Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Grave Mercy

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, #1) by Robin LaFevers (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012). Reviewed from e-ARC provided by publisher via netgalley.comnetgalley.com.

Ismae Rienne bears the mark of St. Morain, the god of death, yet her hateful father arranges a marriage for her that nearly gets her killed. Rescued by the parish priest and village herbwitch, Ismae is spirited away to a convent of nuns dedicated to St. Morain, where she is trained as an assassin. Although her first assignment hits a small snag, Ismae quickly begins her next and greater assignment in the royal court of Brittany where she poses as the cousin of one of the deceased duke's bastard sons, Gavriel Duval, to seek out and kill suspected traitors to Anne, the Duchess of Brittany.

Grave Mercy offers a unique, quasihistorical blend of action, court intrigue, and romance. The world of the convent,where Ismae is trained, remains largely undeveloped, which may disappoint some readers. LaFevers portrays the inevitable romance between Ismae and Gavriel well enough, but the court intrigue drives the story. Kindle readers, like me, might need to consult Wikipedia for a fifteenth-century political map that shows Brittany and its neighbors as this illuminates the reasons for the political plotting; the map that accompanied the e-ARC was not readable on my Kindle. Suitable for readers 13 & up.  Violence, sexual situations.

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