Kereesa's Reviews > Grave Mercy

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
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's review
Aug 19, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: own, 2012, assassins, historical, young-adult, fantasy-all-others, friendship, grrl-power, it-s-a-dress-it-must-be-ya, romance, own-hardcovers
Recommended for: Fans of Pierce, Cashore, and Historical Fiction
Read from August 02 to 07, 2012 — I own a copy , read count: 1

After I finished Grave Mercy, I was kind of unsure how to feel about the novel as a whole. While so much of the novel is clearly good, and definitely more than a little original in the vein of the usual YA trash book, I couldn't quite love the novel as much as I expected to.

So Grave Mercy centers on the small county of Brittany.

Of which I know absolutely nothing.

And while the novel does do a good job of keeping the political situation easily understandable, I felt there was a lack of world building in order for me to put the events/people in the context of what was going on in Europe at the time. The lack of any kind of author's note, while explained on LaFevers' website, was something I was really disappointed in (even if I did understand that the author didn't want to accidently spoil anything) since, again, I couldn't place the where/who/etc during this period in history.

The political intrigue, in general, was pretty well handled, but wasn't what I'd call particularly shocking, or what I'd expect from a novel so deliberately centered in both politics and assassination.

Of lack thereof. Seriously, this book needed more assassiny-times. I felt like we were told more about how awesome Ismae was (and how fearsomely intimidating her order was) than we actually saw. Her relationship with her faith was kind of cool, (and reminded me many times of Christianity and female saints/scholars), but ultimately totally lost respect for with the ending climax. (view spoiler)

The romance was something I was both for and against, as there was that hint of insta-romance (though perhaps it could be considered attraction more than anything), but there was also a good amount of development as well. In truth, I really did enjoy the main love interest, but never really felt anything for him the way I have for other characters in the past. The ending resolution, again, did kind of kill any real love I had for their relationship.

Another major problem I had with this novel was the near black and white quality the characters had. While it definitely seemed like there were efforts towards allowing some kind of greyness to seep through, I felt (especially in the end) the 'goodies' and the 'baddies' were easily identifiable. Grave Mercy's villains, in particular, (both Ismae's own personal ones, and those threatening the realm) were much too easy to spot for a novel I expected a lot more political intrigue and backstabbing from.

Then again, it's possible I've been living/watching GoT too much lately :P

I have to give the author props, however, in that she is moving from writing only MG stuff to jumping into the YA market, and therefore is probably still finding her feet. Despite all my criticism, I still liked Grave Mercy and was pretty addicted to its plot, characters, and writing in spite of all things I found wrong with the novel. There is a lot of good in here, and definitely promise for the series as a whole. While I'm a little undecided on whether or not I want to continue with the series (mostly because I really do like Ismae and don't want another MC), I definitely felt my experience with Grave Mercy was on the positive side.

Just no more of that miracle-saving-people-action that we saw in the end, okay?


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Reading Progress

08/02/2012 page 152

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