May 15, 2019

#BookReview: Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1) by @RLLaFevers @HMHteen

Title:  Grave Mercy
Series: His Fair Assassin
Author: Robin LaFevers
Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Light Fantasy

Pages:  Paperback, 576
Published:  October 2, 2018
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Rating:  🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

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Synopsis:  Enter the world of female assassins and join the daughters of Death in this first book of the New York Times best-selling His Fair Assassin series by Robin LaFevers. Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes a brutal arranged marriage into the sanctuary of a convent of assassins serving St. Mortain, the deity of death--but for a price. Perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Kristin Cashore, and Victoria Aveyard.

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?

About the Author: Robin LaFevers was raised on a steady diet of fairy tales, Bulfinch’s
mythology, and nineteenth-century poetry. It is not surprising she
grew up to be a hopeless romantic.Though she has never trained as an
assassin or joined a convent, she did attend Catholic school for three
years, which instilled in her a deep fascination with sacred rituals and
the concept of the Divine. She has been on a search for answers to life’s
mysteries ever since.While many of those answers still elude her, she
was lucky enough to find her one true love, and is living happily ever
after with him in the foothills of Southern California. Visit her website

My Review: I don't even remember when I first read this title. But it's been a long while and I never did get to finish the others in the series.  So I have to say that I was very glad and very excited when I received an ARC of the newest title that is a spin-off of this series.   Getting the chance to reread one of my favs is not something that I generally get to do.

This book starts off with a bang and ends the same way.  I really loved how it started out with our MC Ismae being only 13 (I am pretty sure) and being married off to someone who could be her father.  I know in this time period that was not uncommon but still, it really sets the tone for this story that woman are no more than property.   This is a story of one girl who is the daughter of Death and it is up to her to find her true path in life.  This story unfolds with some wonderful historical events, Gods and Goddesses or Saints and one girl who really knows how to kick some butt!  I loved every second of it.  Well other than my hardback falling apart.  But that even ended up being a blessing as I snagged the paperbacks with these beautifully updated covers and this one has a new story in the back.  It's just a deleted scene so to speak.  It is about when the girls have to test their skills on a dead body. And it was great.

The characters in this one were fabulous! I really wished that book two would have been in the same POV because I know that it is not.  And although I am sure that Ismae and Duval will be in book two I would have liked to stay in Ismae's POV.  But I guess well see how it goes.

This one was full of action and had a great pace things unfolded one scene at a time and it really worked for me.  I was hooked and never felt bored at all.  I loved all the poisons, knives, and I was really surprised about how I felt when certain characters bit the bullet and they hadn't really been in the story all that much.

One thing that I want to note about this world is the historical aspects and the fantasy.  It is a very light fantasy so if you think you're going into this and you're going to see the fey, flying, witches, etc.  You aren't. The only real magic per se that is in this one is the mark of death and that is pretty much it.  I am not sure if we will see more fantasy elements in the coming titles.  But for this one that is all there is.  The historical aspect of this was wonderful.  I loved how the author took real people and events then added in this aspect of Death's Handmaidens it worked so well!!

In the end, this reminds me of the White Princess where the woman although are property still make do with what they can in any way they can.  There is a lot of political dangers in this one as well as twists and turns.  And really you can't trust anyone in this story other than Ismae!

Go Into This One Knowing: No Insta-Love, Politics, Woman as Property, Light Fantasy 

Cynthia Leitich Smith, New York Times best-selling author of the Tantalize series: 
"A delectable simmer of intrigue and ferocity, passion and compassion. Grave Mercy sates and fascinates, even as it leaves you craving more." 

Elizabeth Bunce, author of Starcrossed and A Curse Dark as Gold:
"Chilling, deftly plotted, and with a thread of subtly crafted romance. Readers will be seduced by LaFevers's deadly snare of haunting magic and courtly intrigue."

Laura Whitcomb, author of A Certain Slant of Light
"Atmospheric, romantic, and gripping." 

Ten Teen Reads You Can't Miss, Entertainment, October 2012:
"Prepare to enjoy LaFevers' tasty court intrigue and one badass heroine." 

Starred review, Booklist:
* "With characters that will inspire the imagination, a plot that nods to history while defying accuracy, and a love story that promises more in the second book, this is sure to attract feminist readers and romantics alike."

Starred review, Kirkus Reviews:
* "LaFevers' ambitious tapestry includes poison and treason and murder, valor and honor and slow love, suspense and sexuality and mercy. A page-turner-with grace." 

Starred review, Publishers Weekly:
* "Rich in historical detail, well-realized characters, political machinations, and enticingly prickly scenes between Ismae and Duval, LaFevers's complex tale incorporates magic both sparingly and subtly. This powerful first volume of the His Fair Assassin series should attract many readers." 

Starred review, School Library Journal
* "The book is well written and filled with fascinating, complex characters who function realistically in this invented medieval world." 

Starred review, Shelf Awareness:

#3 on Kids' Indie Next List, spring 2012 

An Amazon Best Teen Book of 2012

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 Disclaimer: "All opinions are 100% honest and my own."  Thanks to Goodreads and Amazon for the book cover, about the book, and author information. Buying via these links allows my site to get a % of the sale at no cost to you. 

FTC Guidelines: In accordance with FTC guidelines regarding endorsements and testimonials for bloggers, I would like my readers to know that many of the books I review are provided to me for free by the publisher or author of the book in exchange for an honest review. If am compensated for any reviews on this site I will state that post has been sponsored. 


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