by Robin LaFevers
Series: His Fair Assassin #1
Published: April 3, 2012
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Format: eARC (549 pages)
Source: For Review
Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes 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 . . .
Grave Mercy is historical fiction that reads like the best high fantasy out there. If Tolkien had decided to write about Jason Bourne it might have come out something like Grave Mercy. Brittany is a real historical place and Anne, the Duchess of Brittany, is a historical figure. The main character, Ismae, is remarkable. She’s an admirable, tough, lost and likable girl who is desperately trying to follow her heart. She’s very independent and I remember thinking once or twice that she felt like a modern feminist stuck in mediaeval Brittany. All of the characters were wonderfully flawed and I cared so much about them. The writing style was one of my favorite parts of the book. It’s told in the present tense, in a very formal way making it fit the medieval setting but the writing was natural and flowing at the same time. There was even some humor that had me chuckling every now and then. Like the title, the whole book is full of interesting juxtapositions. Robin LaFevers takes your expectations and plays with them very expertly. She surprised me with this story in so many ways. Great intrigue had me flipping the pages like mad. The ending was completely satisfying to me. And the love story was just plain amazing.
I still want to learn more about the mythology and where it came from and if it was based on existing Celtic mythology….it’s one of the coolest and original mythologies I’ve read in a long time.
Content Rating: Medium, for some violence and a suggestive scene.
I received this book for review from the publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I was not told what to say, I was not paid to write this review and all the opinions expressed are my own. I read an advanced reading copy for this review.