Review: Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers.
Published April 3, 2012.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
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?
This novel got off to a quick start and kept my attention from then right through to the end. I loved the idea of assassin nuns and was really pleased with how it played out. There was intrigue and excitement, I had questions and suspicions, and by the end, I really liked the characters. I will say that I wished there had been a little more action over some of the political scheming and trouble, but I still enjoyed that part.
For the most part, I enjoyed Ismae. I liked that she was strong and determined to prove herself when given a chance in life. I also really liked that she grew throughout the novel, especially to question her previously blind faith so she could see what was truly going on around her. I will say that I didn't like her much when she had her moments of harshness, but I do understand why she was written that way because it fits well with her story. I have to mention as well that I, like Ismae, took an immediate liking to Beast. He was such a lovable character who made me smile during what was overall a pretty serious book.
I also really enjoyed how the relationship worked between her and Gavriel. The introduction to his character was fantastic and unexpected for me. It provided a great start point and even though I could tell there was going to be romance there, it made me very curious as to how it was going to come about. The build up of their relationship was perfect for their situation. It fit with how they were interacting and under their circumstances and so I was definitely invested in them as a couple because I saw the growth. I love seeing the relationship develop, so that was great.
In all, it was an enjoyable novel with different aspects that each contributed to a pretty kick-butt assassin story with a great relationship and a lot of political turmoil at its center.