His Fair Assassin #1
Published April 3rd 2012
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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?
Grave Mercy is the first in the His Fair Assassin series. This book follow the adventures of Ismae from the tender age of fourteen. LaFevers does a wonderfully disturbing and heart wrenching job of showing the reader about what her childhood was like - being born from what was supposed to be an aborted pregnancy, the taunts and teasing that she grew up with for being the daughter of Death, and being sold for marriage by her abusive father to an abusive pig farmer. But then Death's light seems to shine upon her when she is sent to the convent of St. Mortian - the Saint of Death. There she is taught the the ways of Mortain, to use His gifts for His will. During her initiation in becoming a full member of the convent, she is sent to protect the Duchess, finding an alliance and trust in the most unlikely of places.
I like Ismae as a character. She grows and learns over time, starting as shy girl easily bent to her convent's mother's will - but as she spends more time away from the convent, she begins to realise that even her beloved sister are now without fault as she was led to believe. During the begin, I was not sure if I would like Ismae, with her thoughts and actions coming from a brainwashed place that could go blow to blow with that of a cult. However, she grew on me as she delves deeper within herself in trying to understand the gifts Death has given her and what, exactly, His will is.
Because this is a period novel, set in Brittany 1485, the way that the characters speak and think is a little different to the language used in the present. LaFevers doesn't go so far as to use old English, but the writing has a feel to it that make it seem as though it is from a different time.
By the end of Grave Mercy I was so engrossed in the novel that I didn't even realise that it was coming to the end I when to turn the page, but there wasn't any more there to turn. That in its self says what I thought of this novel. It is one that you cannot put down.
4 out of 5