Monday, June 23, 2014

Review: Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Title: Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1)
Author: Robin LaFevers
Published: April 3rd 2012
Add It: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository

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?

Let’s get one thing straight: I’m not the biggest fan of historical fiction. Yeah, I love me a few classics, but mostly I’m just not that interested in historical fiction. That doesn’t mean I don’t love historical fantasy. I had the idea that His Fair Assassin series held a bit more fantasy in it, but the fantasy part wasn’t that big. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy Grave Mercy, quite the opposite: I enjoyed this book a ton!

“When one consorts with assassins, one must expect to dance along the edge of a knife once or twice.”

Pg. 21 already managed to surprise me, so you could say that it was good start. I like how we got knowledge of what is taught in the convent, but don’t spend too much details and time on it. The chapters are very short (about 10 pages) and there’s relatively big spacing between lines so it all reads very quickly. (That’s why the second book seems so much smaller when you compare the hardcovers, but nope! It’s not since the spacing & font in Dark Triumph are way smaller.)

Ismae, even as a novice, is extremely kick-a! I loved how she went from a loyal follower to a young woman who realized that there are different interpretations to things and not everything is black and white. Her growth was pretty awesome. Duval :) Le sigh. He’s just too adorable for his own good. These two dislike each other thoroughly at first. One of my favorite romance types! We have this cliché scene where she comes down the stairs and he forgets to speak since he’s too busy staring at her.

Don’t mind me at all drooling over the pages. Ha. Yeah, this cliché scene totally got to me lol. The side characters, especially the main characters for the two companions in this series, are absolutely wonderful and very different from Ismae which I appreciated a lot.

The world is made of awesomeness and the learning experience until becoming a full-time assassin is well-written. It’s not overbearing, nor underwhelming. Later references to Ismae’s novice age more than make up for glossing over some information and make the story, plot and pace wise, even better. The writing is very simple for a historical fantasy book, but it really helps with the pacing, especially since the chapters are so short. During the middle part of the book the pacing and the plot slow down thanks to lots of scheming and plotting, so the power plays and politics may be a tad overwhelming if you’re not into those. The mystery was wonderful and kept me on my toes throughout the entire book.

I’m extremely excited about reading the next novels and discovering the world even more thoroughly. There are lots of questions in my head that are waiting to be answered and I cannot wait to find out more, plus, Beast will be one of the main characters in The Dark Triumph, whoop! This, my lovely friends, I’m very excited about :) Read this gorgeous thing with Jasprit & Tanja and it was so fun to discuss all the scheming and twists so thoroughly. Can’t wait to dive back into this world!

Overall rating: 4.3 out of 5.0
Stars: ★★★★

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  1. Yay, isn't it lovely when you discover a book in a genre that you didn't think you'd enjoy? Glad you managed to enjoy this one, I've wanted to pick it up for a while because it sounds like the world building is done well. I like the fact that Ismae goes through some pretty kickass character development. Lovely review Siiri!

  2. haha I actually quite like those cliched scenes as well! As long as the whole book isn't cliched, of course :P
    Hope you enjoy Dark Triumph! Personally I liked Grave Mercy better, but that's probably just because I like Duval better than Beast lol. (Dark Triumph is still awesome btw)

  3. Like you, I'm not a fan of historical fiction at all really. Even historical fantasy isn't my forte either. But I've heard a lot about this series and that cliche scene and the little VD gif really makes me want to read it. Hehe! Ismae and Duval sound like incredible MCs and I think aside from the historical elements I could really like this one. I may give this a try in the future. Lovely review Siiri! :)

  4. The awesome world building sounds great. I have been avoiding for a bit.

  5. Wohoo! This review is making me want to go re-read this book just to experience Ismae and Duval's awesomeness all over again. I loved those two individually and as a couple. My favorite scene in the book is when she shows him her back. My goodness! My feels were all over the place in that scene! It was sensuous and super sexy without even trying to be sexy! Ahh the feels!! <3
    (Can you tell I adore this book? :P)
    Also, yes! The world is made of awesome! I thought I would struggle with all the politics and everything, but it actually made a ton of sense to me and it was pretty exhilarating.
    You need to meet Beast asap. Gosh, that guy made me wild (I can't believe I'm saying this on a public platform. I sound like a perv), but yeah, wait until you meet him! ;)
    Fantastic review, Siiri-bear!

  6. I LOVED THIS ONE SO MUCH!! I know you said you're not a big fan of historical fiction, so that makes it even sweeter that you loved this book! I personally LOVE historical fiction, and in my opinion, this is a very well-written and well-researched historical fiction novel. I've read my fair share but THIS ONE. LOVE :D

    Terrific review, Siiri! So glad you enjoyed this one - hope you love the other two books, too!

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

  7. I hate historicals but had to read this one. Killer nuns? Yes please! I need to catch up on the series though. The length of the books always scare me off...

  8. It's been so long since I've read this book, but i thought it was okay considering the fact that I don't care for historical fiction. I'm glad you liked it and I completely fell for the idea of killer nuns when I was reading it. Great review Siiri!

    Janina @ Synchronized Reading

  9. Ahhh, I'm so glad you enjoyed this one, Siiri! This book is actually one of my favorites. I never even thought that I would enjoy it as much as I did, especially because I'm not a historical fan either. Ismae's growth really astounded me as well, I just loved seeing her grow into such a strong, mature woman. Also, Duvalll. <3 Despite the romance seeming really cliche, I honestly didn't see it that way, surprisingly, except for that one scene you're talking about. ;) (Also, that gif is SO spot on!). I totally agree about the world being made of awesomeness. LaFevers did an incredible job developing it, so I wasn't confused at all. I actually like politics and power plays, so I was never bored while reading this one, because that aspect always kept me engaged.

    Lovely review! I'm so glad you enjoyed this one! <3

  10. Siiri I am dancing right now! So excited you enjoyed this, just wait for book two. I loved it even more and cannot wait for the final book. This series has all of the elements I love.

  11. I am always so happy when I read a book with decently-sized text!

    I don't read a lot of HF, but they used to be all that I read. I'm so glad this super-hyped book worked for you!

  12. Oh yes I heard great things about this one so I'm glad you had a great time with it! I confess thatI haven't tried it myself but I should try it one day. Thanks for the nice review!

  13. YES YES YES DUVAL OH MY. Have you read book 2 yet? I plan to read it soooon. Hopefully by next week :D

  14. I loved Grave Mercy. I don't read much of Historical Fiction books but I've yet to be disappointed. I won this one in a book giveaway, and I wouldn't have read it, if it wasn't the case. Thank the giveaway gods I did because I liked it so much. Great review! I'm happy you liked this as much as I did! :)

  15. I liked it! I read books that are different from this one but this one was so good i had to buy the sequel.
    Seattle Divorce Lawyer

  16. Awesome review! I highly enjoyed Grave Mercy and I'm really excited to read the next books in the series :)

  17. I've had this book on my Kindle forever and have never gotten to it! It sounds like I really should get on it! I love a heroine who kicks butt!

  18. Their chemistry is ridiculous :D I love Duval and I like how they hated each other in the beginning.

  19. In Grave Mercy, Robin LaFevers has created the perfect blend of mystery, intrigue, romance, historical fiction and fantasy. It's definitely a book destined for my favorites shelf.

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