Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1) by Robin LaFevers
“When one consorts with assassins, one must expect to dance along the edge of a knife once or twice.”
Battered and abused for the majority of her life, Ismae is saved right after her wedding ceremony from a disgusting man and sent to a convent of Mortain’s, the God of Death. There, she is schooled in the art of being an assassin and dedicated to carry out his work. For 3-4 years she is trained in many different ways to kill a man, and when she becomes 17 she is sent on her first assignment. Fairly soon Ismae is wrapped up in a mission to help the Duchess of Brittany, and forced to work with a man named Duval, who also does not want Ismae’s help.
“Why be the sheep when you can be the wolf?”
I’ve read and heard many mixed reviews on this book since it’s publication, so I didn’t know what to expect going in. I really liked this book, but it fell short of that something special that would make me love it.
Ismae is a very compelling character, if a bit ill-prepared for the assignment she was given. Duval was interesting as well, but I never really felt as if the reader really got to know him. The relationship between him and Ismae could technically be filed under slow-build, but it felt forced to me. I wish more time had been spent building their relationship because it very much felt like it went from “I can’t trust you” to “We will do our best to be together in the future” in a matter of 50 pages or so. The aboutface was too quick for my tastes.
“It is this kindness of his that unsettles me most. I can dodge a blow or block a knife. I am impervious to poison and know a dozen ways to escape a chokehold or garrote wire. But kindness? I do not know how to defend against that.”
I’m also not a giant fan of political plots in my fantasy/science fiction novels and this book was primarily that. It was done very well, but I grew a bit tiresome of it by the end of the book.
^^^Despite all of these issues I listed above, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, I felt it was a very fresh idea in the young adult genre. The book also promoted important aspects such as to think for yourself, second chances, and first impressions are not always correct. All very important themes for a ya novel.
I am very excited to read Sybella’s book next, I feel like she would be an incredibly interesting character.