Review: Grave Mercy

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1) by Robin LaFevers
Release Date ~ April 3, 2012
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN13: 9780547628349
E-galley received from publisher via Net Galley
Goodreads Synopsis: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?

Grave Mercy is a truly striking novel; it captivates your interest, draws you in without ever letting go and leaves you utterly breathless at the end.
The delivery itself is nearly flawless, and this is exactly what I want to see more of in YA: a remarkable narrative born out of historical fiction and brought to life with fantasy.
  1. A phenomenal heroine:
    I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Ismae and her life; there was something so intriguing about herself and her past and I appreciated that she was determined and willing to fight back rather than allow herself to remain a victim. She's dedicated and committed, but curious as well, which lends to some rather interesting scenarios she later finds herself in. But I love reading about brave girls who aren't willing to let anything hold them down.
  2. A fairly unique premise:
    Assassin nuns? It almost sounds silly, but that's just until you start reading. Once you realize how deadly these women are, you become aware of how it isn't silly at all. It's actually quite brilliant and an excellent way to incorporate some action and excitement into a historical fiction book based on a time already riddled with political intrigue and danger and then just laces it with some more ;) I adored reading about these women who refused to subscribe to society's norms for them.
  3. Sizzling, on-page chemistry:

    To be honest, from the description alone I didn't even think there would be any romance at all! But then once we were introduced to this new male character I was really HOPING something would come up and I was so pleased when it did because I loved them together! I love it when two characters banter back and forth, and watching their relationship grow from loathsome to loving. It's completely believable, completely sweet and will leave you swooning for one of your own!
  4. The start to an exciting series:
    Grave Mercy is the first in a series BUT the next two books actually feature different characters that we're introduced to in Grave Mercy (Sybella and Annith). So, Grave Mercy is wrapped up fairly neatly in and of itself, but there's still enough there to keep you connected to the world and the storyline. It's a really great blend of a standalone novel and a series which seems like it's going to work out really well overall!
  5. Robin LaFevers' writing:
    I haven't read any of Robin's other books, but I feel like I've been missing out now! Her first YA book is impeccable; she masters the art of writing and action-packed fight scene then follows it up with a heart-pounding kissing scene. And she keeps her the voices of her characters separate from each other.
The only thing I would have added: I would have loved a bit more emphasis on the romance. There was SO MUCH TENSION for such a long time and I was just dying of anticipation, waiting for them to act on it. Seriously, that chemistry is just a killer.
I honestly can't recommend this book enough; there aren't nearly enough like it, and I really wish there were more similar ones to this. I know it's early, but I can confidently say this will make it on my Best of 2012 list.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery


Maji Bookshelf said...

amazing review!! This sounds like it would be an amazing adventure reading it!! Cant wait to read it, and LOVE your review!!

Farah @MajiBookshelf

Christina said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christina said...

Reading this soon. It sounds like it may actually be as good as the cover makes it seem.

Great review.

Christina (A Reader of Fictions)

Kelly said...

"Grave Mercy is a truly striking novel; it captivates your interest, draws you in without ever letting go and leaves you utterly breathless at the end.
The delivery itself is nearly flawless, and this is exactly what I want to see more of in YA: a remarkable narrative born out of historical fiction and brought to life with fantasy. "

YES! And I agree - a definite contender for my best reads of 2012!

Andrea @ Cozy Up said...

I love seeing amazing reviews on this book because I absolutely loved it. Definitely on my list for top reads of 2012! I agree on wishing for more of the romance, but like you I love the bantering that turns to love. I found the bantering added some great comedy to this book. Great review!! Like you I'll be recommending this book!

Angel (Mermaid Vision Books) said...

Ah yes, this was so amazing! Aren't you just on tenterhooks waiting for the next one? I'm not even mad that it's a series, because I love that Robin LaFevers is exploring different characters and plots.

Natalie said...

Yay! So glad to hear you loved this one! I'm dying to go and pick up a copy for myself! Just have to wait for my bank account to stop hurting :P

Unknown said...

I am such a sucker for a kick-ass heroine! Ah I am SO going to read this!

ChristasBooks said...

I am so excited for this book. Hoping to get to it this weekend. I love the idea of the series featuring different characters in different books.

Jessica @ Books: A true story said...

I loved the assassin nuns idea. I just read an interview from Robin LaFevers saying she went to a catholic school and she was sure that those nuns must be up to something! :) The romance was amazing. I loved her writing too! Ismae was such a cute, lost, but tough girl. I admired her a lot.

Unknown said...

hi I would actually say I did like your review on the book but I do believe that if there was more emphasis on the romance it would have killed the book. I really like the book the way it is and I know that coming from a 15-year old it does seem much, but in a way I liked the way the book was written.

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