Monday, April 02, 2012

Review + Giveaway: Grave Mercy

Grave Mercy
Robin LaFevers
Series: His Fair Assassin, #1
Release date: April 3rd, 2012
by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Goodreads / Purchase
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?
*A copy was provided by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for review purposes*

Assassins. NUN assassins. Who is not immediately intrigued by this premise? I sure was. It started with a bang too. We are introduced to our feisty protagonist, Ismae; with a bitter childhood and a somber future, she is sent to a convent where she will train to do Death's bidding. With this great main character and exciting plot, I obviously enjoyed it, my problems lay with the historical/political stand-points where I found myself getting confused and disinterested.

I have enjoyed historicals in the past, but not being a historical nut, Grave Mercy really had me overwhelmed. I had difficulty keeping up with the characters and their roles in this immense political scandal set in a time I am unfamiliar with. I mean, I am not unintelligent, I could keep up with the main plot points but it affected my ability to truly understand these characters and, thus, develop a connection with them. I kept forgetting their roles in this conspiracy, which in turn, also affected my reactions to the twists ; the unraveling of the betrayers was not as affecting as I feel it should have been. It also didn't help that I couldn't easily go back to check the character index with my e-reader. I may have been able to follow more easily if it had been a print copy.

With that out of the way, I thoroughly enjoyed everything else. Ismae, the setting, the writing - it's all excellent and I can see why so many are absolutely in love with this title. Ismae is the type of girl everyone loves, and should also fear (if only they knew). She can kill a man in a second, she does as she pleases, and she's highly intelligent. Plus, her being constantly underestimated makes her even more dangerous. I had a blast going into this story with her. She also has a great sense of humor that had me chuckling quite a bit.

I found the writing especially wonderful. This is often a big part of why I sometimes can't get into historicals, but LaFevers gives it all a great flow with an easy to follow prose, vivid descriptions, and enchanting dialogue. I especially loved how she wrote the relationship between Ismae and Duval. It starts off as a mutual distrust, and slowly builds into sometimes heart-meltingly sweet.

Intrigue, conspiracies, scandals, betrayals - you can find it all inside these 549 pages. It does have an immense amount of historical intrigue so for those who are able to follow this will become positively entranced in this powerful, action packed novel. 

3 Hot Espressos

Thomas Allen & Son has generously offered up FIVE copies of Grave Mercy for giveaway to five lucky readers.

Open to Canadian addresses only (sorry guys, they're a Canadian distributor)
Giveaway ends April 6th, 2012
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