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Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Tuesday, August 04, 2015 Geraldine 0 Comments

The Breakdown

  • Character development
  • Cover
  • History
Things that could be improved:
  • Multiple characters
  • Pacing
Rating: 4 stars

The Review

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?

Grave Mercy is the first book of the series called "His Fair Assassin" by Robin LaFevers. 

I picked up this book, mainly because it was about assassins and the cover was gorgeous. Just look at it. A flowy dress and a girl, standing tall and strong. It signaled to me that this book would be interesting, with a potential strong heroine. Any book to do with assassins, I will almost immediately read, because it tells me that there will be some character growth, or something or another, where the assassin cannot bring his/herself to kill one target. 

Grave Mercy had some superb character development. Ismae starts off as a vengeful girl, hellbent on bringing death towards men everywhere. By the end of the book, circumstances have molded her into a woman who knows how to choose her battles, one who is wise.

LaFevers characterises these characters fairly well. She paints Anne as a girl that is kind and desperate, but full of heart, on the throne of Brittany, helpless to do anything. From the very start, readers understand why Ismae is so vengeful, and LaFevers makes it clear that Ismae has a background, and makes her sympathetic to the reader.

The plot of Grave Mercy was quite intriguing. The politics, the history behind the novel all piqued my attention. I used to love historical novels, though recently my interest has dropped off. However, LaFevers has revived my interest in history once more, with this novel. She mixes history with fantasy, and does it extraordinarily well, with just enough of both.

Despite this, the pacing of the novel was irregular, and there were some sections of the novel that needed to be examined more carefully. There were also others scenes that were too in-depth and they bored me as well. This was the main dealbreaker for me.

In a nutshell, Grave Mercy revived historical novels for me, through incorporating some fantasy elements in the tale. The character development of Ismae is admirable and realistic. The cover... well, the cover speaks for itself! With all this in mind, Grave Mercy is a 4 star book; likeable and interesting! I'll be reading the next book in the series, Dark Triumph! I'd encourage anyone  who would be interested in history, romance or fantasy to read Grave Mercy, in addition to Dark Triumph.

Keep reading and loving books,


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