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

Tuesday, April 3, 2012
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 Summary

Set in 1485 “Brittany,” this novel’s time period seems to be set at the end of the Dark Ages and the dawn of the Renaissance. Ismae has lived her life in the worst of the Dark Ages. Her mother was forced to try to abort her, her father has beaten her, and she has lived in a decrepit hovel – always hungry and cold. Despite a moment of hope for a better life, Ismae finds that the “husband” who bought her from her father wants only one thing…but then begins beating her when he finds the long, red scar on her back that marks her as Death’s daughter.

Then, she is saved by the very scar that has caused her to be a pariah all her life. A convent of nuns who serve St. Mortain, the god of Death, searches for and trains girls like Ismae who have been marked as one of Death’s own. She is trained to be an assassin, protecting the rights and life of the young duchess of Brittany who is plagued by many suitors and others who would take her throne. When she enters court life with the duchess’s handsome brother, Duval, by her side, she enters Renaissance life. A place where some people she meets use reason and loyalty rather than superstition and old religion to guide them. However, the palace and gowns do not turn her away from her purpose of finding those who would do the young duchess harm.

LaFevers’ plot and characters drew me into the story. First, I was filled with sympathy for Ismae – wondering at the cruelty directed at her for being poor, a female, and scarred – through no fault of her own. Then, I was so entertained by the description of the nun’s school for assassins. Their enjoyment of their work, and the two friends Ismae makes there are great to read about. The descriptions of the afterlife when Ismae exercises her unique talent are sometimes reassuring and other times chilling. Then, the intrigue of the court and the attraction between Ismae and Duval kept my interest until the end. The author created an inviting, mystical world.

Four Stars

*Reviewed by Colleen*

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This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.


  1. Hey, sweet blog!! Great pictures!! Nice review too!! Keep up the good work! Have a great day, you are invited to follow or check out my blog anytime!!!

  1. Lalaine said...:

    eep! I cant wait to read this book! I have it on my shelf waiting to be read. Ive heard nothing but good things about it. Great review Colleen. x

  1. Thank you! I loved this book, the main character was easy to connect to and like.

  1. manda-rae said...:

    I really enjoyed this book also! Great review!

  1. Anonymous said...:

    Great interview, I really want to read this book :D

  1. Thanks for this review, I've seen this on a few other sites and reading this review along with the others helps push me more towards getting this :)