Monday, May 14, 2012

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

The first novel in the His Fair Assassins trilogy.

All her life, Ismae has been viewed as the Devil's daughter. When her mother was pregnant, she drank a poison to kill Ismae before she was born.

However, Ismae was born, despite the poison, and was born with a terrible scar across her back. When anyone sees that scar, they know that Ismae was touched by the Devil and no one wants her.

When Ismae was forced into an arranged marriage by her abusive father, Ismae found that her husband was also going to be abusive. Before the marriage day was over, though, Ismae was saved by the herbwitch that supplied the poison before Ismae was born.

Ismae was then sent to the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters serve the god of Death. They train selected ladies to serve Death - to become assassins. Mortain leaves marques on victims that need to die, and Ismae is the one who will kill them.

For 3 years she was trained in weapons, hand-to-hand, seduction, and poison - any means in which to kill men who are marqued for death.

After Ismae's first 2 kills, she was sent on a long-term mission to protect the duchess child and to find any traitors of the French in her staff.

What Ismae didn't see coming was her instant attraction to her guide, Gavriel Duval, who she poses as his mistress in order to get into the duchess's palace.

No one is to be trusted in the palace, for no one knows the true traitor to Duchess Anne. When Ismae gets the order to kill Duval, she battles between her orders and her heart. How can she kill the one man that was able to get inside her heart?!

Will Ismae follow her heart and save Duval, or will she follow the orders that her "home" has given her, allowing her to be a true Assassin of the St. Mortain convent? Read Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers to find out.

My Thoughts/Reflections
First, don't let the thickness of this book scare you - it may be 549 pages, but Harry Potter 7 was larger and both of these books are amazing that you won't notice how long the book really is.

I really enjoyed this novel. It is definitely something different in the YA genre that is being written lately, more of a historical, mystery, and bad-girl/ass-kicking girl that will leave more teen girls wanting more of Ismae's courage.

Ismae was in an abusive home all of her life, she when she got the chance to kill men, she was all for it. She assumed that all men were evil, that they deserved to die, but after meeting Duval she realized that it wasn't so.

Not only did the reader get to see Ismae's kick ass personality, but we also get to see a softer side of her - a side that not even Ismae knew herself. She was kind and gentle to the Duchess Anne and her younger sister Isabeau.

This is the first novel in a trilogy, but from what I've gathered the second novel will follow another assassin of the St. Mortain convent, Sybella, not Ismae.

I would recommend this book to older teen girls since there is a lot of killing and it involves a historical government and politics that might be harder for younger teens to follow along. With the "girl is just as ruthless" approach this book could appeal to many Hunger Games fans out there as well.

The next novel won't be out until Spring 2013, but I will certainly pick it up and read it when it comes out!

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