Ismae is rescued from a new husband, who is old and disgusting and beat her on her first night in his house. Her rescuer takes her to a convent - a special convent - where the sisters serve the God of the Dead, St. Mortain.
Ismae is trained as an assassin. She will kill whomever St. Mortain commands, through the visions of one of the sisters or just because the Reverend Mother tells her. Her victims also have a marque that the God of Death has placed on them. Ismae has totally bought into this. She's a great assassin, and can't wait for her next assignment. She believes in what she is doing, and is very devout in her faith.
Things get turned upside down. She has to pretend that she's the "cousin" of Gavriel Duval, who cannot himself be trusted. Ismae is on a quest to save Brittany from the French, but along the way she will face danger and question her true calling.
I loved Ismae. I loved how she changed, and grew, and figured things out for herself. Yes, she was scared. I guess she was "kick-ass," as I've seen her described by others, but she was so devout. She didn't hesitate (at first) but she also wasn't unnecessarily violent.
I loved the romance. This wasn't just a slow burn, this was a slow, slow, slow burn. By the time they fell for each other I could hardly stand it! Excellent....
I loved the setting. Historical fiction is my favorite, and LeFevers does a great job putting you in that time period.
I loved the many different ways of killing people. Sorry -- I just found that very interesting.
I loved that Grave Mercy had an ending. But it's part of a series, so while there's no cliff hanger, you know there will be other stories about Ismae and His Fair Assassin. Perfect.
After I finished Grave Mercy I couldn't stop thinking about Ismae and Gavriel and the other characters. I kept having to remind myself that the story was over! I need more....
My only caution is that Grave Mercy has some religious elements that may turn some people off. I didn't find it offensive, but I'm fairly tolerant of such things.
Grave Mercy has danger, excitement, romance, intrigue, history, and characters to care about. I only just realized it's 560 pages -- it sure didn't seem that long to me. There isn't any reason not to recommend this to adventure/fantasy/romance fans. I can't wait to get the hard copy in my library!
Published by Houghton Mifflin, April 3, 2012
eBook obtained from NetGalley
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