Review: Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1)

March 27, 2012 Review 12 ★★★★

Review: Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1)Release Date: April 3, 2012
Title: Grave Mercy
Series: His Fair Assassin #1
Author: Robin LaFevers
Pages: 560
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Source: NetGalley
Available: Barnes and Noble
From the Publisher: 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?
4 Stars

I really didn’t know what to expect from this book because it’s gotten such mixed reviews. Some people have raved about it, yet I’ve seen others who disliked it so much that they didn’t even finish it. I knew that it could go either way for me.

Fortunately, I loved it!

I mean, c’mon – a convent full of assassin nuns!

It was, I admit, somewhat predictable in parts. But then, it’s rare to find any book with a romance involved in it that isn’t. And Duval is my very favorite sort of man in a book. He has notes of Jericho Barrons in him, without being quite the bastard that Barrons could be.

The mythology presented in this book was fascinating to me. Ismae (isn’t that a beautiful name?) is a handmaiden of Death – her father was one of the old gods now worshipped as a saint within the church. That means that she has supernatural gifts including immunity to poisons, being able to see the “marque of death” that Mortain has placed on someone who must die, and the ability to converse with souls after death. Because of this, she has been trained as an assassin.

These are all things that made this book stand out to me. It is not simply another supernatural/paranormal book. The world building and plot development are all refreshingly original. There is murder, espionage, treachery, war… so many action items happen within the book.

Also – there’s no love triangle, which is always a plus.

Sometimes the political scenes were a bit tedious, but they were absolutely necessary to further both plot and character development.

I’m really looking forward to book 2 – which should, based on the excerpt at the end of this galley, be about Sybella (another of Mortain’s daughters trained to be an assassin). Which means the final book will hopefully be about Annith – the poor novice who has yet to leave the convent for an assignment.

Other reviews:

12 Responses to “Review: Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1)”

  1. CreativeDeeds

    I just reviewed this one too and felt pretty much the same way. I ended up really like it though. At a certain point it just kind of grabbed me. I really want to read more about Ismae and Duval but I have to admit, Sybella has spiked my curiosity. Great review!

    • Mandi Kaye

      Thanks for stopping by!

      I’m hoping that we see more of Ismae and Duval in the future books, even if it’s only in passing.

  2. Kelly @ Radiant Shadows

    I would love if the third book was about Annith! Someone else speculated that the wounded soldier that Sybella happens upon might be Beast! I would love that too – we definitely didn’t get to see enough of him.

    Great review – I absolutely loved this one. Even with all of the political drama, it had me hooked from page one!

    • Mandi Kaye

      Oh, I like that speculation! I liked Beast and wish we’d gotten to see more of him.

  3. Gaby

    I’m impatiently waiting for Grave Mercy. I already pre-order it, so I hope I like it!

    An you’re right, it’s always a plus to don’t have love triangle. I’m tired of them :S

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge