Monday, 23 April 2012
Book Review- Grave Mercy by R. L. LaFevers
Title: Grave Mercy
Author: Robin LaFevers
Series: His Fair Assassin #1
Published: 3rd April 2012 by Houghton Miffin Harcourt/ 7 June 2012 by Anderson for UK
Warnings: violence, sex, 14+
Other info: She's written children's series under R.L. LaFevers, but this is her first YA novel.
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?
Review: Ismae is seventeen and has recently escaped from an arranged marriage. She ends up at the Covanent of Mortain, where she trains as an assassin. Things go normally, until one assignment means she gets to kill somebody close to the man who has stolen her heart. It comes down toa choice between her love or her duty for Ismae, and this is one situation where being Death’s daughter does not help.
I was pulled in by the premise of a medieval assassin. It’s definitely not disappointing on that part. There’s not that much world building, you just pick it all up as you go along. Ismae soon gets to the convent, training to be one of Death’s handmaidens. Other things happen soon enough, but it does take until about halfway through for things to pick up and go really quickly.
Ismae is strong,grows, and by the end of it, makes her own decisions for what she wants to do do, as opposed to what she should do. The whole Death’s Daughter thing is fairly commonly seen, and I like the idea of them all being assassins. Duval, the love interest in this, isn’t really my favourite character ever, but he’s interesting enough. I’m so thankful of the character list at the start of the novel. I’d get totally lost without it.
The plot isn’t overly complex, but it’s a good story with twists and turns. The conclusion was a little predictable, but gave a good ending for this novel.
The thing that earns Grave Mercy such a high score is the writing. And the world building. Yes, I said there wasn’t much, but by that, I meant the explicit stuff where we’re told “this is this and that is that”. Robin did a great job of showing, not telling. The first person present tense writing meant I could easily imagine the whole thing taking place, and the frequent archaic language fitted in with the setting perfectly, medieval France. She even swore in French. It’s wonderful story telling.
Overall: Strength 5 tea to a really well written story of assassins, romance and medieval times.