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Grave Mercy: His Fair Assassin, Book I (His…

Grave Mercy: His Fair Assassin, Book I (His Fair Assassin Trilogy) (edition 2012)

by Robin LaFevers

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1,2961826,043 (4.07)78
Title:Grave Mercy: His Fair Assassin, Book I (His Fair Assassin Trilogy)
Authors:Robin LaFevers
Info:Houghton Mifflin Books for Children (2012), Hardcover, 560 pages
Collections:Your library

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Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers


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Showing 1-5 of 179 (next | show all)
“This is what I want to be. An instrument of mercy, not vengeance.”

I felt like this book could've been something more. The main character is an assassin, yet I don't see much of any assassinations. I needed more badassery; this book was basically sprinkles of action throughout long stretches of boredom. The only action-filled scenes were at the beginning of the story and they were awesome, so I didn't expect this path that the book took a turn to.

The historical aspect of this book kind of bored me - I don't normally read historical fiction - but I felt like it could've been weaved into the story more artfully. The romance was bland and predictable. When I read this book's synopsis, my expectations soared; and by the way everyone was singing the book's praises, I expected it to be something more. However, I was sorely disappointed. This book had so much potential, which is such a shame.

Nevertheless, I'll still be reading the sequels - but with lowered expectations. In between the stretches of boredom, there were many parts of this book that just made you want to keep reading. The writing was pretty good and the similes and metaphors the author uses were incredible. So, to conclude this review, I will add some quotes that particularly impressed me from the book.

“Behind me, the door opens and Louyse bustles in. “My lady! Come away from there before you catch your death!”

Her words bring a smile to my lips. Does she think Death is some small bird with my name written on it, beating at the window in the hope that I will catch it?”

“For while I am Death’s daughter and walk in His dark shadow, surely the darkness can give way to light sometimes.”
( )
  fatimareadsbooks | Aug 18, 2015 |
I shit you not, this was the vibe I got from reading Grave Mercy.THIS IS NOT OK!!!

I understand that traumatic events can lead to a specific character trait in the future, but the nuns in this novel seem to be sipping from the Deep and Dark Pool of Radical Feminism on a daily basis.

After a very realistic and sobering start of an marriage where Ismae gets beaten by her husband on her wedding day and escapes with her life to join the convent of Death things go downhill really fast.

It would appear that almost every guy in this novel is a would be demonic rapist. All the girlies at St. Stiffies had by the words of the headmistress some kind of desire to run away from sex, marriage and those horrible ding-dongs guys have between their legs. To be a Handmaiden of Death you apparently need to be extraordinarily beautiful and have your heart filled with rage against men. The sheer hypocrisy of this novel is STAGGERING.

In the words of Ismae herself ,“Death apparently sires only comely daughters.” This is to tell us that she's the shit. Just so she doesn't sound like a conceited dick, the author also gave us this line by Ismae, at least I am not the ugliest here at one point. The whole subtle but not, backwards focus on how friggin beautiful Ismae is leaves quite a lot to be desired. It's a tactic often used, and it never fails to bring out the biggest eye rolls I've got in my repertoire.

Ismae had a shit start in her adult life, and I completely understand anger, fear and resentment the character might feel towards the institution of marriage. What pissed me off is the ease with witch Ismae wished death and suffering and actually killed men. Guys were eeeew, and they had sex drives and had gropey hands. THEY DESERVE TO DIE!

So lemme see if I got this straight?

A woman can't get assaulted without all-out condemnation of the male perpetrator, but if the same woman walks around simply killing men - nobody bats an eyelash because they are male pigs and they deserved it????


Is this shit I read here fur realz? Ismae, you are a hypocritical bitch. I don't like you.

Needless to say this book pissed me off something awful. The whole glorification of gender vendetta for no other reason than gender itself is old as modern rad-fem itself and equally stupid.

How many books have you read, and how many reviews have you seen where people were constantly appalled by the way the HERO treats the HEROINE? Yet somehow if the roles are reversed, and it's the female character that's an asshole, it's all about finding your true worth and your place in this world. And....

This whole novel is built on double standards. I FUCKING HATE DOUBLE STANDARDS!

Ismae the character, was appalling. I couldn't relate to her. I didn't want to. Her entire existence was a pathetic retreat to that place in your mind where you get instant gratification when things don't go your way. The phrase, 'I wish you were dead' really comes to life here - no pun intended. Aww, poor Ismae, she didn't have it easy. How ever are we going to help her? I know! Allow her to hold grudges against anyone who ever hurt her or upset her in any way. Then let's give her a clear path to SLAUGHTER with no repercussions whatsoever. Give her clear understanding of her own problems, but make her completely oblivious to anybody else's, justifying her stupidity of condemning an entire gender and then some, because of her own single experience. Because, you know, being a slimy, two-faced asshat is a great role model.


