Thursday, May 24, 2012

Book Review: Grave Mercy

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?

Goodreads: 4/5 stars

**ARC courtesy of publisher via NetGalley

My review:

I swear it took me nine years to read this book! Gahh. I was pretty bored with it for a quarter of the way through, then the political trickery came into play and I was hooked.

Grave Mercy is about a girl named Ismae, who was born with a scar the length of her back. Legend has it that anyone born with a mark (or “marque” as they say in the book) is a daughter of Death himself. So on her wedding night, after narrowly escaping rape by her husband, she’s kicked to the curb once her hubby sees she has the mark of Mortain (a.k.a. god of death). A local herbwitch and a few others cart her away from the village and right into the hands of a convent full of assassin nuns. How cool is that?

Ismae is inducted into the convent, makes new friends, and trains to be deadly. On one of her assignments, she meets a man who has been following her kills (Duval). Duval claims the people she has killed are innocent, and the convent was wrong to order their deaths. The convent orders Ismae to act as Duval’s mistress (since he’s a Duke and in the high court of Brittany), and to find the traitors of the court, but she had no idea she’d fall for him. When Ismae’s ordered to kill Duval, will she listen to her god, or to her heart?

Overall, this read as a romance novel. I was really, really hoping for more on the assassin side of the book, but it didn’t happen. Nevertheless, the romance between Ismae and Duval was slow-building and steamy, and then we get a fade-to-black scene. Oh, please. I know this is YA, but we could’ve had more. I’d recommend this to anyone who loves historical romance with a little action (and not that kind, because this book doesn’t have it).

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