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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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1,5452114,753 (4.06)81
Member:Bookswithbite
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
Rating:*****
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Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

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English (205)  German (2)  Piratical (1)  All languages (208)
Showing 1-5 of 205 (next | show all)
Read all my reviews on http://urlphantomhive.booklikes.com

I'm so glad I read this book. Before I wasn't completely sure I was going to like it, but once I started reading it was very hard to put Grave Mercy down again.

Ismae is no stranger to death. Her mother tried to kill her still in the womb, leaving her scarred for life. After she's been saved from a disastrous marriage and taken to the Convent of Saint Mortain (one of the old Breton Gods now served as Saints), where she learns she's one of His daughters and trained to be a Handmaiden to Death. Or, in other words: an Assassin! Ismae has to take her place at the Breton court trying to make sense of the webs of lies and political intrigues that surround her everywhere. Can she keep the young Duchess safe and keep Brittany independent from France?

I really liked it. The setting of Medieval Brittany worked great and was very original as opposed to yet one more England-like country. At first I was a little bit disappointed at the fact the books skips over Ismae's training at the convent, but in the end it didn't really matter as we get to see enough of her tricks during the book. In a way, with all the political intrigues and many hidden agendas it reminded me of Game of Thrones (especially since Death's Handmaidens seem really similar to the Arya's training), but at the same time it's completely different as well. Except for Ismae's paternity, ability to withstand poison and be able to see the marque of Death, this novel is far more historical than paranormal.

Ismae was a nice character, I quite liked her. Her uneasiness at court and her transition during the book were done well. As a trained assassin she knows how to defend herself and luckily isn't waiting to be saved from one danger or another. Her relationship with Duval and the revelations at the end of the story however, were unnecessary for me, and I think the ending might have been stronger otherwise. But still it was a very enjoyable read. I can't wait to read the rest of the series.

One small thing I was wondering about. Ismae is supposed to be able to carry a crossbow underneath her dress. I don't see how the one on the cover is supposed to fit underneath that dress. Just saying.

Grave Mercy is the first book in the His Fair Assassin Trilogy. Dark Triumph (Review to come soon) and Mortal Heart are the other books and they feature Sybella and Annith, respectively.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! ( )
  Floratina | May 26, 2016 |
I liked the plot and loved the depth of the characters. ( )
  LaPhenix | May 18, 2016 |
I loved this book! It really wasn't YA in my opinion. I won't give away too much. Ismae is young at the start of the story when she is mercifully brought to the convent after being beaten and almost raped. We learn about the convent, who Ismae really is, and see some of her training to become a handmaiden of Death but the story quickly skips ahead three years to the main plot. Because Ismae had such a hard young life, she walks into her assignment believing that she will follow the will of Death no matter what and that this is her only goal in life. That serving Him is the only thing that will make her happy. As the story progresses however, and she becomes more embroiled in the deception around her, she has several revelations and her feelings about these beliefs begin to change.

The action scenes in this book kept me turning the pages and the relationship that slowly develops between Ismae and Duval as she learns to trust him was beautiful. The supporting characters were all well developed and I especially loved Beast, who I believe has a larger role in the next book.

The historical setting was detailed and I felt as if I were right there in the time period with the characters. There were just enough twists and turns thrown in to keep me guessing until almost the very end. The story wrapped up nicely but could also easily continue and while I know the next book focuses on Sybella, another of Death's daughters, I hope to hear more about Ismae and Duval as well. I completely recommend this book and can't wait to read the next one! ( )
  Lagnella | Mar 4, 2016 |
After surviving her mother's attempted abortion and her father's abuse, Ismae is married off to an abusive lout. But to her great surprise, at last she has a protector, and rather than dying at her husband's hand she is instead spirited off to the convent of St.Mortain. There she pledges her fealty to the saint/god of death, Mortain, and the sisters teach her all she might ever want to know about infiltration and assassination. Her training is only summarized, which is too bad because I love that sort of thing. Still, we get to watch her growing friendships with her fellow initiates, and I loved these relationships (so much so that I'm sorry that one of them didn't turn out to be her love interest). Her training nearly complete, Ismae is sent into court household to protect and guide the young would-be duchess of Brittany. There she tries to defend against assassinations, spies, and shifting political loyalties--but can't protect her own heart from falling in love with a potential traitor.

I liked Ismae and loved the political maneuverings, not least because this is set in a time and place that little historical fiction bothers with. It's a refreshing change, and the grounding in history gives the narrative limits and built-in twists. It's too bad that I already knew that Anne's hoped for marriages would fail, that she would be forced into marriage to not one but two French kings, removed from Brittany, and eventually fail to keep Brittany independent of France. So too is her sickly sister Isabeau doomed to die young. History is merciless to Ismae and Duval's hopes and dreams. But despite this, there are enough unknowns of that period that LaFevers has room to work, creating personalities for little-known figures and embroidering the thoughts of others. The only aspect of this that I did not like in the least was the romance, which felt forced and unnatural. When the Designated Love Interest was in peril, I secretly hoped for his death, thus freeing Ismae to pursue more interesting romances and plots. ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
Like may of the books I've been reading as of late, this has been on my TBR list for quite some time, before I finally decide to smack myself and read it already! I seem to remember hearing great things about this book, but it could have been another book that looked similar...no! I believe it was the third book that caught my attention, so I decided to read the first one so that I could read the third one...hmmm...no matter, I have finally read this, and now I will review it....

This book was chunky, and this could either be a good thing or a bad thing, in this case, it was a bad thing. When I think back to what I've read, I don't remember much of what happened in the first 350 or so pages. It was only at the 400 mark that things started to happen and I started to get excited.

Ismae's relationship with her saint/god was commendable. I really enjoyed reading a book where the main character was as devoted as Ismae was with her God. Granted, it did become a bit of a nuisance at times, but it was quite enjoyable as a whole.

I feel as if the side characters didn't get much of an appearance. Yes, I realise that this is normal since they are side characters, but I really would have liked to have seen and learned more about Beast and de Lornay. They were immensely interesting and I'm quite disappointed with how they met with their fate.

When I finally flipped to the final page of the book, I expected there to be a sequel, but apparently, there is not. There is a companion novel of sort, I suppose, but it is mainly about Sybella, a girl from Ismae's convent. I'm not too sure if I will pursue this series since I'm not looking forward to yet another (probably) chunky book, but I'd hate to leave any series unfinished, and according to the reviews I've read for the next two books, it seems to get better. That's good news... ( )
  elizabeth1929 | Feb 1, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
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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