Review: Grave Mercy by R.L. LaFevers

May 5, 2012 Uncategorized 20

Author: Robin LaFevers
Pub Date: April 3, 2012
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Series: His Fair Assassin #1
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?

I don’t care what anyone says – I loved Grave Mercy, and it now sits on my favorites shelf.  I knew that I was going to like it when I first heard of it, because it sounded exactly like the type of book for me.  I tried not to read many reviews before I had a chance to experience it for myself, and now that I’ve finished it, I don’t want to read or hear anything negative about it.  I’ll just put my earmuffs on (haha).

So what makes it so great?  Everything!  The characters, the story, the writing, the setting, the cover, on and on.  This is historical fiction, which I love.  LaFever took a time in history and twisted it into something truly unique.  The nuns in this story are not like the nuns you are familiar with… at least, I don’t think.  The nuns in Grave Mercy are handmaidens to Saint Mortain, also known as Death – this was my favorite aspect of the book.  I am completely fascinated with Valkyrie and other death goddesses, and this story is on the same track, sans goddess status.  They are kick-ass assassins, trained in the art of weaponry, espionage, seduction, and many other ways to kill a man.  Love it!

The main character is Ismae, who was sired by Death himself.  The reader meets her at age seventeen being married off by her abusive step-father, to an equally abusive man.  Ismae survives her wedding night and makes it to the St. Mortain convent, where her life is changed forever.  But the majority of the book takes place three years later, after she has gone through her training.  I loved Ismae! I don’t recall ever being frustrated or annoyed by her.  She definitely does a lot of growing throughout the book, and I loved witnessing Ismae become strong on many levels

LaFever did a fantastic job with the relationship between Ismae and Duval.  Those who know me, know that I’m picky about my male characters, so let me tell you that I adored Duval!  The chemistry between the two was perfect, in my opinion.  Actually, there were a lot of great characters in this book, and they all played off of each other well.

Grave Mercy was one of those books that I thought about a lot when I wasn’t reading it.  It’s a little on the long side, so I didn’t have time to read it straight through, but it called to me every time I wasn’t reading it.  It was so easy to fall into this story and feel the characters.  Does that sound weird?  Oh well, I don’t know how else to explain it.  

So, would I recommend this book?  Absolutely, no doubt about it!  Grave Mercy is a must read.

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20 Responses to “Review: Grave Mercy by R.L. LaFevers”

  1. Sam

    I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it so much! I loved the characters too but the book didn't blow me away all of the time. Though I'll stop talking now before you shoot my brains out. ;)

  2. kimba88

    wahoo…i totally loved this and I am glad you did too! This is on my top fav list so far this year! Awesome review!

  3. Ashley

    Great review! :) I don't think I loved it quite as much as you did, but I did like it a lot (I gave it 4/5 stars). It was definitely a book that made me think about religions as a whole. As I said in my review, you can really use what happened in this book to look at all religions. Ultimately it's a struggle between your duty and your desires or what you feel is right. Oftentimes what religion tells you is right is not what you believe to be right.

    Definitely an interesting read! I also adore the cover!

  4. Nicola

    Lovely review! Glad to see you loved it so much. I personally couldn't finished this one. It just wasn't doing anything for me. I may have to return to it in a few weeks though and give it another shot since SO many people adore it. :)

  5. Ron C. Nieto

    Yay! I'm so glad you loved Grave Mercy this much! It sits on my favorite shelf too–LaFevers did a wonderful job of weaving together history and fantasy, to the point that her tale is fully believable and her characters about as real as they can get. Personally, I can't wait to see what the next book will be about! I have my theories, but… Argh. I can't wait!

    Thanks for the review! It was great!

  6. Lauren M.

    I'm so glad you liked it! I just got it in the mail on Friday and I get nervous when it comes to buying books. Will it be good enough for the money spent? What do I do if I hate it? I'm so neurotic and paranoid when it comes to buying books.

  7. Missie, The Unread Reader

    I spotted this one at my library, and even though I'm not one for historical fiction, I think I'll give this one a go because all the positive reviews I've been reading for it.

    I'm glad you are picky about your male characters. It means only the best come through.

  8. Christy D

    At least you liked it a lot :)

    Yeah, but not just religion – question everything. Don't follow any kind of organization or person so blindly, and think for yourself. I loved that growth in Ismae.

  9. Christy D

    I totally understand how some people can't get into this type of book – it's not for everyone. I just know that it's something that completely pulls me in. Hopefully if you do try it again it'll be more interesting. :)

  10. Christy D

    Completely agree, LaFevers did a GREAT job. I can't remember what it said about the next too book in the back of the ARC, but I have a feeling they'll focus more on the other 2 girls. That's would be cool too, because I'd love to hear Sybella's story.

  11. Christy D

    Oh I'm the same way, especially since I mostly buy ebooks. If they were physical copies I'd at least be able to pass them on to someone who might enjoy them. I hope you like GM! :)

  12. Jaime Lester

    Well, you won't hear anything negative about Grave Mercy from me. I adored this book. Loved it, craved it when I had to take a break. I ate it up. I cannot wait for Dark Triumph. Thanks for a great review of a book that deserves many great reviews!

  13. Candace

    I’m with you, I LOVED this book and I don’t want to hear any negative things about it either! I’m one of those people that goes through goodreads reading all the negative reviews and getting all angry. But I don’t leave comments or anything. I just fume inside. Obviously I DO respect their opinion, even if their WRONG! Lol. No I know we all have different tastes. But anyway, so glad you loved it too!
    Candace recently posted..Review: Of Poseidon by Anna BanksMy Profile

    • Christy

      Haha – yup, exactly! I like to read negative reviews of books I like, but I eventually had to stop doing it for the ones I LOVED.

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