Synopsis: 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? (SOURCE)
I don’t even know where to begin with this review. I started out taking notes as I read, but I became so wrapped up in the story they fell by the wayside. I received Grave Mercy through netgalley after getting a mass email from them. It sounded intriguing but I wasn’t 100% that it was my kind of book. Since I wanted to read something different, I decided to give it a go. Boy am I glad I did.
When you first meet Ismae, she is very young. The reader learns a little of how her life has been, how she is ‘given’ to a horrible man and forced to marry him. But then she’s spirited away by someone from her past and hand delivered to a convent.
This convent is like no other convent. It is the house of Saint Mortain’s assassins. He marques them and his lovely young girls are sent on missions to track down murderers, those that have committed treason and so on. Ismae is put through three years of training before she stars going on missions herself.
She is sent to infiltrate court and help protect the duchess of Brittany. Gavriel Duval escorts her, quite reluctantly, I might add. He’s suspicious of her, just as she’s suspicious of him. And my my but the sparks do fly. They are both strong and intense characters that pulled me right into the story. She’s meant to spy on Duval, but he’s not what she and the convent thought he might be. As Ismae gets to know him more, and as Duval learns what the Death maiden’s are truly all about, it’s obvious there is so much more than what meets the eye.
From chapter one I was intrigued and curious. The scenes are so beautifully written that you can see them, as if you’re watching a movie, not reading a book.That’s always (for me) a sign of a great book.
As the story moves along there are so many questions. They keep piling up, and even when you get answers, it just makes more questions pop up. It’s also full of intrigue and action. The plot, the antagonists, protagonists, secondary characters– they are all great, well rounded characters that make this story what it is. The lure and myth behind the book is fascinating and gets your brain really going. Ms. LaFevers built a whole world that just amazed me and made me crave more.
Oh… and Grave Mercy is a young adult book. Huh. I’m still not sure how to wrap my brain around that one. The whole time I was reading I kept thinking “isn’t this YA?? I thought it was YA.” Seriously, it reads so differently than any YA I’ve ever read. The sizzle was off the charts. I dare say it’s the only YA I’ve read that did not leave me saying “stupid fade to black” even when it faded to black. The story is so layered that I don’t even miss that part. Because I admit, I read YA but it’s not my main focus, because well– I like the smut. With this book I didn’t feel like I was missing out on things.
I can’t rave about this book enough. Like I said, I did get it from netgalley and since it will expire on my kindle, I’m planning to buy. As a matter of fact, I think I’m going to pre-order now.
Now to wait for Spring 2013 for the second book, Dark Triumph. What in the world?!