Apr 10, 2012

Grave Mercy by R.L. LaFevers (His Fair Assassin, # 1)

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, #1)Grave Mercy (His Fair Asssassin, # 1)
Author:  R.L. LaFevers
Pubisher:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date:  April 3rd 2012

From Goodreads:

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 the dangerous gift-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 country 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?


I was intrigued with Grave Mercy after reading the synopsis, then I started reading positive review after positive review so my expectations were high going into it.  I'm pretty sure that going in with those expectations hindered my overall experience reading Grave Mercy.

I liked Grave Mercy, but I certainly didn't love it.  I found that it dragged a bit for me.  I found all the politics boring and really kept reading because of the main protagonist Ismae.  Ismae is a fierce force to be reckoned with and I love that.  My all time favorite characters are strong kick ass females.  Grave Mercy definitely has that.  Ismae is trained to serve St. Mortain, the god of Death and she does it well.  But when she starts falling for Duval, the man she is suppose to be keeping an eye out for and possibly kill, the book gets interesting. My favorite parts of Grave Mercy were that pertaining to her loyalty to the convent and St. Mortain and her growing love for Duval and how those two things were conflicting with each other.  I liked that the love between Ismae and Duval  grew naturally and was warranted, I can see why they fell for each other.

For me the politics of Grave Mercy dragged on and I got bored.  The mystery of who was causing all the conflict for the Duchess wasn't as interesting as I was hoping.  There were a lot of meetings to discuss what was going on and again I found that I wanted to skim those parts, but I didn't.  Grave Mercy is a long book with over 500 pages, I hung on and in the end I'm not sure the good outweighed the bad.   The bulk of the book was about who was committing treason and the politics and I wanted more Duval and Ismae moments...moments that did not have to do with the state of the High Court.

I may be in the minority with Grave Mercy, but it really was just ok.   Did anyone else find it boring in some parts?  I do think you have to be a fan of historical fiction to really like this.  I'm just ehh about the genre, so that may be why I didn't enjoy it so much.  I will not be continuing the series.

Goodreads Rating: 3 Stars (really a 2.5)


  1. This makes me sad :( I LOVED Grave Mercy (but I tend to adore courtly intrigue mixed with a murdurous female protag) I really liked that it took place right on the brink of Catholosism blotting out the pagan system of faith (kind of a religious studies nerd so... yeah) I guess for me it just had everything that I love including a kick ass girl and a shmexy smitten boy. But I can see where it would fall apart for people who aren't so much into the kind of stuff I like.

    1. I love kick ass female characters, too! I really wanted to love this but it just had to many things going on that bored me. So glad you enjoyed it...so many do.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.


Thanks for commenting!