Thursday, June 28, 2012

Review: Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1)
By Robin LaFevers
Houghton Mifflin

To Sum It Up: Ismae Rienne has been feared and hated since she was first conceived. It is common knowledge to anyone who catches sight of the nasty red scar running all the way from her shoulder down to her hip that Ismae's true father is Saint Mortain, one of the old gods and Death himself. Ismae seeks refuge in the convent of St. Mortain when, in an attempt to rid himself of his cursed stepdaughter, Ismae's spiteful stepfather forces her into an abusive arranged marriage. At the convent, the sisters keep the faith of the old gods and serve Death in every way they can. The sisters offer to train Ismae to be a handmaiden of Death. When Ismae's first mission takes her into the heart of the high court of Brittany, Ismae's devotion to both her father and the convent will be tested. Mixing a beautiful assassin into a treacherous court filled with the ever scheming royalty and the intriguing Gavriel Duval can only lead to disaster or redemption.

Review: When I first heard about Grave Mercy, my initial reaction was pure enthusiasm. I'm totally into the whole assassin sort of thing; I have been since I first read about Valek in Maria V. Snyder’s Poison Study! ^-^ Not only was Grave Mercy going to be featuring a young, kick-arse female assassin, but it was going to have a little dose of historical fiction mixed in, too. I just knew that Robin LaFevers could do no wrong, and I was pretty confident that I was going to love this book. And I wasn't wrong!

Grave Mercy was beautifully written. There was never a dull moment or awkward, boring gaps in the story. Everything seemed to flow perfectly for me. Too perfectly, actually! Whenever I'm reading a book, I always like to leave off at the start of another chapter or at a calm point in the story. With Grave Mercy, I literally could not put the book down! I couldn't find a safe point in the story to stop reading for the night. But, enough about my sleepless nights, let’s get to the good stuff: the plot and characters! :D

Ismae was so cool! She didn't take crap from anyone! I also thought that her life story was really interesting; sad, but interesting. Ismae hates men, and when I say, “hates,” I mean hates. Her feelings toward males are due to the abuse she took from her stepfather and almost-husband. One of the main reasons for Ismae joining the convent of Saint Mortain was that Ismae wanted to learn how to kill men. So when she meets Gavriel, things get interesting! I loved their dialogue, and I loved the slow, so very slow, development of their relationship. I was a little worried about meeting Gavriel. All I could think was that since Ismae was so kick-arse, she was going to be the man in the relationship, leaving Gavriel with the damsel in distress role. But that wasn't the case! Gavriel was just as cool! He definitely held his own, and despite Ismae's distrust of him (because he was a guy!) I genuinely liked him and fell for him pretty quickly!

The other characters only added to my enjoyment of the book. I loved Gavriel's friends, especially Beast, and I really liked the nuns at the convent of St. Mortain. It is safe to say that this particular convent will be the only convent I will ever think about joining! I liked the idea of Death as a real person. And I thought it was cool that his daughters were running around as his personal vengeful assassins. Death's handmaidens only killed those treacherous to the crown of Brittany, and I found that weirdly justified and cool. The whole premise of trying to wheedle out the corrupted in the historical court of Brittany was very interesting. And I think I had just as much fun, if not more, as Ismae did when it came to finding the schemers!

In the end, Grave Mercy did not let me down. Not only was it beautifully written, but it was also a genuinely unique idea. The only thing that bothered me about Grave Mercy was how Ismae decided to place her trust in people. At times, her wary nature seemed a little extreme and inconsistent. Other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed Grave Mercy and am glad that I picked it up. It kept me up late at night reading, and I haven't been that immersed in a book in a while. For that, I thank you, Grave Mercy!

All in All: Grave Mercy was a kick-arse book filled with kick-arse characters, a kick-arse setting, and an all around kick-arse plot! I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to the continuation of the series!


  1. Great review! I want to read this book too. :)

    1. Yup, it really was a great book, I highly recommend it!

  2. I have this book, and I'm very anxious to start on it. Joining a convent just to kill men is as good a reason as any to join one. The entire book sounds interesting, and thanks for encouraging me to start on it soon with your review!

    Sophie @ The Dreaming Reader

    1. Awww, I'm glad that my review encouraged you to read it, that means a lot to me! Grave Mercy was a pretty good book and, like I said before, the only convent I will ever join is St. Mortain's!


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