Book Review: Grave Mercy

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1)

by Robin LaFevers.

Grave Mercy If you’re looking for a blend of historical fiction, fantasy, intrigue and romance through a young adult filter, this book is for you. It’s the story of Ismae, a young girl in late 1400’s Brittany. Horribly scarred from birth, Ismae has always thought she was cursed. But after escaping an abusive arranged marriage, she is taken in by the nuns at the convent of St. Mortain. She discovers that her scars and certain other talents mark her as a daughter of St. Mortain (aka. the old world god of Death), and she is to be trained as Death’s handmaiden (aka. assassin). The convent serves Death, but they also serve the duchy of Brittany, and so Ismae is plunged into a world of political intrigue and danger. And, inescapably, an unexpected romance. Thrust into the unfamiliar world of the high court of Brittany, Ismae has to figure out who to trust and where she really belongs.

This was a good read. I have a bias towards liking female assassins/warriors in medieval settings (girl power!) so I’ve read a lot of such stories, and this one was a bit different. Since the setting is an actual historical period, and not pure fantasy, the story was more grounded and the political stuff more interesting. Ismae is a well-written character, and you see her growth throughout the story. The romantic interest is fun, and the touch of fantasy elements add some unexpected angles. I did figure out the ‘mystery’ well before the characters, so that felt a bit obvious. And I refuse to believe that anyone teaching/learning poisons wouldn’t also teach/learn the antidotes. But overall, I enjoyed this read.

It is part of a series, but it looks like it’s one of those series where each book focuses on a different character. In the case of this series, the other books go on to focus on some fellow trainees from the convent. Ismae’s story was wrapped up nicely, though I’m sure she’ll have cameos in the subsequent books. I will likely pick them up eventually.

I give it 4/5 stars.

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Grave Mercy

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Book Review: The Winter King

The Winter King

The Winter King by C.L. Wilson. When the rep from Harper Collins/Avon contacted me to see if I’d be interested in reviewing an advance copy of a high/epic fantasy romance, I didn’t have to think twice. Magic and princes and sexy times? Yes, please. And The Winter King delivered. Two opposing kingdoms where the royal lines inherit their own specialized kind of magic. A war ended by a marriage between the two. A prince of winter and a princess of summer both with feisty temperaments, powerful magic and (of course) an undeniable attraction to each other. And just to spice […]

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Book Review: Me Before You

Me Before You

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes Louisa is a 20-something who is the main breadwinner for her family. She just lost her job and is desperate to find a new one. An unusual option pops up at the local Job Center: daytime companion and caregiver to a quadriplegic man named Will. He has another caregiver to do the heavy medical stuff; Louisa’s job will be the lighter caregiver work and general social interaction to lift his spirits. It’s an odd job, but it pays really well, so she takes it. Of course their personalities clash initially- he is sarcastic and […]

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Book Review: Something Borrowed

Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin This was the February pick for the Blogger Book Club. I’d already seen the movie and had been ‘meh’ about it, so I hoped when this pick was announced that the book would be better. But it was also a solid ‘meh’. And there are some spoilers below, so quit reading if you don’t want to know how the book goes (though, really, you wouldn’t be hard put to guess any of what I’m revealing). I didn’t have a problem with the writing, or even the general plot. But the characters? Blah. I didn’t like […]

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Book Review: Before Ever After

Before Ever After by Samantha Sotto This is a strange and wonderful little book. I don’t remember how I heard of it to put it on my to-read list, but I’m glad I did. This is the story of Shelly, a widow of three years, who is startled one day by the arrival of Paolo, a young Italian man who looks eerily like her departed husband. He comes bearing a wild story and photos to back it up – that his grandfather (long dead) and her husband Max are in fact the same person, that he doesn’t appear to age, […]

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The Importance of Date Night

This originally appeared as a guest post over on The Observant Turtle.     There comes a point in most long-term relationships where the romance starts to fade. Not the love; one would hope if you’re sticking around there’s no problem on the love front. But at some point the excitement and conscious awareness of that love (aka. the romance) moves into the background. It becomes everyday. You’re used to it, you’re comfortable with it. For my boyfriend and I, this started to happen after we moved in together. We’ve been together over 3 years now, and the moving-in happened […]

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Book Review: The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie (Highland Pleasures, #1) By Jennifer Ashley Now, this is not normally the type of book I review on here. I like a fun romance novel as well as the next girl, but they are generally not the type of writings to warrant reviews or public acknowledgement. 😉 This one, however, is an exception. It is still very much a raunchy romance story, but it’s a great deal more than that, as well. It’s got a family shrouded in mystery and scandal, a murder (or three) to be solved, and some very well-developed characters. My […]

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