by Robin LaFevers
Series: His Fair Assassin Book #1
Reading level: Ages 14 and up
Hardcover: 560 pages
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children; 1 edition (April 3, 2012)
Buy the book: Amazon
Publisher: Recorded Books
Grave Mercy: His Fair Assassin, Book 1
By Robin LaFevers
Narrated by Erin Moon
Length:14 hrs and 14 mins
Buy the Audio: Audible
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?
At a glance:
Fans of The Seven Kingdoms, The Seven Realms, The Poison Study Series, as well as historical fiction lovers, will eat Grave Mercy up! Historical Fiction that feels like High Fantasy? This book has earned it’s place among my favorite books of all time.
I was so excited to get this book on audio. I've been anxiously waiting for it for ages, and was thrilled that Recorded Books had published it. I had no doubt they would pick a fantastic reader and do an amazing job. I immediately liked the narrator, Erin Moon. Her voice is kind of low and a little raspy, which I like. She kind of reminded me of Carol Monda, who is my favorite female reader. She did great with distinguishing voices, and male voices, and even threw in a few creepy sounding voices as well. The only minor disappointment for me was that, since this book is supposed to take place in history, in Europe (France/Brittany), I would have liked the reader to have more of an accent. Honestly, even a British accent would have added a little bit of the European, historical flair. However, it's hard to be too concerned with that when the reader was so good, and the story was so fantastic. If you're looking for a new audiobook, or debating between audio or hardcover, I highly, highly recommend this audio. This is one of those audiobooks that I'll be listening to over and over again! You can listen to a sample here!
Is this book High Fantasy or what?
When I first heard about Grave Mercy, I thought that it was high fantasy. I absolutely love high fantasy, so I was really excited about it. However, as I started reading, I began to realize that these were actual events and people that were being talked about. So, of course, I googled everyone, and discovered that, much of the book is based on historical events and actual people. However, even though it is technically historical fantasy, it still had the same feel to it as many of my favorite high fantasy books. There was even a map! :P
Well, I’ll start out by saying that we gave away a copy of this book for our “Kick-butt Characters Giveaway” so that should tell you something. Ismae was freakin’ tough! I loved her! She was strong, smart, fierce, brave, selfless, and loyal. She had a hard life growing up, so she was a hard person to befriend, but once she trusted you, she would do anything for you. She actually reminded me a lot of Katsa from Graceling. Something I really appreciated about her was her personal character development. She grew and changed a lot during this book, and that’s something I love. She’ll be on my favorite kick-butt heroines list from now on! I mean, she's an assassin nun!
FAVORITE, FAVORITE, FAVORITE!!! This is absolutely my favorite type of romance to read. I mean, yes, we all know that Duval and Ismae are going to end up falling for each other, but it is so awesome to watch it slowly happen. I love it when characters start out with suspicion, and trust issues with each other, and have to work to overcome their prejudices over time. It just adds so much tension, frustration, and eventually satisfaction to a romance. I just couldn’t ask for more! It was almost like taking Katsa from Graceling and Brigan from Fire and watching them fall for each other. Who needs a love triangle when there’s this much tension?!
Will You Like It?
I have to say; there are some that this book won’t appeal to. I thought it was pretty mature for YA, so those looking for a quick or light read won’t find it here. There are also some religious happenings that some might be uncomfortable with, which I’ll add more about in the content review. That being said, if you like high fantasy, historical fiction, court intrigue, fighting, romance, suspense, mystery, and intensity that keeps you holding your breath until the last page, I think you’ll love this book. When I finished reading it, I just sat there and sighed and wanted to start reading it again! So, I'd say that if you like this type of book at all, you will definitely love this book. If you've never tried historical fiction, or high fantasy, you should give this one a shot. I seriously loved this book so much! If you still aren't sure, you can check out the first chapter here!
What about a Cliffhanger?
YAY for zero cliffhanger! Grave Mercy may be a part of a series, but it could definitely still stand alone. It has a complete storyline that concludes at the end of this book. Book two sounds like it might be more of a companion, keeping with the overall storyline, but focusing on a different character. This makes me so happy, and I can't wait to read about the character in the next book!!
Will I buy it?
YES! I just got an email from Amazon saying it's on the way!! I can't wait until it gets here because it's going to get one of my coveted book shadow-box spots! Yeah, I loved it that much! I already gave the ARC to my mom so she can read it too!
The Seven Kingdoms Series (Graceling/Fire/Bitterblue) by Kristen Cashore, The Seven Realms Series (The Demon King etc) by Cinda Williams-Chima, Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
- Profanity: Mild
- Sexual Content: Heavy
- Violence: Heavy
- Other Notables: Assassin Nuns sent by the god of Death to kill people. Religious tones.