Angela's Reviews > Grave Mercy

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
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A genre of its own, assassins tend not to rule the YA world. Reason? Well, people do not want the young or well anyone to think killing is cool. Not to mention, assassins are difficult to master when writing in their point of view. R. L. La Fevers manages to capture the darkness and insecurities of all assassins' hearts in this medieval world of female assassins.

Ismae is a girl blessed by St. Mortain. It was obvious when she did not die after her mother tried to poison her in her womb. She is ostracized by her father and sold off to marriage at a young age. When her drunk husband discovers the scars she holds due to the poison her mother drank, Ismae runs away at the fear of her life. She discovers a home in the convent of St. Mortain where she is taught the art of killing for the sake of her saint's purpose. She faithfully follows the convent's teachings until the one day where she is sent off to a mission that changes her life.

The whole medieval female nun assassins is fascinating and world worth expanding on in the future. There are so many new, yet known rules for assassins that are elaborated to fit this time period. Instead of finding it a little dull to find all of these basic concepts repeated in Grave Mercy, I found Grave Mercy so much more exciting and understandable in terms of plot. There are so many books whose plots are left with empty holes that drive the reader insane. Not so with Grave Mercy. There are so many little details that are inserted into the text effortlessly that help make the story more fulfilling.

But I admit I raised an eyebrow when Ismae repeatedly mentioned that she was trained in the course of "Womanly Arts." I mean, seriously? It felt so awkward and repulsive when she was trying to seduce a male. Note: This happens repeatedly. Fake, that was what it was. Too unbelievable and executed quite poorly. If seducing a man, do it well is the rule. Ismae, please follow this command properly.

However, there needs to be a limit to all of these details. Grave Mercy is a romantic YA novel with a creative setting and back-story. There is a problem though. Where in the world is the romance in Grave Mercy? I was looking high and low for the romance in Grave Mercy as I was reading. The search was hopeless. I found none. This is just as bad as Romeo and Juliet. If you have read Romeo and Juliet, the two lovers fell in love in less than twenty minutes with no climatic build up. The difference between Grave Mercy and Romeo & Juliet is Grave Mercy has them making out after knowing each other for longer than an hour. Perhaps several months. It is expected for the love to happen for the two of them, of course, but there is no build-up or any true hint beyond the blurb that will give the reader this information. It is quite disappointing in that sense.

The characters of Grave Mercy are commendable creations. They all have their own little quirks and differences that leaves a lasting impression. It is easy to change emotions for the characters as fast as light due to their emotions pouring out of the pages. Empathy is something more books in the YA world need. Grave Mercy has effortlessly incorporated it into the spirit of the novel.

Grave Mercy is a strong novel with a strong protagonist with her assassin ways. She is an admirable one, Ismae. How I wish there were more like her. Every insecurity and doubt she held in herself did not make her annoying and a second-guessing moron, it made her stronger and more determined to carry out her patron saint's, Mortain's, will. I only wish she had a more believable romance with Duval, the hero of Grave Mercy. Duval was not half bad either. If only there were some scenes from his point of view. He was sweet man, so devoted to his family. Ismae and Duval deserve each other: they suit each other so well.

I recommend Grave Mercy to those who enjoy strong heroines. With a heroine at Ismae's caliber, it is almost impossible to think Grave Mercy will not be a thrill ride full of betrayal, deceit and plain hard core killing.


Thank you NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for allowing me to read and review Grave Mercy.

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Reading Progress

03/02/2012 page 269
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Comments (showing 1-50 of 51) (51 new)

Rosie Oooh! Nice review!

Angela thanks

Rosie Was this one of the books that you got early?

Angela yup!!!

Rosie How do you sign up for that kind of stuff?


Angela but it's only e-arcs

Rosie Do you have to give them any personal info?

Rosie e-arcs as in e-books?

Angela yup!!

you have to give your blog, which is goodreads, and i think address...

message 11: by Rosie (last edited Mar 08, 2012 07:19PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Rosie Oh, address to receive the books, I assume...? How many do you receive a week? Is it a good system? This must be how you get your hands on so many interesting books!

Angela address just in case publisher decides to send book to person...

very rare, never happened to me.

it is one of the reasons. but there are only a few publishers that are nice to people who do not have a blog and let them read and review books.

ex. Abrams
Harlequin (sometimes, rarely)
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (sometimes)
Randomhouse (sometimes)
Cedar fort
Egmont USA
Dark Horse Comics (do not recommend reading manga this format)

those who don't
Candlewick (used to be nice. now, way more picky)
some more...

Rosie So, how many books have you received from using this website?

Angela at least 20

message 15: by Rosie (last edited Mar 08, 2012 07:42PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Rosie Wowies. I posted on your profile wall.

Angela it seems so...

message 17: by Rosie (last edited Mar 08, 2012 07:46PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Rosie When did you shelf all your books?! I didn't know!

Angela like saturday

Rosie Oh, ok, so I haven't been THAT far out of the loop...

Angela yep!!! besides... i'm not close to done

Rosie Good luck! You're making me want to reorganize all of my stuff too!

Angela cool!!!

Rosie I guess?

Angela my dad just told my mom that she hallucinates... i hope they don't fight

Rosie Me too. Good luck!

Angela my mom just punched him in the shoulder as punishment. no fight...

message 27: by Rosie (last edited Mar 10, 2012 06:32PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Rosie Like a love tap? Or a with-all-your-strength punch?

Angela she can't punch for her life, just saying

Rosie Oh. Was it intended to hurt then?

Angela who knows... she knows that she can't punch, but she did put her whole arm into it

Rosie Well, at least she tried. :)

Angela i should teach her a proper punch

so how is your sonnet going?

Rosie Ugh, it stinks...

Angela mine is about fishing needles... but i'm still trying to insert some rhyme and stuff into it.

Rosie Mine is about technology...but it's kind of lame. I'm going to write a new one... maybe

Angela are you going to decorate?

Rosie Yeah, why not. Extra points!

Angela i still need to figure out how to decorate my fishing needle sonnet

message 39: by Rosie (last edited Mar 11, 2012 11:34AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Rosie Good luck! My kind of stinks, but I don't want to write a new one.

Angela i need to make mine longer than 6 lines

Rosie What 3 things does your sonnet include? Mine has the ABAB CDCD EFEF GG format, iamic pentameter and some shakespeare language, and a little bit of word inversion.

Angela same...

Rosie Good luck with the longer than 6 lines thing!

Angela yeah!! right now... it's 8 lines.. i got a headache...

Rosie Well, I thought it sounded nice!

Lucky Star! reference!

But it's totally not true for you, Angie, you succeed WAY more than you fail.

Angela I just spent 3 hours on math and made my dad solve this problem i spent an hour on. he still hasn't figured it out yet...

But thanks!!!

Rosie Jeez-3 hours???? Have fun with those "matrix"s.

Angela that wasn't the problem. it's complex numbers

Rosie Oi...ooh, tell me the problem!

Angela If 2+i is a root of x^3-11x+20, then what are the other two factors?

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