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?
You’re not even going to give me a chance to explain are you?! You’re just going to come full force with your pitchforks and judgey faces?!
Look I really REALLY liked Grave Mercy. It just didn’t blow me away or have me gripping the edge of my seat in suspense. I think this can easily be because I am, by no stretch of the imagination, a historical fiction fan. I honestly just don’t have the attention span for it and it often leaves me bored. Grave Mercy, good bless it’s heart, didn’t leave me bored per say but it still took me well over a week to finish it. And it’s not because it’s a monster of a book (which is most certainly is) but because if I would have tried to read it straight through I know I wouldn’t have liked it nearly as much. For me, Grave Mercy had to be savored in doses, not tossed back like some cheap drink at a dive bar.
In fact the plot, the characters, the pace and the premise were all exceptionally done. I loved Ismae and the other handmaidens of death! Their order (convent?) honestly filled me with such joy. I mean who wouldn’t feel warm and fuzzy at the thought of assassin nuns?! And this isn’t like “some” books where the assassin is cool but you never see a kill. Ismae killed with surety and grace and ARGH I JUST LOVED HER! When she saw the mark necessary to execute on behalf of her saint (Mortain) she carried out that execution with confidence, stealth and mercy…
But moving away from my subtle and fantastic hints Grave Mercy was the kind of book that had action in the variety of a slow burn. Things were constantly happening and their were twist and turns, disguises and backstabbing but it happened gradually over the course of 500+ pages. You never knew who exactly to trust, or why you instinctively knew to trust one person over another. Just that some things weren’t adding up and there was a snake amongst Ismae, Beast, De Lornay, the duchess and the rest of our cast.
And can we all just stop and applaud LaFevers for this?! I’m usually very good at spotting “who done it” but Grave Mercy had me in the shadows until well past the 60% mark! I had an idea but I wasn’t 100% certain and that is a feat most books can’t achieve with me. Grave Mercy was full of so many twist, turns, plot twist, friends and allies my head spun with all the possibilities and I finally just threw my hands up and screams “TRUST NO ONE DARN IT!”. Except for Duval. Trust him…love him…ride off into the sunset with crossbows in hand with him!
Erm sorry about that! I just love their dynamic and the build up of their relationship! It was THEE way a romance should start. Slow, uncertain and gradually turning into more. The pace of the book as a whole was amazing now that I think back on it’s 500+ pages and the writing was perfect! Did it blow me away? No. Am I going to read the sequels? YES!!