Monday, February 9, 2015

Review: Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Title: Grave Mercy (Grave Mercy #1)
Author: Robin LaFevers
Release Date: 3rd April 2012
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Find on: Goodreads

Quick Review: 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?

Detailed Review:  I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest feedback.

What has this book done to me?!

Indeed, what has it done?

Let me enlighten you. First, it strangled me, tortured me in many ways imaginable. Then, it gave me hope that I would survive the harsh treatment. Finally, my hope was redeemed and I lived happily ever after. The end.

OK, the story isn't about me (DUH), but it IS about how this book made me feel.

No book has ever made me felt so much in my whole life. Well, I'll make an exception for The Fault in Our Stars.  

How can you feel hopeful and hopeless at the same time? How do you feel loved and neglected at the same time?

In other words, HOW DID THE AUTHOR DO IT?

Not many people can do what this author did, blending history and magic together in the most intriguing and mesmerising ways. Nobody could have done what she did, bringing long-dead historical figures to life again, because isn't that what this is? The author did her own magic.

This is not the first time I've read a book that features the main character as an assassin. Nor is this the first time that I've read a book where the assassin is romantically involved with someone in court.

It's because there's this heartbreaking series called Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, but that's a topic for another day.

In a way, it was like Throne of Glass, but it was so much different as well. Like the time period and setting. And the circumstances Ismae were in. Being an assassin was seen as a good thing because she was serving her god/father, St Mortain. 

Ismae's love interest, Gavriel Duval is the duchess's closest advisor. He is suspected to be a traitor to the throne, which is how both Ismae and Duval get closer. 

I loved the dynamics between them. How they argued and spoke to each other, and the sparks that flew between them.

And one more thing, no love triangles! Yes, I'm rejoicing at this fact because love triangles have become too common a theme in YA books and this was, frankly, a breath of fresh air.

All the characters were well-developed. They each had their own parts to play in the book, not merely something to keep the story going or make the main character seem more heroic, thus making this a very much character-driven book. Character development certainly wasn't lacking. Anne (the duchess) was my favourite character in the book because in truth, she was the heroine, the one who together with Ismae and Duval, fought for her country's independence.

I also found out after that the next two books in the trilogy will feature Ismae's friends, Sybella and Annith, which I really can't wait for. I need to know more about them. Their stories are too mysterious for my liking but I shall bear with it. Luckily, both books are already out, so I can read them whenever I want. No more painful waiting.

And oohh la la! The twists! How could I forget? Those wretched things probably make up half the book. And the way they're revealed. Oh god, could there be a more painful and heartbreaking way to reveal them?

And the story wasn't even a story; it was someone's life. It felt REAL. That they controlled their own destinies and life, and not the author pulling the strings.

This. Is true magic.

That writing style though. It was honestly the best part of the book. It matched the time period, even the characters saying them, which circles back to my previous point that the characters were the ones living their lives, without showing evidence that they were following what the author wanted. 

Brief Review: For a debut, this author is impressive. It was polished until it shone- with the characters' light, and their stories, each told through Ismae's eyes as she tries to find her true purpose in serving Death.

Final Rating: 5/5 'Totally Amazing!'









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