Friday, March 16, 2012

Review: Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

I may be the luckiest girl in the world.  I keep getting to read these crazy good books!!!  Here is the review for Grave Mercy book 1 of the His Fair Assassin trilogy and it's a holy-cow, stay-up-reading-way-too-late, astounding read!  

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

Available April 3, 2012

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes a brutal arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of assassins - for a price. Packed with love, magic, and deadly games of courtly intrigue and treason, book one of a fast-paced YA trilogy set in 15th-century France combines romance with captivating action.

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?

Genre:  YA* Historical/Paranormal

Rating:  *  *  *  *  * 
My Review:
I can hardly explain how much I loved this book!!! The book opens with:

"I bear a deep red stain that runs from my left shoulder down to my right hip, a trail left by the herbwitch's poison that my mother used to try to expel me from her womb. That I survived, according to the herbwitch, is no miracle but a sign I have been sired by the god of death himself."

If that doesn't give you chill bumps, I'm not sure we can continue to be friends. After this we are subject to a very scary and dark moment that had me concerned about where this book was going and did I want to go there with it. Luckily, it was worth the too-scary-for-Danielle moment and we are off on a whirlwind ride.

Ismae is a likable, well-developed protagonist and the book's central theme is her character growth and acceptance of who she is and what that really means.  From oppression to molding to self-discovery, Ismae blooms into an independent, strong individual.  Her transformation is beautiful and is threaded through action, mystery and conspiracy.

What more could a gal such as myself ask for???  How about an amazing setting?  Being a historical novel, I feared the inevitable information dump as the author tries to teach me European history.  Instead I got immersed in gowns of rich fabrics, tricky political intrigue, castles filled with secret passages and  countries at the brink of war.  The author has a rich vocabulary and does a perfect job of drawing us into the story.

I loved all the characters (Duval is much like Austen's Mr. Darcy -- yummy!!!),  I worried over who Ismae could and couldn't trust,  the plot is solid and kept me glued to my Kindle and the romance is warm-tingles worthy.

My very favorite quote of the book was:

“I comfort myself with the knowledge that if Duval ever feels smothered by me, it will be because I am holding a pillow over his face.”

The only thing I question about this book is if it should be marketed as a young adult book.  In 15th century Europe, a seventeen-year-old would certainly be an adult and Ismae acts accordingly.  It's certainly appropriate for the older YA reader (there's a few dark places) and there's no graphic violence or sex.  It just 
didn't "feel" like a YA book.  Nonetheless, I recommend this for anyone who loves magic, action, mystery, intrigue and romance!!! 

And... the next in the series has 2 of the fabulous characters from book 1 and I CANNOT wait!!!!  Yay!!!  I love a good book!

Cover Art:
Isn't this cover amazing!  It presents the perfect tone for what you will find inside!!!  I wanted to read this based on the cover alone!


  1. I loved that quote as well, it was definitely a laugh out loud moment for me! I just finished this book today, and am actually kind of sad it's over, but I can't wait for the next one! I'm running out to buy this ASAP! Awesome review!

  2. This book keeps your interest all the way through the book! I would totally recommend this to anyone interested in assassins and warfare.