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Mortal Heart

by Robin LaFevers

Series: His Fair Assassin (3)

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7163526,285 (4.06)14
Annith's worst fears are realized when she discovers that, despite her lifelong training to be an assassin, she is being groomed by the abbess as a Seeress, to be forever shut up in the convent of Saint Mortain.
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» See also 14 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
Whoa! This book veered off in a entirely different direction than the first two books of this trilogy. The first two books were about the convent of Saint Mortain in the late 1400s in Brittany. The convent worships one of the Nine old gods before the time of the Catholic Church. They worship Mortain, the god of death and the nuns are called the daughters of Mortain. They are taught to be assassins for their country and for Anne of Brittany who is fighting to keep Brittany independent from France.

The first two books were about two separate assassin's who were sent out to aid the duchess by the Reverend Mother/Abbess. Each assassin has special gifts like being immune to poison or being able to see and speak to spirits which help them with their jobs. They are actually sired by Mortain himself but other than their gifts, there wasn't any magic or otherworldy stuff going on.

This book, Annith runs away from the convent to find out the truth about what the Abbess is up to. Annith is the best trained assassin in the convent. She doesn't have any special gifts but she is better at everything than any of the other girls and even than some of the teachers yet the Abbess keeps sending others out on assignments. And now she wants Annith to become the new seer which will mean she will always be stuck in the convent on the island and never be able to use her skills. It makes no sense.

Here's where the story took a strange turn. Annith had camped for the night when she heard thundering hooves and hounds. It was hellequins and hellhounds led by a man named Balthazaar. Hellequin are men who have died but are given a chance to redeem themselves by serving Mortain AKA Death by hunting down lost and damned souls to usher them to the Underworld. Balthazaar insists that Annith join them as they are headed in the same direction.

Annith fears that the hellequin are really hunting her because she ran away from the convent so she goes along with them. Balthazaar is very protective of her but also distant.

It all made sense later in the book but the introduction of the hellequin threw me for a bit.

This was my favorite book of the series and I absolutely fell in love with Balthazaar. I wish there were more books or a spin-off series. ( )
  dragonlion | Jul 30, 2022 |
This was an excellent ending to the trilogy. In addition to telling Annith's story, it wove in the stories from the earlier books. As usual, the love story is a bit predictable, but still enjoyable in the end. ( )
  eri_kars | Jul 10, 2022 |
I think this one is the weakest in the trilogy, with the first being the strongest. Even the love story wasn't as compelling (and all the love stories are cliches; I have minimal patience for romance tropes but the young-girl-and-impossible-older-and-powerful-dude thing is especially ick.) Not sold on the ending, either, although glad that everyone got some level of happily ever after, because it's the sort of book where that happens. ( )
  leahsusan | Mar 26, 2022 |
I was so interested in this book, I actually started it before I'd finished the second book.

Unfortunately, though it was a good read overall, it didn't quite meet my expectations. Though the first two books contained an element of romance, this one was almost exclusively a romance from almost the beginning, and the big plot twist concerning the abbess was telegraphed rather early on, so that didn't work all that well for me.

But I did enjoy the interactions between Annith and Balthazar, and oddly, the part of the story that centered on the Hellequins was the part I found the most interesting. I could have happily spent a few more chapters running around the woods with them on the hunt. ( )
  murderbydeath | Jan 25, 2022 |
Blog Review: https://trishadoeseverythingbutstudy2.wordpress.com/2021/01/01/my-november-in-bo...

Okay, I loved this the most out of this series!!!!

Seriously, this is the best one. If you for some reason decided to discontinue with this after Dark Triumph, I'd recommend that is one because this is amazing!!

Annith is my favourite. The main reason for this is that she has no powers per se and that is why she is kept prisoner in the abbey. Or so it seems. Since she was perhaps the most relatable, I liked her the most.

Balthazar has to be my favourite love interest in this series. And it was even better when we found out his identity. He was so much like an eager puppy ready to follow whatever Annith told him to do, that he stole my heart. He's literally the cutest person ever. Even though he's Death. Which was supposed to be a surprise, but me being the stupid person I am, decided to open a spoiler marked answer to a question about this book, thinking it would be nice to know who the love interest was going to be. I just wanted the name. I hate whoever answered with Death. Why couldn't you write Balthazar instead of Death!?!?

Another thing I loved about this book was the way it ended. From the previous books, and from what I understood from Wikipedia, Anne did not have a particularly happy ending. I'm glad that was worked out, and we got a pretty good ending for her.I had read that she was going to end up marrying the King, so I was really glad when they made it a marriage of love. Somewhat. At least it wasn't complete a disaster.

I was kinda hoping that Annith would end up sleeping with 'someone' *ahem* and thus become non-eligible for the Seeress task, and I'm glad she considered it, but why isn't there a book like that out there? (On second thoughts, there must most definitely be numerous books out there with that plot, but I've not had the good fortune to come across them)

Also, one of my theories about this came true, and not only was it accurate, it was precise (Class 11 physics has drilled these two words together in my head; can't think of one without thinking of the other).This was my actual theory, confessed to Brinley, my reading buddy for this one:67%
I have this feeling that the abbess might have slept with Crunard or something.....I can't think of a worse offense...
Is it possible that Annith might be the daughter of the abbess? With Crunard? And not of Mortain at all? That's why she's normal?
I think I'm grasping at straws here
And then approximately 5 minutes later:68% and 69%
OH MY GOD I WAS RIGHT!!!!!??!?!?!?!?!?


I have never been ever completely right in any of predictions. I think. But OH MY GOD I GUESSED CORRECTLY!!??!?!


In other thoughts, I feel this makes Annith's devotion to Mortain even more beautiful, and her love for him truer.
I know I get too excited whenever one of my theories is even remotely near what was true, but I can't help it.

And, like I said in my update, I really thought that made Annith's love more true. And Mortain's as well. Because neither of them were under any obligation to be so devoted, granted Annith wasn't aware, but somehow I just really loved that.

Also, it would have been really weird if he was actually her father. And I usually avoid stories and fanfics that have a romance in which one of them knows the other from birth, or something like that, which usually gives it pedophilia vibes, but in this case, because it was more of a falling in love with the other person's soul, it was okay. It was really okay. It was more than really okay. (Brain: How the mighty have fallen. Reduced to 'okay'. Is it even a fall if your vocabulary was this bad to begin with?)(Me: Shut up)


Reading this series, I've been made more curious about Celtic gods, and paganism. I'll definitely be researching more about them, and I hope to read more from this concept. I think probably the only books I've read till date with Celtic gods is [b:The Hound of Rowan|603515|The Hound of Rowan (The Tapestry, #1)|Henry H. Neff|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1320469099l/603515._SY75_.jpg|3646120] series, and I'd love to read more! I really loved that series.

That Author's Note made me want to really read the sequels, and so I'm really excited to read the Courting Darkness series, though I'm sad that we won't have more Annith. I do like Sybella, though so it's not that much of a bad thing. I just really hope we'll keep seeing more of Annith!

I loved it, and I recommend it to anyone who read the previous two books. Or even people who might decide to read this as a standalone, though you probably won't understand a lot of what's going on. ( )
  trisha_tomy | Jun 1, 2021 |
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For Mark, again.

And always.

But especially for the last two years.
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For most, the bleak dark months when the black storms come howling out of the north is a time of grimness and sorrow as people await the arrival of winter, which brings death, hunger, and bitter cold in its wake.
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Annith's worst fears are realized when she discovers that, despite her lifelong training to be an assassin, she is being groomed by the abbess as a Seeress, to be forever shut up in the convent of Saint Mortain.

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