Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Audio Review: 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:

My rating: 5 of 5 stars 

Grave Mercy is not like any other book I have ever read.  It combines history, assassins, conspiracy, romance, and the God of Death.  I started reading this book with an open mind and hoping for the best.  I ended the book knowing that I had just finished my all-time favorite book.

Ismae was abused most of her life, and she only escaped thanks to an herb witch who promised Ismae’s mom she would look after the girl.  She was taken to the convent of St. Mortain, the patron saint of death.  It is here that her life takes a very different turn.  Ismae discovers gifts that Mortain has given her and trains to be a deadly assassin.  There is nothing cooler than a medieval woman becoming an assassin.  Ismae struggles with the cruelty from her past, but she doesn’t let it keep her from serving the God she loves.  I love the strength that Ismae shows when facing difficult tasks whether it is taking on 3 men at once or embroidery.  She uses all of her training and life experiences to help save her duchess.  Ismae is a fighter through and through.

She meets her match with Duval.  He is the bastard brother to the duchess.  Duval is strong, caring, loyal, and very protective of the women he loves.  He would do anything to protect his sister from a bad marriage or losing her duchy.  Duval teaches Ismae that there is more to her God then what the convent let on.  They work together to keep the duchess safe and fall in love in the process.  They do not let their feelings for each other get in the way of their duty.  Duval is that rare man who does not want a prim and proper woman.  He wants the woman who has been through hardships and never gave up.  I love how tough and strong he is around everyone, but he breaks down the barriers around his two half-sisters.  Duval is not your typical knight in shining armor.  I love that he is just a man trying to protect his little sister.
The story gets interesting with different suitors who want to marry the duchess, and of course, the mystery of who is the traitor.  Ismae and Duval stay on their toes trying to keep the duchess safe from a swarm of people trying to manipulate her.   These are two very strong characters that complement each other well.  I love how Ismae is more interested in weapons then embroidery.  She is not a planner and she knows it.  Ismae wants to take action.  Duval is her planner.  He comes up with the ideas on how to keep the duchess safe. 

I love how this book shows a battered and broken woman can come back stronger than before.  She can be as loyal and useful as any man.  She can use a variety of weapons and poisons with ease.  It makes you feel like you can do anything after reading about Ismae.  The relationship between Ismae and Duval is amazing.  It isn’t love at first sight for them, and there is no definite happily ever after.  This love story seems more real to me because it isn’t all roses and honey.

I would definitely recommend this book if you want a change from the normal historical fiction books.


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