Sunday, November 11, 2012

Audio Book: Grave Mercy by R. L. LaFevers


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 Review:
Grave Mercy by R.L. LaFevers 
My rating: 5 of 5 stars 

“How does one serve Death?”

Let me tell you about one of the best books I’ve read so far this year.  It is about killer nuns…. No, really, the sisters of St. Mortain (the god of death turned “saint” by the people who have slightly converted to Christianity wanting to keep the old ways alive) are the daughters of Mortain who have been trained as assassins. I mean, how cool is that?  Definitely something different from your werewolves, angels, vampires, and such. 

From the beginning, I thought the premise was amazing.  This is the story about a girl that the world has abused and used poorly, who is an outcast of her village due to the circumstances of her birth.  She is rescued from a horrible fate to be brought to a convent full of others who have been abused and used.  They learn strength, gain power, and in some cases, seek out to avenge the wrongs that have happened to them.

Ismae is a handmaiden of death, and I think she is one of the most amazing women I’ve read of recently.  She is strong, she is smart, she is eager to learn.  I even love how she can’t seem to learn to flirt and seduce a man, and feels that the womanly arts classes are pointless.  She sees things and believes she is doing the will of Mortain as told to her by the sisters of Mortain.  She speaks her mind, yet keeps so many secrets. 

She is prepared to live a life as a nun, without any attachment to any man.  But there is a real turning point for her.  Ismae gets injured, and Duvall takes care of her.  It is then she truly starts to think of what is really the will of Mortain, examine the feelings she has for Duvall, and if all who say there are friends really are. 

Duvall (nicknamed by Ismae as the royal bastard :P) is an ass with a heart.  He tries to do the right thing and you can’t help but see what a good man he really is.  But he doesn’t always do the right thing in a helpful manner.  His devotion to his half-sister, his caring for best friends, his sense of humor and his gentle manners make for a man who is very desirable (ass and all).  You kind of really want him and Ismae to get together, in hopes that they can heal the other of their outcast status. 

I think what made me truly, absolutely, and devotedly love Duvall as a character is what he says about scars, specifically about Ismae’s.  It was a comment born of kindness, caring and understanding. 

FAVORITE CHARACTER OF ALL TIME:  BEAST!!!!  He is a great minor character who I’m sure will get a chance to be a major/lead character soon *fingers crossed*.  He isn’t the best looking guy, but his manners and his willingness to be of assistance make for a great example of opposite characteristics/physical appearances combining to make a great character.

I think the duchess is an amazing girl woman. Only 12/13 years old when all of this was put before her, she was a wise woman who would not willingly stand by as a pawn.  The fact that she was an actual historical figure makes her all the more amazing.  She definitely inspires me to learn more about her, the Duchess of Brittany. 

I love how this book ended.  There was enough of a wrap up to make me, the anti-cliff hanger, happy, but left enough unresolved to give us some hope for more books (yippee!!!).

This book of intrigue, medieval customs, and assassin nuns will keep you guessing on who is friend and who is foe (kind of like a normal royal court!).  It really encouraged me to do a little free research on the subjects in this book (example: I didn’t know where Brittany was located… But I do now!). 

Overall, this is a great book.  I enjoyed it so much, and I’m dying for the next ones to come out!

Happy Reading!


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