Monday, April 29, 2013

Grave Mercy - Review

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, # 1)

By: Robin LaFevers

Published: April 3rd 2012 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

549 pages

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Historical Fiction

Source: Borrowed from my local library

( Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository )

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?

You guys? Why didn't someone tell me to read this book sooner??? Seriously!

So Grave Mercy was one of the first ebooks I borrowed from my library, but I waited too long to start reading it and only got about 50% finished before the library snatched it back from me. Luckily there was only 1 person ahead of me to re-check it out. And so I finally got it finished. Love borrowing the ebooks from my library. This is a new service from my local library so I'm totally stoked. Especially since the ebooks available are better than the hard copies my local library has in stock.

Now about the book. I totally loved Ismae in this book. She's a strong woman who though she's been wronged by plenty of men in her past keeps trucking on and doesn't completely turn herself off to the male gender. She's turned over to a convent that serves the god of Death. And there she learns the careful art of assassinry. (Yes, I just made up that word.) Though still a novice who hasn't taken her vows, Ismae is assigned the important task of finding out if the half brother of the Duchess is a spy for the French, and if not, then who is. Despite everything that Ismae's been through, she doesn't consider herself a victim. She's a strong, heroine who can take care of herself. This is the kind of female lead I like to read about.

Duval...well what's not to love? Robin LaFevers doesn't spend pages upon pages describing how attractive Ismae finds Duval which I actually love. She does find him attractive and there's a moment when she sees him without a shirt that she spends a moment admiring what her eyes find before her, but it's his character that she falls for. It's how he treats his sister, how serious he takes his responsibility to protect her, how respected he is by his friends. All of that and her own experiences with him lend to why he's a swoon worthy character.

The plot was great. I mean I figured out the main traitor pretty early, but what I couldn't figure out was the motivations behind the traitor's behavior. Therefore, I had enough questions to keep me going and prevented me from feeling like the story line was too predictable.

Grave Mercy isn't a book you read if you're just looking for make out scenes, but Grave Mercy is one of those books that makes me appreciate the genre and all that it's capable of being. Grave Mercy is one of the YA redeeming books for me. And so I can't help but give Grave Mercy 4.5 stars. Definitely looking forward to Sybella's story, Dark Triumph, published this year.

Have you read Grave Mercy? If so, what did you think? Let me know!


  1. As soon as I heard "assassin nuns" I was sold. I loved this book and recently picked up Dark Triumph, which I can't wait to read! I agree that Ismae is a great character.

    Samantha @ Reading-AndCoffee

  2. Haha!!! Exactly! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  3. Well, regardless, you've read it now, right? And you seem to have loved it, so I'm telling you now, you MUST pick up the sequel...I liked it as much -- if not more -- than GM. Great review!

  4. Yes, I need to get my hands on the sequel ASAP. Thanks so much Jen!

  5. Good review, Sandy. You've made me want to read the book even more.