Marg K.'s Reviews > Grave Mercy

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
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Jun 29, 15

bookshelves: 1-star-rating
Read from February 22 to March 14, 2012

First thing's first. I must admit that I skimmed this book. I skimmed it hard. I was also only semi-consciously reading certain bits, and I may have fallen asleep with eyes wide open a few times. In my defense, however, this book was not at all what I was expecting. Plus, it was long...and draggy...and soooo incredibly boring (in my personal opinion of course). Truth be told, the only reason I continued reading Grave Mercy through to the bitter end was because I've been DNFing way too many books lately, and consequently I guilt-tripped myself into finishing this one.

So what lured me in and convinced me to read Grave Mercy in the first place? I've got two words for you: Assassin Nuns. We all know that assassins are damn cool and totally badass. And those of us who have attended Catholic school at some point in our lives also know that the convent can be full of some really interesting & unique characters.

Take for example Sister Elizabeth. She may have been 90-years-old, 5-feet-tall, legally blind in both eyes, and extremely hard of hearing, but the woman had a surprisingly fine-tuned spidey sense that alerted her (without fail) to all of our mischievous behaviors. Additionally, she had the uncanny ability to appear out of thin air like a super-sneaky ninja whenever we were up to no good. Another example would be Sister Richard, who looked like John Goodman in drag and who we suspected had narcolepsy since she repeatedly fell asleep in the middle of class. The woman would go all She Hulk on us whenever we came within a foot of her prized ceramic miniature animal collection, but she had a wise-cracking sense of humor and an arsenal of inappropriately funny jokes that would make any standup comedian very proud.

Unfortunately, no such fascinating, eccentric personalities were present anywhere in this book. Barely any time at all was devoted to the convent at which Ismae, the heroine, was trained and the nuns were very briefly introduced by short definition of their teaching roles/titles. In fact, all of the characters in this book seemed underdeveloped, and most of them were one-dimensional, possessing a single predominant trait that defined who they were (aside from being categorized as one of the good guys or one of the bad guys). I also had no freakin' clue what anyone actually looked like. Descriptions were provided, but the characterizations were so superficial that I could never concretely picture them in my mind.

This brings me to my biggest issue with Grave lacked heart & substance. The plot dragged along a linear path with unclear significance. Characters popped in and out of the story, but I was never given the chance to really get to know them. And thus, I didn't give a damn about what happened to them or how they impacted the heroine's life & mission.

Speaking of Ismae, I never connected with her either. Her characterization seemed inconsistent & wishy-washy. She went from hating & fearing men to fixating on, drooling over, and falling in love with one at a drop of a hat. She was frustratingly closed-minded and (despite multiple red flags waving right in front of her face) didn't really stop to question who she killed & why until she conveniently fell in love with a man she was later ordered to assassinate. Moreover, she was supposedly taught how to kill a person in a hundred different ways and yet she constantly allowed herself to be manhandled by Duval (aka McBroody)—the most boring love interest eva.

And while I'm on the topic of things that bored me out of my mind, let me warn you that contrary to what the synopsis might imply, there was very little assissiny action in this book. In reality, majority of the story revolved around the predictable, cliched romance between Ismae & McBroody as well as a whole lot of tedious yawn-inducing court politics. I kept waiting for Ismae to get in touch with her inner La Femme Nikita, but the girl mostly just played dress up in cleavage exposing dresses, redundantly argued with McBroody, and eavesdropped on boring conversations between boring individuals.

On top of all of that, the dialogue between the characters was often stilted and at times pompous to the point of sounding silly & lame. And there were several things (like the ridiculous "sexual healing" scene) that made no sense to me whatsoever...and made me laugh when I'm pretty sure I wasn't supposed to be laughing.
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Comments (showing 1-13)

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Midnite I'm looking forward to your feelings about this one. It's high on my list.

rameau Kudos to you for finishing it. I couldn't.

message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

Looking forward to the review. I ended up liking the book, but I hated it at times while reading and think I'll enjoy seeing someone else focus on the negative.

message 10: by Debbie (new)

Debbie I think I have this one so waiting to hear your thoughts on it. Sounds like it needs to go to bottom of the pile.

rameau Guilt-trips have their uses when the pay off is a review such as this one. I was very disappointed with the lack of assissiny and that it was only the chosen thin smokescreen for the latest ya romance.

message 8: by Marg (new) - rated it 1 star

Marg K. rameau wrote: "Guilt-trips have their uses when the pay off is a review such as this one. I was very disappointed with the lack of assissiny and that it was only the chosen thin smokescreen for the latest ya roma..."

And it wasn't even a good romance. It was the same old, tired, lame-ass, shallow formula used over & over again. That horse is long dead; so YA authors really need to stop beating it.

message 7: by rameau (last edited Mar 19, 2012 11:26PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

rameau Marg wrote: "And it wasn't even a good romance. It was the same old, tired, lame-ass, shallow formula used over & over again. That horse is long dead; so YA authors really need to stop beating it. "

I think the horse literally (abusing that word now for a reason) died in this book. It may or may not have been the one and only scene I actually liked before I gave up on it.

Never went to Catholic school myself, but you're right. This should have been either about those years learning within the nunnery or about the actual assassinations outside. And look! This is another series. Yay. There would have been plenty of time for some in depth character development.

Judy This book actually sounded kind of interesting. Was the romance another insta-love?

message 5: by Angélica (new) - added it

Angélica Thanks for the review. This is now crossed off my list. I really, really want to read some badass assassin nun stuff so this would be a disappointment if I read this.

Verity Agreed! Couldn't have put it better myself.

Bubblez I totally agree with you. I picked up the book because I'm superficial (I liked the cover) After reading the summary I thought this was going to be some historical version of Nikita. I stopped reading when she met her love interest. Can't even remember his name now. The 'sexual healing' thing sounds weird.

message 2: by Hi (new)

Hi Do you like any books?

Jaima I couldn't credit the sexual healing thing either. Was all "no, she couldn't possibly...huh?!!" Could create some interesting moral dilemmas in the future though ;)

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