Monday, March 26, 2012

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers


Book Blurb:
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?

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This one was read a teeny tiny little while back so my details may be a little hazy because I have some sort of short term memory loss :)

And so. Let me just put this out there. Assasins. Nuns. ASSASSIN NUNS!
Yes, bonus points for the awesome awesome idea. If that hasn’t made you want to pick up the book, then read further :)

Let me just say that Grave Mercy is one of the most original books I’ve read in a while, it had strange but wonderful ideas: gods of Old, death’s handmaids, you get the picture. One old god in particular is Mortain, the God of Death, (see? Doesn’t THAT already have your attention?)and this is where our dearest Ismae comes in. Marked by Mortain himself, she was saved and raised in a convent to be a deadly assassin. Yes, a knife wielding, garrotte tugging, ass-kicking assassin. And guess what else she deals in… Poision. Yes that’s right. Poison. Assassins and poison are one of my favourite combinations, and you can see why I was tripping over myself to get a copy of this. Think Poison study guys. Squeee.

At the beginning of the book we find Ismae being saved from a brutal and rather disturbing situation. It’s all really quite depressing. It took me a while to realise her age because of the way it was first set out, but I caught on, (she’s 17) so it’s all good.
Ismae is a flawlessly created character, Robin LaFevers managed to capture and develop a fiery and enchanting character. She’s got the skills of an assassin and she’s good at them too. At first she kind of just blindly follows but then she begins to doubt the accuracy of the convent in choosing targets. And the reasons. Instead of just ruthlessly killing someone, she finds that she wants to save them, redeem them.

Enter Duval. And like any other love interest, he knocks her world out of balance, making her doubt everything she’s been taught, everything that she thought she knew. You may be thinking: Darn, there goes Ismae’s brain. She’s gone all smushy smushy.
But NO! She is not one of those silly silly girls who sit around waiting for the love of her life. NO I cry! Ismae’s relationship with Durval is anything but. It’s funny, it’s sweet, it’s sad, and it’s passionate. It’s all of these things and more combined to make a dazzling story of manipulation, action and the sweetest of romances. AND it’s all set in the absolutely captivating medieval times, with high courts and intrigue. What more can you ask for?

ALL of Robin LaFever’s characters are so complex, some mysterious and some open, but they are all so extensively fashioned. But fear not dear readers, for you will not be bored by tiresome details about their facial-hair or outfits, as some authors feel the need to unnecessarily discuss. In. detail. Robin LaFevers cleverly slips in little nuggets of information in between her story so that she builds the characters are you go. It’s brilliant really. The writing is very pleasant to read, as mentioned, it doesn’t flood you with details but it is detailed nonetheless.

And so let me just recap. Grave Mercy is beautifully created love story, not that cheap insta-love that so many YA authors are so fond of. It has a believable pace, there is actually time for the characters to learn to know each other, and therefore to love each other… geez I’m being all smushy. BUT. Yes there is a but, it’s not JUST a love story. There are so many others things going on within this spellbinding novel, things that will make your blood run cold, things that will make you flip pages in a mad frenzy. Trust me; Grave Mercy is a marvelous, fascinating story that will make you laugh and cry, both at the same time.

Oh. Have you seen the little banner thing I have on my side bar? Clicky clicky click for excerpts and other goodies :D
Thank you to Netgalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for allowing me to read this.

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