Saturday, February 02, 2013 13:35

Review 121. Robin LaFevers – Grave Mercy.

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, #1)Title: Grave Mercy.
Author: Robin LaFevers.
Pages: 549.
Published: April 3rd 2012.
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Sort: Book 1 of ‘His fair assassin’
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?

I tried to stay away from fangirling and swooning as much as I could, but Duval *sigh* I adore him! These are the kind of books that make me think: why did I wait so long? This book is filled with awesomeness and I was completely hooked to Ismae’s story. I mean: assassin nuns. I love it!

Ismae wears the sign of Death on her body. Her mother tried to lose her from her womb with poison, but Ismae survived. She grew up under hard circumstances. Her father was abusive and he married her off to another horrible man. When he sees the scar on her back, he is horrified by her and he wants to have her executed. Ismae is rescued by the priest who married her and he ships her off to the convent of St. Mortain, the patron Saint of Death. Here, Ismae becomes one of the handmaidens of Death and her gift is poison.

After years of practice Ismae is assigned to her first task and that is how she meets Gavriel Duval. I love this guy. He is definitely swoonworthy. He is not the perfect-pretty-guy, but that’s what I liked about him. He is real because of his flaws and he sounds super attractive. The scenes between him and Ismae were filled with sexy tension. She is afraid in the beginning, but slowly she starts to see that he is a good and loyal guy.

Duval is the bastard son of the duke and the French whore. That makes him the half-brother of the new Duchess, Anne. This girl is in serious trouble. The French are on the borders, waiting to take over Brittain, and several man are asking for her hand. She must make a decision soon or everything is lost. Ismae must keep an eye on Duval for the convent, because they think he is a traitor. They are afraid that he wants to take the duchy for himself. When Ismae starts to unravel the real identity of the traitor, she decides to act against the convent. She is starting to understand that she can use her gift in other ways and it might be time to leave the convent behind.

This girl is perfect. She is everything I could ask for in a main character. She is smart, strong and feisty. A real kick-ass girl and I admire her strength, physically and mentally. There is also the amazing Duval and some other great secondary characters, like Beast. The character development is good. Ismae goes from blind trust in her convent to making her own decisions by using her head. The feelings between Duval and Ismae are sweet and there is enough time to develop. The world-building is good. There is a lot of history and politics in this story, but I wasn’t bored at all.  The writing-style was so addictive and I can’t wait for the next book. I need it now!
”Not all men are the same, you know. with someone such as Gavriel, I would suggest appearing aloof, not chasing too much. He might see that as suffocating rather than charming.” Her words are sharp, but her voice is sweet, like honey on the edge of a blade, and meant to be cutting. I comfort myself with the knowledge that if Duval ever feels smothered by me, it will be because I am holding a pillow over his face and commending his soul to Mortain.
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Mel is a microbiology technician who is obsessed with Disney, fairytale retellings and fantasy. If she's not reading or blogging, she's either busy with gaming, hanging out with family or watching a TV show. She loves summer and bright nail polish. One of her dreams is to travel the world. She has found her Prince Charming and they are together for 7+ years.


  1. Some of the political details bored me a little, I have to admit, but I really liked overall too. Ismae and Duval were brilliant characters. I agree with all your points about them! Great review, Mel. :)

    1. I can understand that! There were more people on Goodreads who had some troubles with the political details. I guess it's different for everyone :D

  2. I liked this book but was burned by the hype. So I'm steering away from any early reviews of book 2 which I think might have a hero I like more until I've read it for myself. I want to write an amazing rave review like you just did!

  3. Omg I just know I am going to love this book! I have it from the library to read soon. Ismae sounds like the kind of female lead I love reading about and the story seems so original. I know I am going to have the same thought - why did it take me so long to pick this up!! Great review!

  4. This sounds like a well-written book with great character-building. I'm definitely giving it a shot! Oh, and assassin nuns? Cool idea!

    Lyra @ Defiantly Deviant

  5. Really! I'm surprised that you loved it so much, I haven't read it because I thought it would be fight, fight, fight , fight, and nothing else, but now I'm gonna buy that book. Thanks a lot!
    Assassin nuns should be pretty cool :)

  6. Oh I agree Ismae is such a great protagonist I loved her too. I was a bit lost with all the political drama but other than that it was a real fun story! Great review, chickie!

  7. Ismae and Duval sound absolutely great! Assassin nuns must be really dangerous haha, I think I'll love the characters of Grave Mercy! Awesome review, I must have this right away :D

    Alicia @ Book a World

  8. ooh Ismae sounds like a perfect character to me as well!!! I havent read this book yet, but I think im going to regret not reading sooner as well.. Great review Mel!
    - Farah @ MajiBookshelf

  9. I still haven't read this but I'm guessing I'll have the 'why didn't I read this sooner?' thought too! The main character sounds exactly like the type I enjoy. Can't wait! Thanks for sharing your love for the book. :)
    ~Sara @ Forever 17 Books

  10. I adore this book. The politics and kick-ass heroine gave this extra edge. Glad you like this too :D


  11. It's fun to read reviews of books I've already read and enjoyed, I find myself nodding along, yes, yes, I liked that bit too, yes, etc. LOL

    Glad you enjoyed it! I can't remember how long we have to wait for the next one...

  12. I haven't read GRAVE MERCY yet, and I've been seeing plenty of mixed reviews for it. I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed it, though! Ismae sounds like the perfect MC - even with the 'signs of death' on her body. I might have to rethink on whether I should read this or not - that's how convincing your review is! ;)

    Lovely review, Mel!

  13. I loved everything about Grave Mercy - the political drama kept in suspense for much of the book, and Ismae's gradual enlightenment about her place in the world was so well done!

  14. Oh, Duval! How I adore him. Swoonworthy is right! And of course Ismae was awesome. I am excited for book two, but also sad that we will no longer be following Ismae and Duval's story again. Still, I'm looking forward to Sybella's (and Beast's??) side of the story in Dark Triumph.

    1. I've heard that they make an appearance :D I can't wait to meet Sybella.

  15. ohmygosh, ohmygosh, it's the book with assassin nuns, isn't it?! This sounds SO fantastic that I've had it held at the library for an. entire. year. already. and I'm still waiting in line to read it -sob- Awesome that you enjoyed it, Mel! I do love the sound of Duval, and haha, go ahead and swoon! He seems like he deserves it ^_~ Can't wait to read this one myself. Hopefully in the near future. Thanks for the brilliant review!


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