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? – Goodreads
Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers is WIN ALL AROUND. Right after starting it, my immediate thought was, “This is the book I’ve been waiting for.”
A premise like this one requires an amazing main character and Robin LaFevers absolutely delivered with Ismae. The reader would have to be evil to not sympathize with what she had to endure under her father’s roof and, then, the life she barely escaped with her foul husband. I wanted good things for her and, thankfully, she is taken to a convent to serve Death Himself. There, Ismae is trained in combat, poisons, and seduction to become an assassin. Awesome, right? I attended schools with nuns for most of my education and I WISH things had been this cool. But, anyway, through it all, Ismae retains her goodness and she goes on quite the character arc in Grave Mercy. Both smart and kickass, Ismae is a top quality main character.
Robin LaFevers offers so much detail in her writing. Set in 15th century Brittany, she easily transported me into the time period and I am in awe of all the research she must have had to do. I must admit that I only have so much patience for political and court drama, but Robin LaFevers managed to keep me hooked through all of the twists and turns she spun in Grave Mercy.
Duval is the love interest in the book and words cannot describe how much I loved his relationship with Ismae. Can you say: SWOON CITY? There was plenty of bickering and distrust in the beginning, but then came the mutual respect and friendship and I was…a goner. Look up “slow burn” in the dictionary and I’m sure you’d find “Ismae and Duval” right next to it! These two had killer chemistry and I ate it all up.
A strong heroine, a developed romance, some action and magic, court intrigue, political drama…Grave Mercy has it all! If that wasn’t enough, I really became attached to some of the side characters and I cannot wait to find out more about them in the next installments. Robin LaFevers has an exciting series in her hands and I eagerly look forward to Dark Triumph and Dark Hope.
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