Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Plot Summary

Grave MercyGrave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
Series: His Fair Assassin #1
Published by: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on April 3, 2012
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Romance
Pages: 459
Source: Purchased
Buy on AmazonBook Details
Rating: ★★★★

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?

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

My review

After hearing all the rave reviews, I actually thought I would love this book more than I did. I still really enjoyed the book (hence the four stars), I just wasn’t “Z0MG CRAZY” about it.

I suppose my biggest gripe is that the beginning of the book didn’t completely pull me in. I found the first 150-200 pages or so to be pretty mediocre. I felt like not much was happening, and as a result, I wasn’t glued to my book. There was a lot of traveling, talking, and eavesdropping. It wasn’t bad — it just wasn’t that exciting.

Things did pick up a bit later on when there were more interesting events, scandals, and when love started brewing 😉

I’ll admit I’m a little disappointed that there wasn’t more of an epic twist at the ending. I kind of felt like I saw it coming from early on and then Ismae figured it out but kept quiet for a longer. So there wasn’t that much intensity leading up to calling out the traitor.

But it was definitely an enjoyable read. I love the overarching plot with Ismae struggling between her dedication to her convent and following her own heart. Although this book is obviously about Ismae’s worship of the god of Death, you can draw a lot of similarities between the themes in this book and many different kinds of religions/worships. It really comes down to a struggle between duty and your own desires. They’re interesting concepts to think about!

I’m looking forward to the second book! It sounds like it will answer some lingering questions from Grave Mercy.

The Verdict


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  1. Glad you liked it. I agree with you about expecting more of a twist, but after I thought about it…. I understood why LaFevers did it the way she did. It was almost blatant who was behind it all, and even though Ismae deep down knew, she had to be willing to shed the blinders of the convent to fully accept it. Oh and doesn’t the next book sound so interesting? I have a feeling I know what’s coming up, and I’m excited! 😀

    1. Yeah that is a good point. I guess it really would have taken a lot of reworking throughout the entire book to have more of a twist.

      I am also SUPER excited about the next book! I’m bummed that I don’t have it right now! But I’m sure it will be worth the wait 🙂

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