Thursday, April 5, 2012

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


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?
This book had me excited to read it. YA fantasy? While you get a lot of YA PNR, you rarely get a historical fantasy book. I do enjoy fantasy and to pair it with a bit of magic and assassin nuns I had to read this book.

You do get a lot of this world's political information within this book and it does slow down the story in spots especially within the first half. The pacing becomes a bit uneven here. However, do not let that dissuade you from reading it. Those slower spots are necessary information for what comes later. It also helps you understand the main characters much better as they are mired within the political intrigue.

Isame's character often read quite naive in the beginning as she should. She knows nothing but what she was taught at the convent of the world. Before that her small world consisted of harsh living and abuse. However, her character grows. She learns to think for herself and becomes not just an assassin, a pawn, but a heroine. 

Ah but what about romance? It is all about politics and killings? Yes, there is romance within these pages. It is slow building and it helps make it believable. No insta-love within these pages.

I give this book 4 stars. It's also for the older YA crowd. For fans of historical fantasy... you will enjoy this YA. For those that don't read this genre, I say give it a try. I really feel you will find elements in this story you will love. Just remember that all that political talk is necessary to untangle a web in which our characters are caught. 
I received this eARC from the publisher and NetGalley and no compensation for my review was given.

21 comments:

  1. I loved this book. I do think that to really enjoy it, you have to be a fan of historical fiction. The political talk is pretty typical of that genre.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True, it is typical, but I still think that it might be an interesting introduction to the genre. :)

      Delete
  2. You're right I don't read a lot of books like that, I don't really know what. It must be an interesting mix. I think I need to read more fantasy books but it's difficult to add some new ones. Great review!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You might library book a few fantasy to see if the genre is for you first. This might be a good one to start with, tho! :)

      Delete
    2. I read some but I always have some books I prefer to read... a few years ago I did read a lot... maybe one day.

      Delete
  3. Really enjoyed this one. I mean you can't beat nun assassins, can you?!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nope... they would beat me... to a bloody pulp. ;)

      Delete
  4. I loved this one as well - the politics works for me (as I have a devious mind!) and I loved the fact that it wasn't insta-love! Didn't know about the trailer though! Enjoyed it. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know... you are so devious! That is what I like about you! :D

      Glad you enjoyed the trailer. :)

      Delete
  5. Politics and historical... GAH! I definitely shy away from this stuff, but I like the sound of the slow building romance, plus, I'm kind of embarrassed that I'm the only person on the planet that has yet to read this book!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you'll like it. Trust me, I know you aren't the only one that hasn't read it yet. I'm sure there are a couple around here somewhere... ;)

      Delete
  6. I really enjoyed it too, but toward the end I don't know I kind of had issues with the romance. Not that I didn't love the guy, but I thought that she maybe "liked" him too soon. Only because she'd been at the convent for so long. Her ideals changed faster than I'd have thought. Still...I really enjoyed it. :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Really? How funny that it didn't read that way to me at all. I can see where you are coming from tho. If you think about it she wasn't at the convent for too many years. She was still quite young when she went out into this world.

      Love the way we all see something different! :)

      Delete
  7. Arghh, I hate you blogger for stealing my comments!!!

    *breathe*

    Anyway, I have heard annoying things. Instalove and the romance taking centrestage when it could be about cool things.

    Though I do like historical books

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It loves to eat your comments. It's a monster like that. :)

      I didn't see it as insta-love at all. In fact she struggled with the feelings quite a bit. However, you may see something different than I did in the book. I do think you'd like this one since you do like historical fantasy books. :)

      Delete
  8. So excited to read this! Everyone seems to really love Ismae and her world of assassin nuns (complete win), so I'm looking forward to reading about her myself! Good to know the political talk does serve a purpose, otherwise I might have just skimmed through it:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know! Assassin nuns FTW!

      I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Would love to know what you think about it.

      Delete
  9. Melissa! Dude, I totally love this book to pieces. The main character was so kick butt!!!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Wow, I've read 3 reviews on this one today and every review I've read pretty much convinced me to get this book, including yours Melissa! I am so intrigued by the summary and the book trailer! The historical part of this book sounds enjoyable too!

    Awesome review Melissa! ♥ So glad you enjoyed it!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Soooooo eager to read this book - history, kickass assassin nuns, come on!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Grave Mercy was absolutely fantastic. This, mind you, is coming from an 18-year-old high school guy. With the perfect amount of action, suspense, and romance, Grave Mercy is honestly my favorite book of the year (out of 16 so far!) I wasn't sure what I was in for when I picked this book up, but I was blown away by LaFevers' incredible writing style--it's not "dumbed down" like so many teen novels are, and truly feels authentic. LaFevers' is a masterful storyteller, and manages to create a world that is at once both familiar and foreign, never giving too much away, but never leaving you completely in the dark. The world of Grave Mercy in and of itself is breathtaking, from the vivid descriptions of castles and towns, to the intricate web of betrayals and alliances that is the duchy of Brittany, to the incredibly detailed religious tradition. I've never felt so drawn in, so convinced of a history and world. What's also remarkable is that you don't learn about the Saints and what they govern all at once; rather, you learn slowly throughout the book--nothing feels rushed or forced.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for commenting! I ❤ comments!