Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Review: Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1) by Robin LaFevers

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1) by Robin LaFevers
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: April 3rd 2012
My rating: 5 stars 



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?

Grace Mercy was a unanimous winner in my end of blog poll, as the book that I needed to pick up next from my tbr pile and I am so glad that so many of you gave me the extra push to pick this book sooner rather than later, as grave Mercy was one of the best historical fiction books I have ever read. 

The lovely Siiri I planned to read this book together and because of our busy schedules we decided to read 10 chapters a day; however none of us imagined that we’d be dying to read more chapters, once we’d finished off our assigned reading. LaFevers just wonderfully knew how to throw you head first into the story. We found ourselves with our MC Ismae who’s just been married, a marriage arranged by her father. On the first night things end up going the way Ismae knew they would, but she didn’t think that she would be whisked away to a covenant and made to become a formidable figure under St. Mortain of death. Ismae was trained up to assassinate anyone who bore the marque. On her assignment Ismae asked no questions, but just did what was acquired of her. But when Gavriel Duval turns up at the covenant demanding that they at least question their supposed targets before just killing them, this has Ismae questioning whether what she is doing is right. Also on top of this the covenant need a person on the inside to keep on top of the Duchess’ dire situation and who better than Ismae who will pretend to be Duval’s mistress. 

I loved the situation that Ismae found herself, not only did she find herself questioning if she was doing the right thing, but she also found herself in an awkward position with Duval. He clearly didn’t like Ismae, but now he was stuck with her for the foreseeable future. Duval didn’t really give off the greatest impression, he came across as an enraged man who didn’t like people meddling in his business, but really did he expect Ismae to disregard what she was required to do? I loved how both were forced into this situation. (I always find book where two characters are forced in a situation or to work together the best, more so when the situation creates a lot of tension and swoony scenes between said characters and I had a feeling that we would be definitely getting a lot of this from these two characters). 

I loved the slow tense build up between Ismae and Duval; they started off as two characters that completely didn't trust one another, to two characters who knew they had to trust each other in order to support the Duchess. I loved the banter that developed between Ismae and Duval and how in situations where Ismae was doing her job, Duval would just turn up glaring to drag Ismae away. At times it did seem Ismae was getting somewhere with her role she was playing, but I did like it when Ismae found herself in an awkward situation and Duval unexpectedly came to her aid (not that she needed helping) but I liked how he knew to be at the right place at the right time. And these abrupt turn ups did really give us an insight into the sort of character he was. 

Duval really stole my heart in this book, not only was he loyal to his Duchess, he was intelligent, funny, and totally swoon worthy, I was told earlier about a few chapters which I would thoroughly enjoy and they were so worth it, but I think any scene which had Duval in it became a favourite. LaFevers also excelled in writing great characters other than Duval (I could probably talk about him for the rest of my review.) I adored Beast and De Lorrnay, I enjoyed the fun they had in their scenes (I really wished we had more of them). The same could be said of Sybella and Annith, both really shone in the little time we spent with them. And the rest of the characters from the young but brave Duchess to Abess all brought something different to the story. I truly admired the variety that LaFevers gave us. 

I also hugely enjoyed the mystery aspect to this book; we had some nice build up of tension, as we didn’t know who we really could trust. There were some characters which had me raging and needing a couple of slaps, but time and time again loyalties to the Duchess were tested. And finally after I did discover who could be the biggest ever fraud, I was still floored as to why they had deceived us so much in the first place. So Grace Mercy was definitely a book which kept on my toes with its great mystery, will she/ won’t they moments and of course continual aspects of fear that something could go horribly wrong. LeFevers weaves elements of sabotage in to this story wonderfully alongside aspects of heart break. (highlight to view spoiler) De Lornay *cries* why?. And for this reason I can say this is one of the best books I have read in a long time!



29 comments:

  1. I seriously need to finish this book! I remember trying to read until 5% and the beginning was kind of slow, but it looks like I'm seriously missing out on some awesome things (like Duval and some banter!). Awesome review, Jasprit!

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  2. Wow, definitely gonna push this up the TBR after reading your 5 star review! Duval sounds like a darling.

    Lovely review, Jasprit! <33

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  3. EEEEEP, YAY JASPRIT! I so loved this one and like you, didn't imagine how much I could love it. I went from dragging my feet to read it to WOW I WANT MORE in no time. So happy you loved it :)

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  4. *jumps up and down*
    JASPRITTT!!! I'm so happy you loved this one as much as I did. I sort of knew that you would love it because there are so many elements that typically please you in books, but I'm still beyond excited you loved this. This is one of my favorite series. Wait until you read the next book. That one will emotionally destroy you, but my gosh, the swoons! <3
    I'm with you on Duval. He was most probably my favorite part of this series. I loved how he was always there for Ismae and his loyalty to the Duchess was endearing. And of course, he was beyond swoon-worthy. That scene where he sees her scars for the first time? I nearly combusted from all that sexual tension. :)

    Great review, Jasprit. I hope you'll love the next book as much. :)

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  5. I've had this on my shelf forever, and yet I've failed to pick it up! What's wrong with me?! I seriously love the sound of this book and how very layered and complex it sounds. Plus, you make Duval sound AWESOME. Colour me sold! Lovely review, Jasprit!

