Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1)
by Robin LaFevers
What is it about:
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?
What did I think of it:
I have tried reading this book back in 2012, but the present tense really put me off. Now two years later I'm getting more and more used to authors using present tense, and I've learned to not let it drag me out of the story (although I still am no fan). So I decided to give this book a second try, because the premise is cool.
And this time I managed to ignore present tense long enough to get hooked.
I will confess I had my doubts about the convent and how the nuns decide who should die. I really loved it when I discovered this played a large role in the story. It's not black and white, but shows how things are much more complex than just good vs. evil.
Ismae had to grow on me. She's a bit too cocky and sure of herself at first. Even when I thought she was blundering, she thought she was a marvel of perfection. Luckily she did change a bit and I could root for her. There were times she did jump to obvious wrong conclusions to create some tension, but that's a trick I've seen used before by authors, and can't be held against Ismae.
And then there was Duval!
Ismae is send to court in the role of Duval's mistress, to both their displeasure. Duval doesn't trust the convent and Ismae, with good reasons, for Ismae is told to spy on him. I loved Duval. He seemed a bit condescending at first, but when I learned more about him, I could understand his aloof manners much better. And it was a pleasure to read how he and Ismae grudgingly start to like each other.
There's also lots of intrigue, mysteries and dangerous situations. Who can Ismae trust? Can she fulfill her duty to the convent without losing herself in the process? I was totally engrossed in the story and finished in almost a single sitting.
This book is part of a trilogy as I understand it, but each book has a different lead character. The lead characters of the next books have been introduced in this book, and i can tell you I'm looking forward to reading the next book, because I want more!
Why should you read it:
This is a really cool Young Adult Fantasy read with intrigue and murder.