Sunday, 11 March 2012

Review: Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Grave Mercy
His Fair Assassin #1
Robin LaFevers
Publication date: 3rd April 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?

"If you choose to stay, you will be trained in his arts. You will learn more ways to kill a man than you imagined possible. We will train you in stealth and cunning and all manner of skills that will ensure no man is ever again a threat to you"

Firstly, Robin LaFevers is a brilliant storyteller I loved every minute of Grave Mercy in fact, I loved it so much I didn't want it to end. Grave Mercy is brimming with action and thoroughly intriguing characters that stayed with me long after I'd finished reading.

Rescued from and abusive father and arranged marriage Ismae is smuggled off to St. Mortain convent as the birth mark she bears and her immunity to poison signify her as one of Death's handmaiden's. Ismae agrees to stay at the convent and be trained as a female assassin. The sisters train the girls in poison's, "womanly arts" and a billion ways to kill a man (garroting a man with the wire hidden in a bracelet was my personal favourite). Sent on assignment to spy on the Court of Brittany Ismae must identify and kill the traitor amongst the young Duchesses advisers. To gain entry to the courts inner circle Isame must pretend to be Duval's mistress however, as she didn't exactly turn up for most of her "womanly arts" classes Ismae has a bit of a love/hate relationship going on with the swoon worthy Duval. Ismae finds herself caught between her duty to St Mortain, loyalty to the young Duchess and her eventual love for Duval.

I loved Ismae she's smart, observant and loyal, she hides knives in her skirts and has a trunk with poisons for every occasion. For an assassin she does seems very vulnerable and skittish around Duval (she really should have went to those "womanly arts" classes) their relationship starts off rocky (okay they hate each other) but it progresses into a toe curling, double swoon worthy romance.

The historical setting and political intrigue of court life to me highlighted the differences between the two main female characters. Although the young Duchess Anne may have been born into great wealth and position in reality she is as powerless as the pre-assassin Ismae. Anne is merely a political pawn and will marry not for love, but for the promise of armies to help defend Brittany against France. Whereas Ismae may have started off life in poverty shunned due to her birth mark but she eventually ends up a trained assassin and very much in control of her own destiny.

Grave Mercy is definitely for you if you are a fan of historical fiction, fantasy and romance. If you liked Maria V. Snyder's Poison Study or Rae Carson's The Girl of Fire and Thorns then buy Grave Mercy, I've already added the next instalment Dark Triumph to my "must buy" list it was that good.

My rating 5 out of 5
Thanks to Net galley for the opportunity to read and review Grave Mercy.


  1. I loved this novel too and have add book two to my must have list. So glad to see another 5 rating,

  2. I loved this one so much. I loved the historical setting and the romance between Ismae and Duval. I can't wait for the next book. Great review :)

    1. Thanks Tiffany, I absolutely loved it :)

  3. Can't disagree with anything you said there! It was a great book and I really liked that the romance didn't take priority of the storytelling of the politics!

  4. Reading your review makes me soooo happy that I have an eARC of GRAVE MERCY sitting on my Kindle as well. Really hope to get to it soon - this sounds so, so awesome!

    Thanks a lot for sharing. Great review. :)

  5. This has to be 1 of my fave reads of 2012!!
    Ismae is sooooo kickass and Duval is amazing!!
    And I liked the fact that the romance didn't take over the whole story like it does in some books. I loved the setting and even the politics!
    I can't wait to read Dark Triumph


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