October 24, 2012

Book #114 - Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1)

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1), Robin LaFevers
historical romance
549 pages (audiobook)
Started 10/14/12
Finished 10/23/12

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.

I liked:
* 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.

I disliked:
* 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. :(


Dovile said...

Maybe the loose ends will be resolved in sequels?

Alyssa said...

I'm not much into historical kind of books. So there's a high probability that I'll not read this but there's no harm in trying, so might as well get a copy of this book now.

Anonymous said...

Great review! I should really check this book out. I've seen it before but I had no idea it was historical romance. I love that genre. Thanks so much for sharing! :D

The Cover Contessa said...

This looks good. Great review. I know it's long.

deasuluna said...

I'm not really into historical romance myself but this year has really been about branching outside of my typical favorite genres and trying new things. Grave Mercy was one of those books for me and I have to say I enjoyed it! Though like you I was a little peeved about the lack of killing done by the main character and unresolved plot issues but that is how they get you coming back for more. Thanks for the honest review. :)

Lynn K. said...

It's been awhile since I read Grave Mercy so I don't remember exactly what happened at the end but I do remember feeling miffed. But I think it's probably because it's part of a trilogy? Although the next book won't be from Ismae's POV.