Monday 2 April 2012

Review: Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, #1) by Robin LaFevers

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?


The cover of Grave Mercy blew me away before the plot could and that's saying something because the premise is extremely intriguing! I loved the red dress and the backdrop and the words Why be the sheep when you can be the wolf? Why, indeed! In Grave Mercy, Ismae Rienne, the protagonist, is immune to poison. She bares a scar from the poison her mother used to try to get rid of her in the womb. She is married off by her abusive father to a man who recognises her scar as a mark of being the daughter of St. Mortain, the patron saint of Death, and flies into an angry and abusive rage.

Ismae soon finds herself in the convent of St. Mortain, where nuns are trained as assassins to serve the patron saint of Death. Her assignment takes her to the court of Brittany where she must stick to Gavriel Duval to protect Anne of Brittany and see if anything is amiss while doing the bidding of St. Mortain.

I didn't bother reading the blurb at the back, so I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that the story took place in the court of medieval Brittany! I love historical novels and I wasn't expecting this to be one! The court setting was great too. The way it was written made it easy to get sucked into that era. It was done with such ease that I could immediately focus on the other aspects of the book.

Also, Ismae was amazing. It was easy to root for her! She was someone who learned to mix poisons and fight like it was her second nature and yet was hopeless when it came to her feelings for Duval. She started off as so naive, I thought, Ohmygod! Why aren't you questioning anything? But she did when the time came. And I felt so proud of her when she had that moment of clarity when she saw things as they really were and knew what she wanted to do.

For while I am Death's daughter and walk in His dark shadow, surely the darkness can give way to light sometimes.

I could see how Duval could make anyone weak in their knees! He was so caring and considerate. His kindness felt so genuine. If I wasn't convinced that he was perfect for Ismae in the beginning, I definitely was when it became apparent that Duval had scars of his own.

As for the court drama and the suspense, I loved every second of the plotting and scheming! It was action-packed and there were a lot of surprises. After all, assassin nuns in medieval Brittany spells surprising! While I was a little muddled with the names in the beginning and wondered if there was an overdose of romance in the middle- by the time I reached the awesome climax, I was convinced that it was a balanced read! It had a bit of everything and I've never read anything like this before!

I love that the sequel His Fair Assassin, Dark Triumph is about Sybella, one of the characters who you will want to know more about after reading Grave Mercy! It's a book I'll definitely remember and the sequel to which I'll be waiting for!

Publication date: 3rd April, 2012
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Source: NetGalley

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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  1. I have to say that I am honesly getting tired of reading and commenting on reviews of this book. It has become a bloggy whore, it is everywhere. Needless to say, your review was great and despite the fact that I am sick of this book, I still want to read it :)

  2. Aaaah, I know! o_O I've seen around five reviews of this book today! And so many more over the past week! It's literally everywhere in the blogosphere! It's kind of worth it, though... thank god! :) I see your current reads include The Catastrophic History of You and Me and Masque of Red Death. They sound soo good! Waiting for your thoughts on them :o)

  3. Wonderful review, Pooja!
    Your review makes me want to get the book right away!
    I can't wait.
    I have a feeling I'll like this book as much as you did!
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts :)

  4. Nuns who are also assassins...How can I not read this? It looks like a really well developed book.

  5. My thoughts are so similar to yours on this book, Ajoop! I literally just finished reading it today and thought that the whole idea of it was SO cool -- especially Ismae. After everything she had to go through, it was really hard NOT to feel for her. <3 Plus, I really love the slogan for this book too! It's one of the main reasons why I was so intrigued about this book, other than the awesome assassin nuns thing, of course LOL ;)

    Amazing review, Ajoop! I'll definitely be waiting on the sequel like you :) <3

  6. Ah! My friend bought a copy of Grave Mercy today and it is GORGEOUS. And really thick, haha. It sounds so amazing, and I've heard the best things about it. Everyone seems to love it, including you, Ajoop! Ismae sounds totally kick-butt and Gavriel Duval? Sawoooon. ;) Awesome review, Ajoop! :)


    Assassin. Nuns.

    Ismae sounds like such an awesome character :) I love that you can root for her even when she's not always making the best decisions and judgements. I loveeee seeing character growth so that's a huge bonus as well!

    GAVRIEL DUVAL... swoon. Even his name is beautiful <3 I am forever falling for the kind and considerate guys though so I can totally imagine myself falling under this man's spell :) EXCITED!

    Greaaaat review, Ajoop! <333


  8. Oh, all the things you listed above are on my mind too, Ajoop! Unlike you, I just can't find words to describe it! x) I'm a historical buff, but sometimes the ancient words make my head ache LOL! I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that this book is about assassin nun! Assassin I know, but an assassin nun? SUPER COOL! <3

    Amazingly beautiful review, Ajoop! Not that I expect less from you of course! ;)

  9. @Nick I really hope you like this book, Nick! I definitely looved reading it!

    @Preet Haha it's AWESOME. Especially cuz it's about assassin nuns :D Thanks so much for stopping by my blog, Preet!

    @Mimi I agree, Ismae's so awesome! And I LOVED the slogan! Loved loved. It's what convinced me to pick it up. That and the cover. Didn't even bother to read the blurb! It took that little to convince me xD

    @Sophia Gavriel Duval = SO swoon worthy :D I love just saying his name :P I so want to get a finished copy of this book! For the cover, size (I loove pretty and thick books!) and kick-butt story!

    @Sonia Yaaay, I'm glad you're convinced! Haha Duval is aamazing! Who needs bad boys when you have a nice guy who has an awesome name like Gavriel Duval? I'm a sucker for character growth as well! Whether it's subtle or dramatic, it gives the whole journey more depth! xD

    @Hilda I knoow! It's like, two words: ASSASSIN NUNS. Enough to make the book sound super awesome! I get what you mean! Some historical novels are a little stuffy-ish. Like they are AWESOME and rich once you get into it but you have to get into it. And aww, hope your midterms go/are going/went well, Hilda! :)

  10. You don't know how glad I am that you liked it! I'm currently reading it (I started it a couple of days ago), and it looks just SO PROMISING. I don't usually read historical YA, but this one seems the perfect one to start with! <3

    And the next book is about Sybella? That's great!

  11. I know! It's awesome, well written historical YA! I loved it! Glad you're loving it too, Sophie! I'll be waiting for your review xD and yeah, it's about Sybella! I cant wait :D


HI. Thanks for reading! Feel free to comment. :)