Ok, I'm going to be honest. This book has everything going for it. It has an awesome cover, even the hubby agreed on that one, a kick ass heroine, a cool premise and it's a trilogy where each book is it's own story about a different girl. Meaning no huge killer cliff hangers spread over three years, but you still get three interrelated stories in the same world.
What is not to like about this combo I ask you?
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?
In a similar vein as Kirstin Cashore's Graceling, Ismae is a gifted killer; she's an unapologetic kick ass, full of nifty weapons coupled with a complicated past. In other words she's my favourite type of character. I especially liked the god aspect, Ismae's struggle with her understanding and often limited knowledge of her gifts, her complicated commitment to the convent and her questioning of it's integrity. Because kick ass girls are wonderful, but complicated politics and intrigue make it the full package.
There are a variety of sub characters, some of which you get to know quite well, like Duval, and some who are more topical like Isabeau, but all of them are quite charming and/or intriguing. And although there are a lot of characters running around plotting and scheming, in the end this is a story about Ismae's struggle more than anything else.
A great character piece, wrapped in a medieval political drama, Grave Mercy was a refreshing story full of things I would love to see more of in YA. Intelligent intrigue, tough ass girls, romance that doesn't overtake the story and which doesn't belittle the heroine and best of all, a completed story. I love a good trilogy, but i'm telling you, the endless cliff hangers that I have to wait a year or two to have resolved are getting a bit tiresome. The fact that book two of His Fair Assassins is about a sub plot in Grave Mercy and another character altogether is more awesome then I can describe. I still can't wait to read it, but it won't be some torturous wait where I want to tear out my hair. Big sigh of relief.
So if your looking for your next great read, go no further, pick up Grave Mercy and then join me in wishing you could be a medieval assassin from god. Still not sure?Read the first chapter on Robin LaFevers website.
Grave Mercy, by Robin LaFevers
Published by Houghton Mifflin, April 3rd 2012
My copy kindly provided by the Publisher