Saturday, 5 December 2015

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Title: Grave Mercy
Series: His Fair Assassin (#1)
Author: Robin LaFevers
From: Netgalley
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 3rd April 2012
Challenges: 2015 Reading Assignment Challenge, 2015 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

Ismae is saved from an awful marriage by her status as Death's Daughter. Taken to the convent of St.Mortain, she learns the art of being an assassin; poisons, weapons and the art of seduction. Sent out to the Breton Court where she is set to spy upon Duval, the illegitimate brother of the uncrowned Duchess. But Ismae soon learns to trust her instincts and starts to work with the man that she should be spying on...

Grave Mercy is now added to the 'why didn't I read this earlier?' list. I'm honestly not even sure where I want to start with how much I loved this book, it had everything that I love in a good fantasy. Though I would like to point out that I am using the term 'fantasy' quite lightly. For the main part this book had a feel of historical fiction, with just a hint of fantasy in some of the things that Ismae did.

The romance in Grave Mercy was subtle but definitely there. As Ismae explored the world she'd never been a part of as a reader you got to learn of her growing feelings for Duval (sometimes before she even really realised what she was thinking). It wasn't a major part of the plot until much much later, and there were more important things taking centre stage but I liked that.

I loved the fact that Ismae's friendships played quite a big role in the story, both at the convent with Annith and Sybella, and then at Court with the Duchess and her sister Isabeau. Even though some of the characters were minor ones they still had developed relationships and that was noticeable.

And the big reason I loved this book; POLITICS! I love it when books take a more political turn, and Grave Mercy was packed full of it. In the days of Brittany's independence and the threat of France's invasion, there was plenty going on in the background anyway. I thought it was pulled off really well.

Several reviews have mentioned that the book is quite long, and I didn't notice that at all. Though I am a quick reader so I don't think I'm necessarily the best judge of that!