Publisher’s summary: 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?
My take: This book is phenomenal! The moment I started reading Grave Mercy I knew that it was a lot different than anything I’ve ever read before. It’s set in a different time era (more than a few hundred years ago) and it starts out with a really horrible scene. In fact, the scene was so horrible and I felt so bad for the main character (Ismae) after that opening scene, that when Ismae is then taken to a sanctuary and discovers that she will become a trained assassin, I was absolutely thrilled! Isn’t that weird? That I should be happy that a character will be killing people? And thrilled that the character is the daughter of Death Himself?
I absolutely adored Ismae. She’s a very well developed character, and I loved every moment when she’d excitedly start looking for the first sign that would tell her when and who she could kill next. I actually caught myself giggling a couple times over these moments. And she is one kick butt heroine! There were quite a few characters that I also grew to care for or admire later on, but I don’t want to talk about them to avoid spoilers.
The romance in this book was very well developed. And I think it was developed in a way that is just right for Ismae because of all the horrible experiences she’s had with men in the past. And the way the romance was intertwined throughout the story was just the perfect touch.
I do want to touch on the writing in this book! Robin LaFevers writes beautifully! The whole story flowed very well, and I was easily sucked into the world Robin created in Grave Mercy.
The way the story ended was fabulously done and the whole book (and ending) have me craving for more. But I’m even more thrilled that we will be getting the story of a girl-character named Sybella in the sequel Dark Triumph. She was only briefly introduced in Grave Mercy and each moment she pops up in the story is so brief that I’m craving to know what the heck she’s up to.