Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Book Review: Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Publication date: April 2012
Pages: 560
Source: e-book from NetGalley
For: Review
Series: His Fair Assassin, Book 1

When Ismae was born, she was marked as the daughter of Death. So when she ends up at the convent devoted to St. Mortain, she is welcomed with open arms and trained as an assassin to deal death to those who are marked to die. But an assignment to protect the young Duchess of Brittany might just test her loyalty to the Sisters against the feelings of her heart.

Things I Liked:
What I think stuck out to me the most in this book is the intricate plot and complicated heroine.  I love the idea (I mean, who didn't perk up at the idea of assassin nuns?) and I really enjoyed watching Ismae's progression from her oppressed home to powerful assassin to compassionate woman.  The politics and the twisty slippery villains and plots kept me interested and reading to know just what would happen next.  I especially love how nothing is easy for Anne - it would seem nice to have a convenient way out of all her troubles, but she doesn't and I like it, even as I wished it would happen.  I suppose that is because she was a real person and real stories don't often have convenient endings.  There is so much in this book that I can't even talk about all of it and do it justice (plus the numerous beautifully expressed reviews I've read about it make that even more daunting).  But I think the court maneuevering and political machinations were my favorite things.  Despite having seen who the villain was well in advance, I was intrigued enough to continue to the end.  Another fabulous historical fiction, again reminding me just how much I like the genre!

Things I Didn't Like:
It did get a bit long.  I took a lot of long breaks (most of them not of my own choosing), so that might have affected how smoothly the book flowed for me.  I was also a touch annoyed by the somewhat convenient and slightly strange way Ismae manages to save someone near the end.  Definitely not a book for younger teens, what with the mature themes.  Otherwise, I pretty much enjoyed it, especially the parts where she plays the defenseless girl but instead kicks the bad guys around.  Never gets old.

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
Poison by Sara Poole

s-factor: !@ 
a few

mrg-factor: XX
implied, not described in detail, but it does happen

v-factor: ->->
she is an assassin so death happens, sometimes in gruesome ways

Overall rating: **** 

I've seen lots of great recommendations for courtly intrigue books floating around as a result of this book.  Anybody have some good historical fiction courtly intrigue books to recommend to me?

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage


  1. "Never gets old."

    So true . . .

    1. I'm still waiting for it to happen, but it doesn't. So satisfying :)

  2. I soooo want to read this book. It looks excellent and I've heard so many good things about it and yes... assassin nuns!!!!

    1. I hope you get it soon and enjoy it - I would have liked to see more nun action, come to think of it...

  3. This one didn't look that appealing to me but everyone is loving it so I think I might actually take a recommendation and read it.

    I just finished Star Crossed by Elizabeth C Bunce and loved it! Very much the court intrigue book. As you recommended it to me, though, I guess that was a useless suggestion.

    Did you read the Crow Duel and Court Duel books? They were good.

    1. It's worth a try, though I'm totally not sure what you will think of it. I did read Crown and Court Duel - very good stuff, that. I'm still waiting on the sequel to StarCrossed.

  4. Upon finishing this book, the critical reviewer in me had a bad moment. It raised its hackles and started stalking back through the book for something to comment on, something that annoyed me, something that stuck out. It took me a really long moment to realize that I had just simply enjoyed this book.

    1. Ha ha! I love this thought. Sometimes I look really hard for things I don't like, but sometimes it's nice to just enjoy a book :)


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