I am tired of weak minded females, constantly pushing their own problems on the entire world to solve. This was not empowerment, this was not helpful in any way. It only does solidify a current popular and extremely negative belief that most women think by having a vagina means you can do whatever you want, just blame it on the world, and all the while claim that your shit doesn't stink. It's shit like this, heroines like this, intolerant, pigheaded, ignorant, cruel and conceited that push us back fifty years. It's the portrayal of women in this selfish way that makes me so godamned angry I can't see straight. Ismae's husband had no right to treat her in the way he did, but also Ismae had no right to do half the stuff she did. I don't give a shit about your gender. Hold yourself with pride and think with your head not your friggin crotch.

I am the fuck outa ere.... ( )
  IvieHill | Aug 6, 2015 |
Ismae is abused and treated as a commodity for most of her life. She bears scars from the poison used on her mother while she was pregnant with her. On the night of her marriage, she is whisked away to a convent of St. Mortain, the patron saint/god of death. At the convent the girls and women are trained to kill those bearing the mark of the St. Ismae is given the duty of protecting the young duchess who is facing war with France and needs a suitor. She must go with DuVall, the duchess' half brother to live in the castle and navigate courtly intrigue, betrayal, love, and her duty. ( )
  ewyatt | Jul 22, 2015 |
** Originally posted on bunnycates.com **

My Thoughts:
I enjoyed this book, so much!

Action, historical fiction, paranormal-ness, a strong female character, a not-over-whelming non-insta-love relationship. WHU?! Can I just say “hoo-rah!”

Lets talk about the characters for a second. I loved that the main female lead in this book was a strong “stand alone” female. Though there was a bit of romance, she wasn’t all pining, nor was she a damsel needing rescuing. She was a fully fleshed out, dynamic character who had a hard life and came out stronger for it. So strong, for it, that she was an assassin!

Story wise, this book is: a little historical fiction, a little paranormal, a little action, a little mystery, a little thriller, a little romance. I don’t want to say anything too in depth about the plot because I don’t want to spoil anything.

For the sake of this review, and because I want to be honest with you guys… I want to say that even though I loved the story arc throughout, I can’t lie. There are a few points when I was like “ok, lets move on now…” haha. With that said, please take it with a grain of salt, because I am not a fan of romance. I hate romance. So anytime romancy stuff starts, my eyes start to roll and I kind of skim to get past it. This book does have a romance aspect to it, but its not so overwhelming that it made me want to stop reading. It definitely wasn’t insta-love, and I think that made it more tolerable for me.

I really enjoyed the story, the growth of the characters, the historical realism of the world building, the mystery aspect of the plot, and even the “handmaids of death” aspect. Heck, even cried a little toward the end during the big “climax”.

In Conclusion:
Loved! I devoured this book and am dying to read book two Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin Trilogy) by Robin LaFevers!! Definitely pick this one up if you like strong females, fantasy, historical fiction, and/or action adventure books!

Mom Notes:
I think this book would maybe be best for ages 13 . Does contain violence. The main character is an assassin for Death. Death in this book is a “god”, and I feel this may lead to questions about faith and religion/beliefs for younger readers.

For Parents and Students:
ATOS Book Level: 5.9
Interest Level: Upper Grades (UG 9-12)
AR Points: 20
Lexile: 850L
  BunnyCates | Jul 8, 2015 |
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LaFevers, Robinprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Moon, ErinNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Mark, who first showed me what true love looked like.
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I bear a deep red stain that runs from my left shoulder down to my right hip, a trail left by the herbwitch's poison that my mother used to try to expell me from her womb. That I survived, according to the herbwitch, is no miracle but a sign that I have been sired by the god of death himself.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 054762834X, Hardcover)

Amazon Best Books of the Month, April 2012: Seventeen-year-old Ismae was fathered by Saint Mortain, the God of Death, and one dark and stormy night, she is brought to a mysterious convent where his many daughters are trained as assassins. When she is given an important assignment to protect the Duchess of Brittany and kill the traitor in her court, Ismae begins to learn that being a handmaiden of Death may not mean what the nuns taught her. But her burgeoning independence comes with consequences, and the fate of an entire country--and the only man she could ever love--hangs in the balance. Set in medieval France with historically accurate details, Grave Mercy is the first book in a gritty, fast-paced trilogy, and gives thrilling new meaning to the term "girl power." --Juliet Disparte

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:59 -0400)

In the fifteenth-century kingdom of Brittany, seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where she learns that the god of Death has blessed her with dangerous gifts--and a violent destiny.… (more)

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