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?
It saddens me to no end to think that I could have very easily went my whole life without reading Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers. It’s not a book I would pick up on my own. For the last couple of years I’ve told everyone that I’m not a fan of historical. Now I realize how wrong I was. I’ve always been a fan, I just haven’t been reading the right ones. Grave Mercy is the right one.
I had a lot of conflicting feelings going into Grave Mercy. It’s long, so I was intimidated. Everyone loves it, so I simultaneously wanted to love it and worried that I wouldn’t. Left to my own devices I probably never would have picked this book up. Thankfully I was able to borrow and then I had an obligation to read it! The first amazing thing I noticed about Grave Mercy was how fast it utterly captivated me. With most historical or fantasy books it takes quite awhile to get fully immersed in the story. This took one chapter.
Robin LaFevers might just be a genius, because this book is a work of art. I really have no idea how to tell you just how amazing this book is. I’m pretty sure most of you have read it already, so you know. I’ll try to articulate a few of the countless things I loved. First was the time period and the setting. Most historicals I’ve read take place in England and I don’t think I’ve ever read one that takes place in France, let alone Brittany. I found it fascinating. I don’t know much about their history so it was all new to me.
The second element I loved the most was the romance, of course. Yum! One of my first thoughts upon reading the summary for this book was, ‘Nuns?’ I can’t be the only person that associated nuns with boring, right? I like kissing in books and I don’t relate nuns to kissing. I was a little worried about that factor. I shouldn’t have been. Ismae is not your typical nun. Romance…and kissing play a very big role in the book and it unfolds beautifully. The connect and passion builds really, gloriously slow between Duval and Ismae. I was never impatient with it because it was done so well. It was one of the most swoon-worthy and fiery match-ups I’ve read in a long time. I loved every second of it.
The thing I adored the most was all the backstabbing. Grave Mercy made me realize that in order for me to love a historical book I need court politics. The more scheming the better. I love it! Grave Mercy is filled with it. Not only is there secrets and murders, but also battles and very real threats. It made the book come to life. At some points I was left breathless. It was just incredible.
I’m going to end this here because this is getting long, or it already is. I haven’t said half the glowing things that I could say but none of them will do this book justice. Just please read it. It will most certainly be a favorite of this year and the sequel is already my most anticipated read of 2013.