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Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
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's review
Apr 20, 2012

it was amazing
Read from April 20 to 22, 2012

Read more of my reviews at Nick's Book Blog

I've wanted to read Grave Mercy ever since I saw it's cover some time back. The girl on the cover looked so kick-ass and it was the kind of book I knew I would love reading. I'm not a huge fan of historical books, but I still decided to give Grave Mercy a shot and I'm really glad I did.

14 year old Ismae's abusive father marries her to a creepy older guy. On her wedding night, a priest comes and saves Ismae's life and ships her off to the convent of St.Mortain, where the nuns serve the God Of Death. There, it dawns on her that she has been gifted by the God Of Death himself. Ismae is trained to become an assassin. Her job consists of killing anyone who deserves death. Her latest task takes her to the high court where she has to protect the duchess, Anne and murder anyone who is a traitor to the high court.

I loved Ismae. I really did. She was such an amazing character to read about. In my opinion, she gave kick-ass a new meaning. Her bravery and strength were two of her many qualities. I loved the fact that although she might have been emotionally scarred by the events of her past life, she didn't let her past reign her future. Considering everything she had gone through in the past, you would think that Ismae would complain and feel pity for herself, but not once in the book did that happen. Instead, her past made her intellectually and emotionally potent. She was a smart girl who knew how to differentiate between right and wrong. She was the kind of person who really thought about her actions before taking any decision. She understood the true meaning of responsibility and whatever task she had to do, she put her heart and soul into it. Also, she was very easy to connect with because she had a sympathetic nature. Although Ismae was basically taught to follow whatever the convent told her wordlessly, she didn't do so. After some time, she actually began to peruse if she was doing the right or the wrong thing. This only showed that she was independent and capable of making her own decision by actually using her brain, unlike many YA heroines these days. Over the course of the book, Ismae undergoes some strong emotional growth and that only made her even more likable than she was. Characters like Ismae are a treasure, according to me, because they are so rare in YA books. I believe that young readers should actually look up to characters like her because she is a good role-model, of course excluding the whole assassin part of her.

I loved every single one of the secondary characters. They were all simply brilliant. The book did have tons of characters, but I managed to recall who was who without the aid of the index at the beginning of the book only because the author managed to give each and every one of them a different personality. They were highly developed and they all were crucial to the plot. My favorite characters were most definitely Anne, the duchess who Ismae has to protect, and Duval, Ismae's love interest and Anne's step-brother. Anne was young, but not naive. In fact, I would say that she was someone incredibly mature for her age. Initially, I thought she was around the same age as Ismae, but when I came to know that she was only a 12 years old, basically a child, I was astonished. The girl had a lot obligations to look after, but because she was wise beyond her age, she knew how to handle everything calmly. Even with all the obstacles that she came across, she was always level-headed.
Overall, Ismae was a remarkable character and I hope we'll get to see more of her in the next books.
Duval was yet another secondary male character I fell hard for. He was incredible. I loved how protective he was of his sister Anne. To him, Anne's safety was the most important. He was even willing to risk his life in order to protect her. Patriotic, Duval was a man who highly regarded his nation. He was fiercely loyal to the people of his country and this was really admirable. On the outside, Duval appeared to be cold and heartless, but in reality he was someone who was full of emotions.

The romance in the book was perfectly executed. There was no insta-love and it was so great seeing the two characters fall for each other. At first, Ismae and Duval are very wary of each other. They basically tell each other nothing and for them trust isn't something that comes easily. Eventually, they learn to trust and believe each other and seeing this trust grow from nothing was fascinating. Their love was something that grew at a very slow pace. In fact, until the end they don't realize how much they mean to each other, but I'm not complaining since it made it seem real.

The plot was unique and original. I think the author did a great job at creating a somewhat new story. The history and world-building in the book were excellent. Her descriptions of the world that they are in were easy to picture in my mind. Although this is a historical book and the language is slightly different from the normal English, the author managed to keep the book gripping with her smooth writing style. With it's twists and turns, Grave Mercy kept me on the edge throughout the story. All I wanted to do was read. Not once, did I feel bored while reading because the book was really addictive. In my opinion, the author has a gift for story-telling as proved by Grave Mercy.

Politics, history, betrayal, love, friendship, loyalty, family, greed and thirst for power were all rumpled together to create this gem of a book. Finally, Grave Mercy is a book that will keep your adrenaline level high and will have you languishing for more because of it's roller-coaster of a plot.
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Reading Progress

04/20/2012 page 100
18.0% "I fell in love with Gavriel Duval at the first mention of his name ...
Why can't book characters be real ?"
04/20/2012 page 100
18.0% "I fell in love with Gavriel Duval at the first mention of his name ...
Why can't book characters be real ?"
04/21/2012 page 230
42.0% "This is pretty awesome ! :)"
04/03/2016 marked as: read
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