Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Source: Provided by Publisher For Review
Release Date: April 3, 2012
Amazon | Goodreads
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.Though Grave Mercy is a historical novel, it certainly didn't read like one! Ismae's story is as engrossing and action-packed as it is intelligent and emotionally driven.
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?
What I loved most about Grave Mercy was Ismae's growth from a broken, hopeless girl, to a confident and strong woman. Once taken in by the convent, young Ismae learns skills she could never have dreamed of learning in her old life. She learns thousands of ways to kill and finally finds a home in the convent. Ismae's personal growth was certainly not limited to her confidence and strength: She grew emotionally the most of all. She learned of real love, due to the kindess and trust of Duval.
Robin did a fantastic job developing the relationship between Duval and Ismae! It was such a natural and believable progression. Both Duval and Ismae were constantly on guard with one another, worried the other might betray them. Yet, somehow, over time they were able to gain each other's trust. Their love carried a realness with it that is rare in YA books these days. I also enjoyed the fact that their relationship didn't overshadow their duty. Both Ismae and Duval maintained noble and loyal intentions throughout the book.
Because I couldn’t dedicate solid reading time to Grave Mercy, the pace seemed to slow a bit in the middle. Even during that time, my desire to learn what would happen to the characters never feigned. Grave Mercy is a strong start to a hopefully fantastic series!
If you liked Graceling by Kristin Cashore then you will like Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers!