Review: “Grave Mercy” by Robin LaFevers

Right, so. I pulled this book out of my TBR jar because my bookshelves are currently out of control with books I haven’t read (surprise, surprise!). I’ve heard good things about this series so I was excited to dive in.

grave-mercyTitle: Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1)
Author: Robin LaFevers
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH)
Release date: April 3, 2012
Length: 550 pages (hardcover)
Genre: Young adult, historical fiction, romance, fantasy
Synopsis (from Goodreads): “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?”

My rating: 3.5/5 stars

The truth is, while I enjoyed this book, it started out slowly and in terms of romance, it became rather predictable. And the thing is, there isn’t anything particularly remarkable about this book. It’s not that I didn’t like the characters (because I did) but rather, I had a hard time believing in some of the characters, especially Anne. She’s quiet young, only 12, but like any other royal, she’s dangled on a string in front of men more than thrice her age. Yet her affection for her family is quite endearing, and I like how she finds a friend and female companionship with Ismae, our main character.

I love the idea of a convent full of women training to be assassins and devoting their lives to St. Mortain, the patron saint of death. I haven’t read many books with female assassins and Throne of Glass has overshadowed and filled my mind with preconceived notions of what assassin’s are. Thankfully, Ismae and Celaena are on two different spectrums. Ismae herself is quite likeable but I wished for more of her training. She’s still a believable assassin and quite a good one at that. Setting this book in the 1400s added to the belief that Ismae was able to get many things done as women were very much overlooked, taught to be quiet, pious, etc.

In terms of plot, the book started out slowly, and it was a real struggle for me to get into it but I still found it enjoyable and the last half of the book kept me reading quickly to the point where I couldn’t put it down. I like how the romance blossoms between two characters but it was still, as I said, predictable. The book ended on a bit of a cliffhanger, too, as we do know how things will fair between Ismae in the convent itself.

The next two books are about characters previously mentioned in this book and LaFevers has sparked my interest in them. I also see that there will be 4th and 5th book and I can only wonder how the story will continue. Maybe I’ll pull the other two books out from my TBR jar to get the chance to read them soon. 🙂

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