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
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.
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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.
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 (paranormal) fiction , it still had the same feel to it as many of my favorite high fantasy books. There was even a map! :P
Ismae 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.
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?!
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 and mystery, 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!
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