Saturday, March 3, 2012

Grave Mercy R. L. LaFevers (ARC)

The only reason why I have a copy of this book to read is because there was a 2 day special on NetGalley. And in an interesting coincidence, I finished reading this book exactly one month before it comes out (April 3 2012).

And in a nutshell, this book was excellent! Although it was fairly long for a short story (more than 500 pages), the pages flew by quickly. The story centers around Ismae, who was rescued from what would have been (to say the least) a terrible marriage and brought to the convent of St. Mortain, the god/saint of death, and taught how to be an assassin. After about 3 years, she gets sent to court to protect the Duchess (who's slightly less than 13) and finds that the convent may not be totally correct in all matters after all.

Of course, she also falls in love with Duval. I realised that most romance plots can be divided into two main categories (there may be others, but they don't appear that often). The first one, which is infamously characterised in Twilight, is the insta-love. This also appears in other stories like Die For Me and can get cliched at times. The second one is what Ismae and Duval fall under: hate-at-first sight then love. One similar example is Interrupted (Allie spends her time arguing/insulting Sam and then they fall in love). Like the first type, it can be cliched. While Grave Mercy went perilously close to this line (into cliched territory), especially with the amount of argueing they did at first, but generally, it was a very sweet romance.

But what I liked best was the intrigued. The Duchess (to be) Anne was wonderfully portrayed. I did some reading up, and while she eventually married two French Kings, this book gave her a happier ending. She's the kind of person that has an "old soul". She's mature, but still has the vulnerability of youth, and is an extremely likable character. In fact, she's my favourite character.

Judging from the fact that his is "His Fair Assassins #1", I'm guessing that there is going to be 3 books (has this been said already?). The next one is Sybella, but I think the third book would be about Annith. But sadly, I'm going to have to wait a year for the second book and more for the third. I'm just happy that at least each story can stand as a separate novel or the wait would be unbearable.

Disclaimer: I got this book from NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.


  1. Wow! Though I got this book from NetGalley, I have pre-ordered it from TBD. I want to read it in paperback but don't know if I can wait till then. Any suggestions? Is it a book I can read again, so that I may go for the ARC now and the paperback later?

    1. Hmm... I think it's possible to read it a second time. I remember flipping to the end to find out the ending so that I could focus on the rest of the book. I think you could use the ARC to read and get the plot, then read the paperback for character developement (like the relationship with Duval and Ismae or the court intrigues).

  2. This book was utterly...fascinating. It was at times brutal and very dark, but it was always fascinating. The premise of a convent where young women are trained to be both nuns and assassins was highly original, if rather strange. I was worried that I would find it difficult to sympathize with the heroine, but her feelings were so real and understandable that I couldn't help but like Ismae.

    Robin LaFevers is a master at description and atmosphere. You never once felt like you were anywhere but in medieval Europe. One of the reasons that I love me stories set in medieval time is for all of the politics and intrigues that go on in a kingdom, or, in this case, a duchy. In that respect, this book was perfect.

    1. I agree completely. The world-building here was so well done, you don't mind (in fact I love it!) the number of pages needed to build it up(:


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