Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
#1 in His Fair Assassin series
published April 2012
historical fiction from the YA section
bought my copy
"Grave Mercy" is a book that I was super excited about but also a bit nervous to read. Excited because the synopsis and the excerpt I read sounded so great, and nervous because I had high expectations and feared that they would not be fulfilled. But don't worry, "Grave Mercy" did not disappoint, it is really as great and as special as I thought it would be.
The world the book plays in, Brittany in the 1480s, was fascinating to read about. It's a hard world, especially for women and young girls. A world in which men have all the power and women need to fight hard to survive. Ismae, the heroine of "Grave Mercy", had a hard start into life. Physical violence and disdain were normal elements of her life. A happier part of her life begins after she is brought into the convent of St. Mortain. A life that includes things that have nothing to do with her old life.
Ismae is to become an assassin who serves Death and nobody else. Ismae grabs this new chance life has presented her with both hands. She works hard to learn everything she needs to know to become a handmaiden to death. I found the idea with the convent that trains female assassins fascinating. I don't know why, but I always love books that have assassins in the main role. It is thrilling to read about a woman who has the strength to do what Ismae does in "Grave Mercy". She is a strong, intelligent young woman who believes in what she does. She is interested in life, in making new experiences and in proving her worth to the convent and her saint. Ismae is a special heroine, a heroine I rooted for right from the start on.
The writing style is very engaging and even though "Grave Mercy" has over 500 pages the story never got boring. I enjoyed every page of the book and always wanted to read on. The plot is fast-paced, thrilling and I loved that there was a romance between Ismae and a man she meets. A romance that fit to the time the story is set in and that fit to Ismae's personality. I also loved reading about Sybella and Annith, two other members of the convent Ismae spent her last years in. Sybella's book is next in the series and I can't wait to read it.
The mix of Ismae's mission, the power plays that go on, her discoveries about the convent and the romance was thrilling and felt just right. Robin LaFevers has created an amazing world with characters I loved reading about. The plot for the next book in the series sounds as good as the one for "Grave Mercy" and I'm happy to have discovered this new, fascinating series.