Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

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?

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1I think I need to put a disclaimer on all historical, dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction that I read and review. It should probably go a little something like this – “Dear readers, pay no attention to the fact that it took me a while to get into this book. That’s just me and my brain taking it’s sweet time getting acclimated to the world the author so painstakingly created.” I don’t know why I have a hard time getting into these books. It’s certainly not because I don’t enjoy these genres, because I do. Once my brain catches up, I can sit back and devour the characters and the story. There, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way I can move on to the review.

I suppose because of the above rant… errr… explanation, there is no need to tell you that it took me a while to get into Grave Mercy. Therefore, you can ignore that fact. The important part is, once i got there, I loved it. The premise of Grave Mercy was different than any of the other YA books I’ve read for a while. The fact that took place within a historical setting only made it more unique.

Ismae was a great character. She started out as a victim, but ended up stronger than even she expected to be. The supporting characters had dimension and were easy to relate to. I really liked the glimpse the author gave us into Ismae’s thought process. She didn’t take anyone’s actions, including hers for granted and she stayed true to herself, her cause and her heart. I loved how the relationship between her and Duval developed. It wasn’t automatic for either character which made it even more believable.

The twists and turns that Grave Mercy took made this a true page turner. LaFevers didn’t make any of the plot twists predictable. There were characters that I never totally trusted, but the final outcome wasn’t at all what I expected. I like being taken by surprise. It’s even better when it comes about because of the bravery and cleverness of a character that you’ve grown to like and respect.

I’m really glad that Grave Mercy is part of a series. Even though I don’t think the next book will center around Ismae, learning more about the rest of the characters is something I’m really looking forward to.