French History, the Lord Death, and a Convent of Assassins
Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers (His Fair Assassin, book one)
Why be the sheep when you can be the wolf?
Seventeen-year-old Ismae has had a harsh life: born the daughter of death, her “mortal” father fears and hates her, and after years of beatings and abuse, she is sold into an arranged marriage. When strangers help her to escape, she finds herself taken to the convent of St. Mortain, where she learns that she is not only Death’s daughter but also a tool of Death’s revenge. At the convent Ismae becomes strong, learning everything from poisons and hand-to-hand combat to societal etiquette and effective spying techniques. Over the years, she develops friendships, new skills, and a place she calls home. (All of this takes place in 15th-Century Brittany.)
Several years later and in the midst of her first assassination assignment–her job is to find a man “marked” with Death’s fingerprint and perform His will–she encounters a handsome but frustrating nobleman, Duval, and he becomes a complication that follows her into her next trip and provides riddles as to the protection of the Duchess of Brittany, Death’s true intent, and the way the world truly functions. As the political intrigue grows, Duval and Ismae grow closer, supposedly working together while struggling to trust one another. When the convent determines it is Death’s will that Duval be assassinated, Ismae finds herself in an emotionally tumultuous position, unsure of her loyalties and her developing feelings. All the while Brittany is threatened by attack from France and the young Duchess is in ever-growing danger and in need of Ismae’s protection. Without giving away too much of the plot or romance, let’s just say it’s a really good page-turner!
LaFevers’ in-depth grasp of history brings the tale to full bloom, pulling readers in with character relationships, morality, and historical intrigue alike as she tweaks the past to fit suit her story. Full of action, romantic tension, espionage, a strong-willed heroine, and fictional versions of historical events, Grave Mercy will appeal to fans of Kristin Cashore’s Graceling and even Andrea Cremer’s Nightshade, among other good company.
Grave Mercy is author Robin LaFevers’ first foray into young-adult fiction, and she’s better known for her children’s and young-reader series’, including Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos (Ruby’s favorite kids’ series of all time!) and Nathaniel Flood, Beastologist, though her name is listed as R. L. LaFevers on both. Ruby and I were lucky enough to meet LaFevers in person–she was so fun to talk with!–and we both agree that her newest book will put her on the YA map as someone to watch and read. Another great thing about Grave Mercy? It’s the first in a trilogy, and each book follows the fate of a different handmaiden of Death. His Fair Assassin: Dark Triumph, the second book, is set to be released in the spring of 2013.
Due to be Published: April 3, 2012
Will be available as an eBook
Images from www.amazon.com and Our Time in Juvie
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