October 16, 2014

REVIEW: Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassins #3)

Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassins #3), by Robin LaFevers
To Be Published November 4, 2014
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Format: ARC, provided by the publisher
Genre: young adult historical romance/fantasy
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Rating: 5 STARS

(From Goodreads) Annith has watched her gifted sisters at the convent come and go, carrying out their dark dealings in the name of St. Mortain, patiently awaiting her own turn to serve Death. But her worst fears are realized when she discovers she is being groomed by the abbess as a Seeress, to be forever sequestered in the rock and stone womb of the convent. Feeling sorely betrayed, Annith decides to strike out on her own.

She has spent her whole life training to be an assassin. Just because the convent has changed its mind doesn't mean she has...

We've seen Ismae and Sybella go through their training at the convent of Mortain. We've seen them go out on assignments to assassinate those who've wronged their Duchess. We've seen them fall in love and come to the realization that their abbess doesn't always know best. All the while, Annith has been sitting by, waiting for her turn to prove herself. In Mortal Heart, Annith gets her chance, but it comes in very unexpected ways. 

When the abbess tells Annith that she is to be the convent's next Seeress, Annith knows it's not her true destiny. So, she sets out on a solo journey to find out what exactly her destiny is. While her journey starts out solo, it doesn't stay that way for long, as she is joined by Mortain's own hellequin, led by the enigmatic Balthazar. While Annith tries to get a handle on her feelings for him, she continues to puzzle out the abbess' true motives and how they relate to her past. After reuniting with Ismae and Sybella, Annith's skills as a trained killer are put to the test as Brittany is surrounded by the French in the final stand-off. 

Throughout the whole of Mortal Heart, we experience Annith's crisis of identity right along with her. She has so many doubts. I can't imagine being brought up to believe one thing, and then having those beliefs shaken to the core like they are for Annith. It's a testament to her strength that she presses on for answers. 

Speaking of answers, we get lots of them in Mortal Heart. Answers to questions we didn't even know we had. As it turns out, Annith's curious past is full of lies and deceit. She's the only one of Mortain's daughters that came to the convent as a tiny baby. She was raised on that island. She had the most years of training. And, yet, she was never sent out on an assignment. Why? What are the abbess' true motives regarding Annith? How did she come to the convent in the first place? All the answers are here, and some of them blew me away. 

Mortal Heart is a big book - 449 pages. A lot happens in those many pages. Annith discovers the secrets of her childhood. And, yes - like Ismae and Sybella, she falls in love with a dynamic and powerful man. Her romance with Balthazar was the absolute best part of this book. She denies her feelings for so long, but it's so obvious how both of them feel about each other. Their dance around each other was sweet. 

Like the other books in this series, there is a fair amount of action in Mortal Heart. Annith is good with her bow, and she has plenty of chances to use it. There's also a lot of political maneuvering and plotting as Anne and her council try and find a peaceful way out of the mess in which they're in. We see the continuation of Ismae's and Duval's story and Sybella's and Beast's story, which is satisfying. I love those two couples as much as I now love Annith and Balthazar. It's awesome to see all of them interacting with one another. In a different place and time, they would all be having picnics at one another's house. 

Mortal Heart was an incredible ending to an incredible series. Balthazar was my favorite hero of the three. I was captured in the pages of this book, and every time I had to put it down, I was thinking of when I could pick it back up again. Balthazar's character, Annith's bravery and the culmination of all the actions in the first two books made this book a forever favorite. 


Unknown said...

So this is a new author for me. But the review showed me that it's something that I'm going to like. So thank you for introducing me to a new author and book!

Diane Elizabeth said...

I haven't seen this series, thanks for the review. I'm going to have to get my hands on the first two!