Grave Mercy by R.L. LaFevers
Release Date: April 3rd 2012
Publishers: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book opens with fourteen year old Ismae Rienne taking part in an arranged marriage. That night, after being attacked by her new husband, she is rescued and taken to the Convent of Saint Mortain, the patron Saint of Death and one of the old gods. She meets with the abbess of the convent and learns that she was sired by Death and is one of his handmaidens. She is to train to be one of Deaths assassins, learning martial arts, how to use many different types of weapon and how to make and administer different poisons. She will then carry out Deaths work.
Three years later, she is ready for her first assignment.
When her second assignment doesn’t quite go to plan, she is placed in the household of Gavriel Duval, half brother to the Duchess. She is to watch and see if he is a traitor. And if the marque of death appears on him or anyone else at Court, she is to kill them.
But what will she do when the man she has fallen in love with has been marqued?
This is the first historical fiction book that I have read and I did not think that this was a genre that I would enjoy. But I enjoyed every page. I could not put it down. I did no housework yesterday :).
Ismae is an amazing character. She is definitely kick butt as she has been well trained but she is also intelligent. She is able to work with Duval to figure out who is traitorous and how they can secure that France doesn’t take over Brittany while making sure that Anne, the Duchess, gets a suitable husband. She is very likeable not only to the reader but also to people that she meets at Court. She is brave and merciful.
And I loved Duval. He is definitely one for my book boyfriend list. I loved the way the romance played out. They started off really not liking each other, which gradually grew to respect and finally, to love. I love a romance where the characters start off not liking each other and when the love interest is not “hot”, but becomes beautiful and sexy in their own way because of what we see on the inside.
This book had a lot of action and mystery and was not just built around the romance. The romance very much played a background part here. The characters were all really well written though I did have to really work at times to remember who everyone was. The politics throughout this book were interesting, surprisingly, as it’s not something I would have expected to enjoy.
There isn’t anything I can find to fault with this book. I would recommend it to everyone even if it’s something you don’t feel you’d like as that’s the way I felt and I absolutely loved it. It is one of those books that keeps playing on my mind, even though I finished it yesterday.
I will read the second book in the series, Dark Triumph. From the blurb, it appears that we will not be continuing on with Ismae’s story which I am sorry to see, even though the ending of this was perfect for her. I can only hope that we will see her and Duval at some point throughout the series.
"Whenever you are ready, or if you never are, my heart is yours, until Death do us part. Whatever that may mean when consorting with one of Death's handmaidens."