Saturday, June 9, 2012

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

Goodreads: 4.04
Hardcover, 1st Edition, 549 pages
Published April 3rd 2012 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Source: Bought on Amazon; Signed
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?

I had extremely high expectations for this book, and it pretty much met them all. Some of the complaints I was hearing was that Ismae didn't commit enough assassinations. Yeah, that's because it's a YA book. Grave Mercy was perfect in the amount of violence and sex used. I know that YA books have gotten a little bolder and end up being for an older YA audience, but I feel like people were expecting an adult book when it's not. This book is seriously hefty: 549 pages. It seems pretty formidable, but once you get into it, it doesn't seem like that many pages. We're sucked into Ismae's horrible life before she joins the convent; a loveless marriage with a disgusting pig and a father who's just using her to get money. One of the priests in the village puts her on a boat and she finds herself at St. Mortain. This is where she learns to be an assassin. But are the sisters always right in who they choose for her to kill? Or do they have their own agenda?

Another complaint I was hearing was that there wasn't enough romance. But there definitely was. Duval starts out as being annoying to Ismae. They run into each other when they shouldn't (like when she's supposed to be killing someone) and she definitely does not trust him. But then she begins to care for him, and it's all downhill from there. Downhill in the sweetest way. Obviously she doesn't really feel anything for him. But she begins to see how kind he is and what he's wiling to do to help his cousin with the throne, and you can't help but fall for him too. Their love does not happen right away, but when it finally happens it's so beautiful. This is one of my favorite couples so far this year. They're both so strong and stubborn but obviously head over heels for each other, and that makes it a very real romance to me.

Ismae was such a great heroine. She knew her way not only around weapons, but politics as well. And she was so innocent. Part of being a handmaiden to Death is the possibility of having to use seduction on a man to find the mark that the Devil has placed on him for death. But Ismae is so ill-prepared for it. That is, until she meets Duval. But she's very strong and can hold her own. All straight women are weak when it comes to men, and anyone that says otherwise is lying to themselves. They are our weakness and we are theirs. But they also make us stronger. Ismae also stands up for what she believes in and she fights unselfishly for the people she loves. YA novels need more heroines like Ismae. I cannot wait to see what happens next!


  1. This book sounds so good :) I love stories with a strong heroin.

  2. Great review! I have this book checked out from the library but I haven't gotten around to reading it yet. This review makes me want to stop whatever I'm reading and pick it The romance sounds right up my alley, I love it when two strong willed characters smash

  3. I really enjoyed this novel and I agree it had just the right amount of violence and romance.

  4. you just reminded me that i haven't written my review for this one yet. i loved it as well. i thought the romance was great - they annoy each other then fall in love. my favorite kind of romance. :) i am really excited to see what happens in the next book!


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