Title: Grave Mercy
Series: His Fair Assassin #1
Publisher: Anders Press
Author: Robin LaFevers
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
When I first saw this book, it just called to me so I knew I had to have it!! It has a beautiful cover and one of the best series names I have ever seen! What made it even greater for me was that it is set in 1487 France, when I saw that, I was hooked. Even though it is set so far back in time you do end up feeling a connection with the characters and the female lead, Ismae, is strong and fierce and she doesn’t let herself get pushed around by men, as most women were at those times. She stood her ground and made sure she was included in everything, the fact that she is one of the daughters (assassin) of St Mortain (god of Death) helped even more. She held her own in a fight just like any man could. She is also very protective of those she loves and cares for. She was taken in by the convent of St. Mortain when she was 14 and was raised, with all the other novices, by some seriously badass nuns. They taught them how to fight, who to kill a man in every possible way and they make various deadly poisons. I know what you’re thinking, what if the nuns in our world really are kick ass assassins??? That’s what I wondered. Although i do have an imagination that runs away with me a few times.
Now about the wonderful, Gavriel Duval. He is the male lead in this story and he is just swoon-worthy. At first he is a little cold towards Ismae, but aren’t they all? At least he does have a valid reason for disliking her, since she gets in the way of his plans all the time with all the, you know, assassinations. With time they start to tolerate each other so that they can work together on finding out who wants to take the Duchy from the Duchess. Duval develops a fierce protectiveness over Ismae and gets all iffy when other guys touch her, what I thought was kind of cute.
I am so glad that Robin LaFevers created a female lead that didn’t fold into herself in difficult situations. Especially in those times women needed to be assertive or the men would’ve walked all over them and I am all for the power of womenJ. The world she created was very interesting and intellectual and she kept you guessing throughout the whole book. That said, the English is a bit different since it was in a different time, but it isn’t difficult to understand. Even though it is in historical time it doesn’t have much history in it so those who do not like history novels do not have to worry.
This is a book I highly recommend. It is one of my favourites of this year, i was enthralled from the start. Now for one of my favourite quotes!!!!
“‘Not all men are the same, you know. With someone such as Gavriel, I would suggest appearing aloof, not chasing too much. He might see that as suffocating rather than charming.’ Her words are sharp, but her voice is sweet, like honey on the edge of a blade, and meant to be cutting. I comforted myself with the knowledge that if Duval ever felt smothered by me, it will be because I am holding a pillow over his face and commending his soul to Mortain.”