Holy nun assassins. I loved this book. I read most of in 2 days (564 pages, baby!) and loved practically every page of it. This is definitely one tha Holy nun assassins. I loved this book. I read most of in 2 days (564 pages, baby!) and loved practically every page of it. This is definitely one that you're going to be hearing about for a long time.
Ismae escapes from an abusive father and an arranged marriage and into the arms of the convent of Saint Mortain, Lord of Death. They take care of her and train her in the art of assassination, or vengeance as the convent sees it. But when Ismae is sent out on her second mission, everything she knows about the convent, Death's wishes, and love comes into question.
Ismae is definitely a guarded, prickly main character, but for good reason. The men she's known in her life have been nothing but cruel, so she jumps at the chance to learn the deadly arts of the convent. I really loved Ismae, she's a very strong, smart heroine. The YA genre could use a lot more of those. I loved Duval, how he respected Ismae and treated her as an ally rather than just a woman, which seems like it'd be pretty rare in the time the book is set in. Sybella was another character that I'm very interested in, although we don't see a lot of her in this book. It looks like the sequel is going to be focused on her though, so hopefully we'll get to see the reasons behind why she appears so cray-cray.
There is a LOT of court intrigue and politic type talk in Grave Mercy. Now, I'm not really a politics kind of girl. I can't even remember who ran against Obama last election. But I was actually pretty interested in the politics in Grave Mercy. I can kind of see how you might get lost in the who's who of everything, and what side everyone's on, but I wasn't affected by that because I read the book in a short amount of time, so every detail was fresh in my mind. The Duchess Anne and her little sister just melted my heart. To see such young people in the middle of war and never being able to fully trust almost anyone was heartbreaking. I will say I predicted who the traitor was, but not the reason why, so it was still a great little twist.
The romance! I loved it. Ismae is so shielded from men at the beginning, that she flinches at the slightest touch and has trouble with the "womanly arts" (hahaha) portion of her asassin job. But Duval comes along and very very (very) slowly, changes that.
This book actually reminded me a bit of Poison Study by Maria Snyder. The poisons, an abused, slightly prickly girl getting a job that involves a lot of politics, having to live in close quarters with a man she hates in the beginning. Also, both Poison Study and Grave Mercy are classified as YA (I believe) but read more like adult novels. Nothing inappropriate, but like all the inappropriate bits were toned down or taken out. I didn't mind these similarities at all though, and they're still very different books. If you loved Grave Mercy, you should definitely check out Poison Study as well.
Saint Mortain was a character that I didn't think I'd care much for, (Lord of Death, anyone?) but I really like what LaFevers did with his character. I don't want to spoil anything, but he's not the cold-hearted murderer that Death god characters are often portrayed as, and I loved that.
Grave Mercy is a fantastic book that I'd recommend to anyone who can tolerate historical fiction. No, you don't even have to really like it, I think even if you don't, you can still enjoy this book. With the great characters, intriguing court politics, unique & interesting premise, twists and turns, and perfect romance, there's something for everyone.
10/26/11 So I can review. Here's some more incoherent babbling for you. :)
SUCH an amazing book!! Definitely10/23/11 Mind blown. Can't review. Read it.
10/26/11 So I can review. Here's some more incoherent babbling for you. :)
SUCH an amazing book!! Definitely one of the best I've read this year. The mystery, the dialogue, NOAH: everything was wonderful. I think this is definitely a book you should go into not knowing anything about it. The way the story unfolds, you never know what's real and what's not, and even at the end of the book, you're still not entirely sure what happened.
Mara is the perfect protagonist. She's smart, witty, stubborn, and she's so strong. I don't know if I'd be able to go through all the things that she went through and still be able to have a clever comeback in any situation like she does. The dialogue is one of my favorite things about the book. It's just so darn funny & clever. I definitely laughed out loud quite a few times, especially in the Noah & Mara scenes. Those two are quite a pair.
