Tuesday, May 01, 2012

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

Release Date: April 3, 2012
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 started this book as a skeptic. Nun assassins? Really?? I had to admit it though-- it was an original idea. Have you ever read about a convent that trains young women to kill people? Surprisingly enough, I loved it. LOVED. Was it a long book? Heck freaking yes it was. Did it drag in brief moments. Yep. Would I read it all over again right now? I sure would. And I'd love every second of it. Again.

As the book begins, you get an immediate sense of Ismae and her situation. She's being thrown into the arms of an abusive pig of a husband by an equally abusive father who never loved or wanted her. The truth of this statement is borne by Ismae every day of her life in the form of an angry scar that runs the length of her back--the result of a poison meant to kill her while she was still in her mother's womb. The fact that she survived the poison was evidence of her true father- the god of Death. When Ismae's new husband sees the mark on her back and flees to find a priest to take her away, Ismae, with help, is able to escape to the convent of St. Mortain. Once there, she quickly learns that, should she choose to stay at the convent, she will become a servant of the god of Death and do his bidding by assassinating those who bear his mark. 

I thought that the story would go into a lot of detail here and bore me with the logistics of her learning to kill people. Again a surprise: it didn't. In fact it cuts to three years later (thankfully) and Ismae's first assignment, which subsequently lead to her next assignments and a very uncomfortable arrangement with a noble man in a city Ismae had only ever heard stories about. From here, the story slowed in places, mostly (for me) when it was about politics (snore.). Luckily, it was relevant to the story and easy to wade through, or I may not have liked this book as much as I did.

As it were, I'm a bit nervous to admit that this may be one of my favorite books of the year so far. (Gasp! I know. First one!) I would recommend buying this, in fact. And in case you're worried, if you hate it, it doubles as a doorstop! Yes, all 549 pages of it. I highly doubt you'll hate it though. I will gladly give it high praise! Especially since all the plots and plans and people to blame seemed glaringly obvious and I was wrong on ALL COUNTS. I love books that can keep me guessing and this one hit the bulls-eye. Enough from me already though--just read it! Whether you're a fan of historical fiction or not, you'll be glad you did.

Happy Reading!     

**I received this egalley from the publisher for the purpose of review.

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