Jackie's Reviews > Grave Mercy

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
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's review
Jun 23, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: pleasure-reading, borrowed-from-library, kindle-edition, read-in-2014

Book Info
Kindle Edition, Reprint Edition, 576 pages
Published April 3rd 2012 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published 2012)
original title Grave Mercy
edition language English
series His Fair Assassin #1
characters Ismae Rienne, Gavriel Duval
setting Brittany , 1485 (France) France , 1488
other editions (18)
Source:Kindle version borrowed from Public Library

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Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

My Thoughts

From the first time I saw a review for the books in this series my goal was to get a chance to read them. Now after having read book 2 finally found a digital lending copy of book 1 thanks to my Public Library .

Ismae started out life as the daughter of a turnip farmer, a coarse brutal man who never showed her one iota of kindness and at the tender age of 14 she was sold in marriage to a man much like her father.

Ismae is spirited away from her new husband and taken to the nuns who serve the order of St. Mortain, Death, and there she learns the assassins arts that will allow her to never again fear finding herself at the mercy of men like her father or former husband.

The way in which the mystical blends with the practical is done artfully, the relationships that Ismae references sharing with her fellow novitiates Annith and Sybella show that she is still just a girl even though her training has given her wisdom and maturity far beyond that of a normal 17-year-old and the naiveté that Ismae still has yet to overcome in matters pertaining to dealing with her emotions as well as those of others gives her a vulnerability keeping her from being too hard to empathize with.

Best of all we get to see Ismae think for herself, find her own understanding of what her role as a handmaiden for Death should encompass and best of all see her find a chance for happiness in her future as life has not seen fit to bestow too much to be happy for in her past.

Though the book is long it feels much shorter as there are so many interesting tidbits of information woven throughout the political intrigue that is the backbone of the main plot.

After finishing feel well versed in the assassin’s art of poisons, not totally sure how to administer them but after having Ismae go over her inventory more than once as she prepares herself to be ready in case she needs a stealthy method for the death of a victim chosen at the will of the god Mortain that she serves have a better idea of what was available in the 15th century and what probably still is in use today.

This was an extraordinary adventure!
[Kindle version borrowed from Public Library]


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Reading Progress

Finished Reading (Hardcover Edition)
June 23, 2012 – Shelved
August 15, 2013 – Shelved as: wish-list
September 9, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
September 9, 2014 – Shelved as: pleasure-reading
September 9, 2014 – Shelved as: borrowed-from-library
September 9, 2014 – Shelved as: kindle-edition
September 13, 2014 – Started Reading
September 13, 2014 –
September 14, 2014 –
September 14, 2014 – Shelved as: read-in-2014
September 14, 2014 – Finished Reading
January 23, 2016 – Shelved (Hardcover Edition)
January 23, 2016 – Shelved as: adventure (Hardcover Edition)
January 23, 2016 – Shelved as: assassin (Hardcover Edition)
January 23, 2016 – Shelved as: book-1 (Hardcover Edition)
January 23, 2016 – Shelved as: court-intrigue (Hardcover Edition)
January 23, 2016 – Shelved as: death (Hardcover Edition)
January 23, 2016 – Shelved as: fantasy (Hardcover Edition)
January 23, 2016 – Shelved as: medieval-assassi... (Hardcover Edition)
January 23, 2016 – Shelved as: mystery (Hardcover Edition)
January 23, 2016 – Shelved as: paranormal (Hardcover Edition)
January 23, 2016 – Shelved as: poison (Hardcover Edition)
January 23, 2016 – Shelved as: politics (Hardcover Edition)
January 23, 2016 – Shelved as: romance (Hardcover Edition)
January 23, 2016 – Shelved as: strong-female-ch... (Hardcover Edition)
January 23, 2016 – Shelved as: young-adult (Hardcover Edition)

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