October 24, 2012
Book #114 - Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1)
Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1), Robin LaFevers
549 pages (audiobook)
Ismae had a tough childhood. That will happen when you're born in medieval France and your mother thinks you're death incarnate. But then, when she's 14, she's taken in by the sisters at the convent of St. Mortain, the saint of death, and Ismae is trained as a handmaiden to death. A beautiful assassin. When she's 17, she's sent to help protect the Duchess of Brittany, along with handsome Gavriel Duval. She and Duval form first a partnership, then a friendship, then a romance as they race to try and find out who is trying to unseat the Duchess and kill Duval.
My thoughts are a bit muddled with this one. At times, when I thought about this review, I thought I'd write a really positive one, and other times, I thought it might err on the side of negativity. So, let's break it down.
* The characters - Ismae was forged from a troubled youth, and while it would've been not only easy but understandable for her to just fall in line with her convent and Reverend Mother, she shows serious pluck and strength of character when she starts to question everything she's come to know. Bravo, girlfriend. And Duval was equal parts dashing and infuriating. He didn't seem to fall instantly for Ismae, which is a good thing. And, he was complex and cared fiercely about his friends and family, all of which are great book boyfriend characteristics.
* The setting - Historical romance isn't my favorite genre, but it's a nice change of pace from time to time. I love history, especially when the author has done her research, as, it seems, LaFevers has.
* The ending - Is it just me, or did the ending kinda ruin the whole thing? I didn't feel a sense of closure. There were loose ends. And, loose ends really bother me.
* The bad guy - SO obvious.
* The lack of killing - I wouldn't normally put this in the "dislike" category, except that when you write a story about an assassin, I expect there to be more, oh I don't know, ASSASSINATIONS. But, boy, Ismae sure can talk a good game.
I mostly feel unsettled at this point, and slightly disappointed. I don't like feeling that way at the end of a book. :(