Monday, November 19, 2012

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1) by R.L. LaFevers

Grave Mercy 
(His Fair Assassin #1) 
by R.L. LaFevers
549 pages 
YA Paranormal
April 2012

Book Jacket Summary
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?

My Thoughts
This door stopper of a book is actually a very quick read because it is so good that you do not want to put it down. This is a very good fantasy/paranormal book and it may tie with Shadow and Bone for my favorite of the year. Ismae is sold into a marriage that she knows will be just as bad as the life she lead with her abusive father. The marks ofthe medicines used to try and kill her before she was even born marks her to be shunned. Instead of meeting an end at the hands of her husband, she is smuggled to the convent of St. Mortain home of the daughters of Death.
Ismae lives out her day learning about poisons and the art of assassination waiting for the day of her first assignment. The first two are quick as she sees the marks of death upon them but the third assignment may be her undoing. She is to be the paramore of Duval, a high ranking offical and cousin to the duchess of Brittany who may be the future queen. Ismae finds her self at odds with Duval and they are constantly having a battle of wits. Needless to say they fall in love.
The politcal intrigue is well thought out and well established for the 15th century setting of warring Brittany and France. I do like Ismae and she is a strong character that learns throughout the book, especially about taking orders. Just because the higher ups in the convent think they know what needs to be done does not always make it right. Ismae must learn to navigate through the political and religious aspects of her assassination attempts and learn to judge for herself.
Very good fantasy and action packed book. I would highly recommend this one and I cannot wait to read the next one. That one will star another character that fascinated me and I would love to get inside her head! Enjoy!

Book Pairings



  1. Seriously, I need to read this one. Ismae sounds like an amazing character, and she deserves some attention. I have an ARC just waiting on my shelf, so I think I might have to take it down soon. Perhaps over the holiday. :) Thanks for the great review, Karen!

  2. I absolutely loved this book! It's one of my favorites; Ismae is such a strong character, one of the best heroines I've read about. I haven't read Shadow And Bone yet, but you comparison of the two is interesting, I'll have to check it out. Nice review!


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