28 November 2013

Grave Mercy - Robin LaFevers

Ismae is the one of the daughters of death, feared and hated for all her life for the mysterious powers granted to her. That is, until she finds sanctuary with her sisters in the convent of St. Mortain, where she learns the arts of death. Three years later, Ismae embarks on her first few missions as a novice, unwittingly getting herself tangled up in the tenous politics of the Brittany court. Ismae must protect the Duchess and kill traitors to the court, but soon she finds that her orders from the convent and her own thoughts disagree immensely.

Phew, this was a quick read. It was fast-paced and never lacked in interest. In fact, there was a huge amount going on behind the scenes here. The amount of thought and research that must have gone into this book is brilliant; an almost supernatural fiction within a war that actually took place. We all know the outcome, but the story of how it happened in this book adds an extra facet to this slice of history. In fact, I might go so far as to say that it adds interest to it, as I now want to know how many of the characters may have been real people (or at least may have been based on them).

One small point to mention is that it did strike me as a similar storyline to that of Throne of Glass, and even reminded me in part of a few chapters from the Mistborn series; all these dangerous women dressing in finery to do the work of someone else, whilst enjoying the frivolity a little bit too much, and yes, even falling in love while they are meant to be working. At least in this book Ismae makes a good few kills, and isn't meant to be stone-hearted from the word go.

All the concepts in the book are extremely interesting as to the idea of worshipping death and the special gifts given to his handmaidens. The idea of 'marques' of death on those who are meant to die is one concept that really made me wonder about the idea of fate or destiny tying into the story in some way, as well as into real life. Does someone choose the way and the time in which we all die? It may be a macabre thought, but by the end of the book, my mind was reassured. After all 'death is not without mercy'.

A good little book, and I didn't see the twist coming for a while!
8 out of 10


The second book of the His Fair Assassin series, Dark Triumph, is the first person account of Sybella, another of death's daughters. It's out now, and I can't wait to get started.