Title: Grave Mercy
Series: His Fair Assassin 1
Author: Robin LaFevers
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: April 3rd 2012
So I finally dived into this series and I am so glad that I did. This was such a wonderful book, even if the language was a little weird at times. I still have a hard time accepting mayhap as a word. The history of the story was amazingly vivid and completely enthralling.
Ismae is a wonderful heroin! She’s strong and a fighter. She comes from a terrible past where she never felt wanted or loved but she doesn’t let that break her sprit. She escapes her terrible life to be thrust into a whole new world of religion and death. She’s throws everything she has into her new life, learning every way there is to kill a man… among other things. Ismae not only finds a purpose but she also finds a family in the sisters and the other girls in the covenant.
Ismae’s first assignment start a chain of events that lead her straight into the high court of Brittany. Even with all her training she feels unprepared for this high class and overly policital world where doing her duty to St. Mortain becomes more complicated than she was taught.
Her patron and possible enemy, Duval doesn’t make her life any easier. She knows that she can trust no one but the more time they spent together the harder she is finding it to keep her eye on the goals the convent set before her. Ismae even begins to wonder how well informed the sisters who guide her hand are.
Again I just loved Ismae! She’s such a strong heroin and it was just wonderful to read about her relationships with all of the characters she comes across on her mission. She and Duval have a very interesting relationship from the very beginning. Not knowing if she can trust him or not, and her sorted history with the other men in her life make getting to know him difficult at best.
Duval is a very interesting character. You don’t really know whether to love him or hate him. His extremely intelligent but it’s hard to peg is he is using that for good or for evil. He’s unswervingly loyal and that ends up being his redeemable quality. He also challenges Ismae in a good way, she hates it of course but he helps her learn to think for herself.
I loved the court of Brittany! It was like reading about the Tudors court without the tyrant king and the killing of many wives. I even loved the way the clothing was described, even though Ismae wasn’t a fan. I had no problem envisioning every step of Ismae’s journey from her humble beginnings on a turnip farm to the grandiose court of Brittany.
All in all Grave Mercy is a wonderful historical fiction novel with an awesome assassin’s twist! This book has everything I love about historical fiction, the old tradition, religious and monarchy with the intrigue of James Blond… haha. This is book on in the His Fair Assassin’s series, book two and three are about Ismae’s friends from the convent of St. Mortain and I cannot wait to read their stories as well.