
Ismae’s backstory took a little bit longer to set up this time through than I remember upon initially reading it. But since listening to this on audiobook, it didn’t take THAT long. Plus I knew what was coming. I knew that Ismae was still a novitiate when she was sent out on her first assignment, and even after that while being assigned to Duval. But I didn’t remember how much Duval gave her flack for being so “green” and unexperienced. He is outspoken about it on numerous occasions. But even still, Ismae proves her worth time and time again.
Speaking of Duval, I loved the banter that he and Ismae had at first. Neither trusts the other to begin with and it was really a slow building relationship and trust that only came from being proven with time and circumstance. I didn’t remember them being as combative at first. Theirs was an easy relationship to root for.
I discussed in my original review how much I loved the reasons why Duval and Ismae come to each other. It’s not just a physical attraction that they have. They’re both attracted to character and behavior just as much as physical attraction.
One particular bonus from listening to the audiobook was all of the French words got pronounced for me. I mean I struggled through reading them and kind of made up my own pronunciations, but it was nice to finally hear them correctly. Some of the words were so far off from what I was saying in my own head that it took me a minute to realize who (or where) the narrator was talking about.
I didn’t discuss this in my original review of Grave Mercy, but I did in Dark Triumph and Mortal Heart, but I absolutely love the symbolism used in this entire series—specifically the parts that pertain to Mortain. It was a nice way to add a religious flare to the books without feeling beat over the head with anything.
My original rating of 4.5 Stars still feels like a pretty good rating to me. I still love this series, and I can’t wait to re-read the other two. Have you re-read Grave Mercy? What did you think? Let me know!