Title: Grave Mercy
Author: Robin LaFevers
Series: His Fair Assassin
Genre: Teen Fantasy
Rating: 4/5 stars
The Overview: 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?
Aside from the striking cover and catching tagline, it was the basic premise of the book that first grabbed my attention: Lucky to escape from a brutal life, Ismae finds herself in the convent of St. Mortian, where she trains to become a handmaiden of death. Along the way, she learns the skills of an assassin, the art of seduction, and the finer points of intrigue. Chosen for her first assignment, Ismae is eager to fulfill her vows to the God of Death, but soon finds herself in way over her head.
“Grave Mercy” had my attention right from the start. At times, it was a little more dark and risque than most teen novels, but still tasteful enough to be appropriate for its target audience. I actually really liked the extra edge, and thought the dynamic of an assassin/seductress made for a fascinating read. Add that to the fact that she is young, inexperience, and practically terrified of men, then throw in a romantic interest on top of it, and you have yourself an incredibly entertaining story. The author is a major history buff, and she does a great job incorporating her knowledge of the time period into the story. Her background comes out in her descriptions and world-building, really bringing the story to life.
Overall, I think this was a strong debut for LaFevers, and I look forward to the next book in the series… I might even read it right away.
Other books you might like:
- “Graceling” by Kristin Cashore
- “Vampire Academy” by Richelle Mead
- “Song of the Lioness” Quartet by Tamora Pierce
- “Warrior Heir” by Cinda Williams Chima
- “Matched” by Ally Condie