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  6. Dammit Jasprit. Am I the only one who hasn't read this book now? I NEED TO READ IT!!! It sounds so amazing and really character-driven, and the character-driven books are always my favorites. Must make time for this. I've heard book 2 is even better than this one if that's even possible, so I can't wait to see what you'll think!

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  7. I remember DNFing this one when I tried it. but now I'm wondering if that was too hasty of me. I really need to get through this book now, especially since book 2 was so very much raved over, and book 3 is on its way (I think? Correct me if I'm wrong ;P) Don't read the second book just yet! Wait for meeeeee~~~

    Faye at The Social Potato Reviews

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  8. Yay! I'm glad that you loved it as much as I did. I'm dying for the third book - Mortal Heart.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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  9. Thanks to Siiri I have read this one as well! I'm thrilled that you enjoyed it as much as I did. It was so good and addicting that I had to read the sequel as soon as it was out. Great review, Jasprit :)

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  10. Brilliant review, Jas!! I also felt heartbroken towards the end - the fate of our beloved character... *sigh*

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  11. I finally got around this last summer when I got the free audiobook from SYNC. I really ended up loving it and I am planning on listening to Dark Triumph soon!

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  12. OMG. This is such a gorgeously written series that I just can't stand it. I need MOAR assassin nuns NOW, please. NOW. *taps foot*

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  13. I'm so glad we decided to buddy read, that was one of the most fun br-s I've done so far :) Ahhhh, yes! The slow build up was perfection :) Gosh, Duval is the perfect hero in my eyes. He has his moments of douchery here and there, but he always means well and you said it perfectly! LaFevers writes amazing characters. And omg, that spoiler *sobs* I wasn't too happy about it either. Can't wait to read the following books :) Gorgeous review, love!

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  14. Omg, yesss. I am so glad you loved this book as well :D It was just perfect, wasn't it? sigh. I loved it so much too. Duval! Swoon. He is the best. Agh. I think I must re-read this book AGAIN soon. <3 But yesss. That death you mention. HEARTBREAK. It was evil, wasn't it? Sob. But such a perfect book. So real and good and perfect. I hope you will love the sequel just as much :) I did. <3 Amazing review sweetie :)

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  15. I think I might be the only person on the planet who has no interest in reading this book… something about it just turns me off. I'm glad you enjoyed it though! =) I like the idea of buddy reading, that way you have someone to talk to about everything as it happens.

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  16. Although I loved Duval, I wound up being quite unimpressed with this installment. I really loved the sequel, though, so I'm thrilled you're already a fan of the series, Jasprit. I have a feeling you'll love the sequel even more! :)

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  17. I can absolutely see you loving Grave Mercy, Jasprit. I'm so glad that the poll turned up a complete winner for you.
    Great review!

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  18. Oh yes this book, it's been a while since I saw a review about it but I remember reading amazing things about it so I'm glad you had such a great time with it. The story sounds so interesting. I should try one day. Thanks for your lovely review.

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  19. I LOVED Grave Mercy! It was so unique and well written. Robin LaFevers is an awesome author. I loved Ismae and Duval together. I have Dark Triumph sitting on my shelf but I really want to read it close to Mortal Heart which is still far away. Glad you enjoyed this one Jasprit! :)

    Janhvi @ The Readdicts

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  20. The build up of the romance sounds like something that I would love and I need to make sure this is on my wishlist with how much you enjoyed

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  21. I picked this book up once, ages ago and I started it but I just couldn't finish it. I think for Historical Fiction isn't one of my strong suits. I seem to find myself that if they have a romantic and/or paranormal edge to them that I might enjoy them more. However this book does remind me of Throne of Glass books! Lovely review, Jasprit! :)

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  22. I think I might need to check this out. I've been hearing wonderful things and I am a bit curious. That's great you loved it so much!

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  23. Oh, I wish I would've know about this readalong because like you, I also need some push to read this book. Next time :) I'm so glad you enjoyed this book, Ismae and Duval's relationship sounds so exciting. And the slow build: YES PLEASE! Now I've got to read this one too! Great review, Jasprit! :)

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  24. I had a difficult time with the beginning with this one, so I never really sat down and finished it. glad you loved it. I might give it another chance one day.

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  25. Oh Jas, I'm so glad you read this and loved it! LaFevers writes such swoony scenes. I love the chemistry between her characters. And wait til you read Dark Triumph. Talk about chemistry! :)

    -Maggie

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  26. I've had this on my TBR for a while but your glowing review has really made me want to pick up my copy! This sounds like a book that would tick all of the right boxes for me!

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  27. I haven't even been thinking about reading this series before you, Siiri and Tanja read it. But since all of you gave it five stars and can't stop talking about how amazing it is, I think I'd have to add it to my reading list. :)

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  28. YAY! Look at you contemporary girl loving historical fantasy! I don't think I could do a read-along where I only read 10 chapters at a time. I'd definitely read a head and get into trouble. But so fun that you did this with Siiri. I loved Ismae and Duval's slow burn romance and all the history. Sybella's story was even better for me and I'm desperate for Annith's.

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  29. I do not have adequate words in which to describe how much I love this book and the others in this trilogy. There is no one specific genre to put this book. It has it all, drama, mystery, fantasy, and a bit of history. It is a truly amazing story.
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