Monday, July 23, 2012

Review: Grave Mercy

Grave Mercy, by Robin LaFevers. The GoodReads summary:
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?
If a book takes place in a castle, the odds are pretty good that I’ll like it. If there’s political intrigue involved, even better. Add in a romance, and I’m all set. Grave Mercy had all of that, so I’ll bet you can guess how much I liked it.

This book was a thick sucker. I’m the first to admit I tend to steer away from long books, but the thing is, this one didn’t feel long. I was sucked in the whole time, and I felt like all those pages were put to good use. I wasn’t even tempted to start skimming, which is usually my automatic reflex for long books, so that’s saying something. The political intrigue was just so well done, and while I had my suspicions about who was behind all the devious doings in the castle, I was never sure enough that I could call the book predictable.

Ismae . . . I wouldn’t necessarily say I liked her, but I did admire her and didn’t have any issues with her as a narrator. I think she was just a little too hard-core assassin for me. I like my main characters a little more self-deprecating and with a little more humor. I totally realize that those characteristics wouldn’t have fit with Ismae or the story at all, but it’s just one of those personal preference things that kept me from fully connecting with her. She totally kicked butt, though.

Duval was a swoony enough love interest to suit me, and I love that his and Ismae’s romance was drawn out and rocky—that tends to be my favorite kind. I had a hard time getting a read on how old he was supposed to be, though. Older than Ismae, I know, but I wasn’t ever really sure by how much. A niggling complaint in the grand scheme of things, but a complaint all the same.

Overall, an awesome book that I really enjoyed. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series, which is about one of Ismae’s friends. If it’s anything like Grave Mercy, it’s going to be a good one.

Rating: 4.5 / 5


  1. I've been a little scared to read this one because of the length as well. But now I'm really excited about it. I don't have a problem with the hardcore heroines. I think they are my favourite actually.

  2. Duval should have been a hero I liked and heart belongs to Beast-I honestly cannot wait to read more about him and the continuing adventures of this order of assassin nuns!

  3. I got this off Netgalley, and it's so well written so I didn't notice how long it was! The pacing and amount of stuff in this, I think, is excellent. Thanks for the review.

  4. I like that when I need a new book, I can just come here and see what you've liked. I just finished this book, picked it up because of this post. Now I need to read the second one.

    Totally not a long book, despite the large number of pages. Though, the reading of said pages kept me up too late.

    PS - Sorry for the comment on a year old post. ;-)


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