03 March, 2012

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

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, #1)
Pages: 509.
Publication: 3rd April  2012/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 
Pre-order it: Amazon | The Book Depository

"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?" 

I loved Grave Mercy. It didn't get those five stars for nothing yet I am having a terribly hard time reviewing it. I think I may have reviewers block. Does that exist?

1485, Brittany - Ismae has to face a life married to an abusive man just like her abusive father. However, she is saved and brought to the St. Mortain convent for a life as a handmaiden of Death.

I really liked Ismae. She is tough and strong and independent. She is not to be messed since she carries about five different weapons on her body alone and most of the time, her tongue is sharper than her dagger. Yet, she is also caring and compassionate to people she cares about. With this being said, she is innocent when it comes to love. She has only ever known cruel men and is not willing to put her heart on the line. I think it was nice to have something a little naive about Ismae, it made her more realistic.

Speaking of love, I really enjoyed the relationship aspect of the book. Although it was obvious it would happen, not only to me but to the other characters in the book, it did not make it any less interesting. What I really liked, because I has an issue with this, is the realistic pacing. The book is set over a span of at least a few weeks and the relationship took time.

I am not the religious but if someone told me I was allowed to go to the convent of St. Mortain, I would be there in a heartbeat. Learning how to kill someone over a hundred different ways sounds pretty damn cool. That and the convent has awesome (it is the only to describe them) gadgets. Daggers, killer bracelets and pearls of poison, to name just some, these handmaidens of Death are not playing around.

The book is a little long. There was a few unneeded scenes and it took a little longer to figure out who the bad guy was then I hoped since I had figured it a good while before.

The history intertwined in Grave Mercy regarding Gods of old, Saints and what not was really interesting. There is enough of it so you actually learn something yet it is not loaded with it so you do not feel burdened by the facts.

The book is the first the first of three yet by the end of Grave Mercy, Ismae's story is pretty much wrapped up. The second novel will follow Ismae's fellow assassin Sybella and I am guessing the third will follow Annith.

Final Thought.
A must read for YA and adults. If you like historical or fantasy fiction, Grave Mercy has both. It is full of action, romance and humor which will have you desperate to read on.


  1. Wow, I'm so glad that you love this book! Your review makes me even more excited to read the book! I love fantasy YA, so I hope I'm going to fall over heels about this book! Awesome review! <3

  2. Thanks for your review! Grave Mercy sounds like a book I'd greatly enjoy!