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

by Robin LaFevers

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Title:Grave Mercy: His Fair Assassin, Book I (His Fair Assassin Trilogy)
Authors:Robin LaFevers
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Rating:*****
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Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

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English (163)  German (2)  Piratical (1)  All languages (166)
Showing 1-5 of 163 (next | show all)
A bit too mature for middle school. Passing it along to my high school.
17 year old Ismae, who escapes from an abusive arranged marriage, becomes a handmaiden to death; carrying out assassinations on orders from the convent where she lives. She is ordered to assassinate Gavriel Duval, but finds herself totally unprepared to deal with a target who has stolen her heart. ( )
  JRlibrary | Sep 28, 2014 |
Read for Fun (Library Book/Book Club)
Overall Rating: 4.00
Story Rating: 4.25
Character Rating: 3.75

Read It File It Review: Overall I was very impressed with Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers! The story was strong and the characters really grew on me by the end of the story. My favorite part of Grave Mercy was the action. I'm not going to lie, I kind of like when the leading lady not only holds her own but is also the one that has to save the day without making other characters look weak. It is a nice twist to read. I will pick up the next one in the series from the library.

Book Club Thoughts: The gals at book club agreed that this was a very good read that could appeal to many different readers. One of the ladies was particularly drawn to how well the author was "true" to the time (she is a bit of a history buff). She liked the detail to how they dressed and the setting. Overall this was a win for the book club gals! ( )
  thehistorychic | Sep 26, 2014 |
4.5/5 Stars

So Assassin Nuns! What more could you ask for! This book piqued my interest purely because of said nuns. And yes they are nuns devout to Death, but it is a convent nonetheless that trains young girls to be assassins.

There is obvious female power and strength in this book with the convent being full of strong female characters. At the beginning of the book, we learn that Ismae has been treated horribly by both her parents and her husband. However, this does not stop her from escaping with the help of a priest who then takes her to Saint Mortain.

One issue I have with the book is Ismae’s immediate acceptance of her fate. She automatically trusts the nuns and believes in their cause after she survives the poisoning. She even convinces another girl to stay on her first night. Another is that after chapter 5 you jump three years ahead. While I understand that this was done to move the book along, it would have been nice to see aspects of her training.

The main chunk of this story is Ismae on her final test before taking her vows to Mortain. This test involves time with Duval. Duval is an interesting character who is clearly hiding things throughout the story but he still treats Ismae with respect and knows what she is capable of.

The interactions between Ismae and Duval throughout the book are fantastic. They are both respect each other and each other’s opinions on important matters. I love their various interactions and plotting. Together they are able to solve the mystery and find the traitor.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. The world of Assassin Nuns is enticing and magical. Cannot wait to read more in the series. ( )
  forsakenfates | Sep 21, 2014 |
The premise of this book is quite awesome. Otherwise, I wouldn't have picked it up. It's about a female assassin who was trained in a convent of assassin nuns. Unfortunately, I found it quite tedious to read. For one thing, the pace was halted by the way point of view that LaFevers chose to write in. She wrote in the first person, and in the present tense, and her language was flowery and attempted to be present itself in an older style, but it just didn't work. It didn't work because aside from a few weirdly constructed sentences, the rest of the book is written in modern grammar, and it made everything choppy, and somewhat tacky.

She stretched out the sexual tension until it dissipated completely, and then when the sex scene finally did come (at the end of the book) it was completely watered down hugging. The kisses and the hand holding were the steamiest parts of the story, and they weren't too steamy to begin with.

The book went slowly, and was often boring. My forehead hit the page a few times when I nodded off. There was promise here, and the book did pick up significantly towards the very end, but I suspect that that's because there was the resolution of so much "intrigue".

I'm not sure that I will be reading the sequel, although I admit, I want to know what happens to the rest of the characters, so I might just read it anyway.

It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't very good. I tend to love historical fiction but this fell really flat for me, despite the subject matter being so awesome. ( )
1 vote Nazgullie | Sep 11, 2014 |
Summary: "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." So begins the story of Ismay, a young woman living in fifteenth century France. Saved from a disastrous wedding to a loutish man, Ismay is spirited off to the convent of Saint Mortain. There, the sisters train girls like Ismay to be the handmaidens of death - to recognize the marks that Mortain puts on those who must die, and to carry out the assassinations by a number of means… including poison, Ismay's specialty. Soon, Ismay is being sent out on a mission of her own: protect the young Duchess of Brittany, and root out and kill the traitor in her court. The abbess sends her to court in the company of Duval, a young man who claims to be loyal to the duchess and an ally to the convent, but Ismay soon learns that Duval, like everyone at court, is hiding secrets of his own. Can she trust him while attempting to untangle the web of intrigues that surrounds the young duchess? Can she save not only the duchess's life and lands, but also her own? And how can she come to terms with what is expected of her by her convent, by her god, and by her loyalty to Brittany, when those three things are not necessarily working to the same end?

Review: I really enjoyed this book. I hadn't been reading much historical fiction lately, and I'd missed it, so this was a welcome change to my usual fare. As historical fiction goes, it wasn't the most historical I've ever read - LaFevers doesn't spend a lot of time on the "set dressing", so the story doesn't feel particularly grounded in a specific time (other than "vaguely medieval"). There are also parts that are pretty anachronistic - the main conceit of the book, the convent of teenage female assassins, for one! - but also some of the dialogue and attitudes of the characters didn't quite jibe with the period. (Obviously I don't want a book where the characters are speaking in Medieval French the whole time, but there were some modern terms and phrasings that just caught my ear wrong.)

But the lack of emphasis on the set dressing left plenty of emphasis on the story, which was a-okay by me. Ismay's story is full of intrigue, plenty of action, and some nicely-done romance (nicely-done in that it is a solid plot thread that intertwines nicely with the other elements of the story without completely taking them over.) I also liked that the conflict was not all external; Ismay having to examine her own conflicting loyalties added a nice depth to the character and the story. I did have a little trouble at times keeping the various threads of intrigue and scheming clear in my mind, mostly because I had some trouble keeping all the characters straight in my mind (a common problem for me, especially when the characters have names from a language I don't speak, and I'm listening to the audiobook rather than reading… the foreign syllables tend to blur together in my mind.) But I got the main characters and their loyalties sorted out clearly enough by the end, and really enjoyed the journey to get there (although I wish more time had been spent on Ismay's training; a lot of her time in the convent was glossed over, which was a shame, since I thought that would have been interesting). Apart from my issues with the names, I also really enjoyed the audiobook; Erin Moon does a very nice job with the voices, keeping them distinct without sounding fake.

For all of the young adult books and all of the historical fiction books I read, I am realizing that I don't read that much young adult historical fiction. But this was such an interesting read that I think I'll need to change that - and I'll definitely be checking out the sequels, to start. 4 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: Recommended for historical fiction fans, people who like stories set in medieval France, or people who think that teenage girl assassins (a la Graceling and Poison Study) are fun to read about. ( )
  fyrefly98 | Aug 21, 2014 |
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:52:13 -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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