And Noah. NOAH! <3 Best. Guy. Ever. I don't care if Edward Cullen sparkles, Noah Shaw is the epitome of the romantic male lead. One thing I loved about Noah and Mara is that Mara doesn't fall all over herself to be with him (or at least she tries not to. Noah's a bit hard to resist. ;)). She has things going on in her own life, big things, and she doesn't just completely trust and "instalove" him from the start, which is something pretty refreshing in YA nowadays. Noah could be considered a bit cliched I suppose; He's rich, handsome, and has that "bad boy" persona, but with a heart of gold. But I don't care if it's a cliche, when it's done this well, it doesn't matter that it's been done before.
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is a must read. It's hilarious, thrilling, and most definitely mind boggling, and the end will have you begging for the sequel (Fall 2012 folks, I don't know how we're going to make it).
**spoiler alert** I knew how that was gonna end, but still, here I am, sobbing over a fictional yeller dog. I'll be sure to rent this movie next time**spoiler alert** I knew how that was gonna end, but still, here I am, sobbing over a fictional yeller dog. I'll be sure to rent this movie next time I want my heart ripped out. I did really like the book (because I'm a masochist) & the ending, with Old Yeller's pup starting his shenanigans. :)...more
"From this day on..." His voice went even softer, but I still heard it as though he whispered it into my ear. "I***SPOILERS FOR THE PREVIOUS BOOKS***
"From this day on..." His voice went even softer, but I still heard it as though he whispered it into my ear. "I am yours.”
Okay. That's it. I officially LOVE this series. Just... wow. I really enjoyed the first two books, but this one was just on another level for me. AMAZING. :)
“I learned long ago that you don't get in the middle of a lover's spat. Nothing EVER goes as planned - People fall in love with the wrong person, someone ends up with a donkey head and then its a whole big mess."
So the book starts out right where the last one left off, with Ash & Meghan banished from the Nevernever. I can say that the beginning was just a little bit slow, but it picked up very quickly and never stopped. A few new minor characters were introduced, Razor & the Clockmaker being my favorites, and of course the old favorites were back too. Grimalkin ftw. ;)
"Be quiet, Goodfellow," Ash growled, peering into the shadows with narrowed eyes. “We’re not alone.” “Yeah? How do you figure that, prince? I don’t see anyone.” “The cait sith has disappeared.” “...Crap.”
I really loved Meghan's transformation over the series. She's pretty butt-kickin awesome in this book, and I love that she stands up for herself, and doesn't always need someone protecting her. It was realistic too though; She isn't just an amazing sword fighter after a day, and stills needs help at times, help that she's not too proud to ask for. Pretty much the perfect balance. I've read about characters that are way too wimpy and others who won't accept help unless they're dying.
"My, aren't we bossy today. Give a girl an army and it goes straight to her head."
Ash and Meghan were, of course, heart-melting (well Ash makes my heart melt at least) and my unrealistic standards for real boys were once again raised heh. I also like how the Puck and Meghan situation from the previous book wasn't just forgotten. Puck's understandably angry, and there's a bit of a blowout (which I think Meghan deserved), but Puck's just as funny and awesome as always.
"So, either you say, 'Sure, I'd love to have you along,' or you have a big bird dropping things on your head the whole trip."
The last few chapters of the book just had me hanging on for dear life. The false king - I never would have guessed who he turned out to be. It was one of those twists where you're just completely surprised, but looking back, you wonder how you didn't see it from the beginning. LOVED it.
“You enjoy making my heart stop, don't you?”
I teared up a couple times near the end, and even shed a few tears, which is unusual for me. The last chapters shot the book up another half star or so for me. The end is bittersweet, and I absolutely loved it that way. I'm a sucker for pain and star-crossed lovers & unresolved crap. :) I can't wait to read the next one!
"If I have to chase your soul to the ends of eternity, I won't stop until I find you, I promise."