Title: Grave Mercy (Book 1 in His Fair Assassin)
Author: Robin LaFevers
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company
Release Date: April 3, 2012
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?
Love Love Love LOVE this book!! It read like an historical fiction novel, and I didn’t even know it was until after I finished it! The characters were all perfect – from Anne to Ismae to Duval (extra love for Duval), they were brought to life again (well, except for Duval, I suppose – see Author’s note – contains spoilers); they were all completely realistic, and with of course a hint of fantasy/supernatural with the gods of old. I loved the convent of St. Mortain – seeing Ismae being rescued from her horrible fate via her own father, but then the drastic change that came over her, I couldn’t help but pity her and admire her at the same time. Her strength was amazing, but the fact that she loses all independence and becomes completely besotted with the convent because she was blinded by their rescue of her was so sad.
I also can’t believe the detail. Everything was so precise – there wasn’t a lot wasted on imagery, which was good – the book was very long (but soooooo worth it!), and didn’t need the extra descriptions. The personalities of the people came across through their actions, expressions, small movements, the slightest frown or softest sigh. I loved how everything came together, and how, at the end, Ismae truly grew and changed. Her heart was strengthened, to say the least, and that’s really all I can say without spoiling it!
Despite the seriousness of the entire situations, there were quite a few chapters where I couldn’t keep a smile off my face. There were some things I totally saw before the characters even suspected, and then there were dire twists and random surprises just to keep me guessing. But the romance? So sweet! I mean, I guess you can already tell, but I LOVE Duval and Ismae – they are so PERFECT for each other. I honestly want a book dedicated to just their lives together after that, because even though the end was good, it was so shaky and I wasn’t completely sure about anything. There were times where I thought LaFevers was going to kill off really important characters, and then there were certain times where I she killed them abruptly and I almost cried. Seriously, it’s such an emotional roller coaster. I LOVED it (clearly, you’re not getting it – LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE) this book. If I did a rating system it would be the highest on there – the only drawback was that it was long and I didn’t have time to read it all the way through in one shot! And if after all this you haven’t gone to pre-order this book, you really don’t understand the definition of LOVE!!!!!