Publication: April 3rd 2012 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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?
When I read the blurb for Grave Mercy I was so intrigued; a story about assassins raised by nuns? Sign me up! It sounded like such a cool concept. Unfortunately I was disappointed, I was miles by the blurb into think this was going to be an action packed story about an assassin and that's not what I got.
Let's start with the plot. I loved the beginning but it all went downhill pretty quickly when they said Ismae was going to court. I've read this narrative so many times but I held onto a tiny glimmer of hope that our main character would not fall into the trap of falling in love and forgetting about her job. I was expecting the plot to be action packed (because hello assassins!)but nope it was so slow! There was hardly any action scenes and I was here for blood and violence. I really struggled through most of the book. I was skimming at times because I just lost interest. I was expecting a group of badass girl assassins in a convent that's not what I got.
The main character Ismae was so boring. She could have been so complex with her background but she wasn't. She was so flat and dull to read about.
The romance was way too instalovey. Sometimes instalove makes sense but this is not one of those times. The main character escapes an abuse arranged marriage in the beginning of the book and clearly has issues with men and yet she instantly starts going after the first guy she sees without even trying to get to know him first. As soon as she sees him she thinks he's gods gift. There was such a missed opportunity here for Ismae to go on journey of discovering how to build trust and stuff.
This book is shelved as historical fiction right? Well it took me ages to figure out it was historical fiction; I only realised it was when they said Brittany and France and even then o couldn't fixture out what year it was set so I had to do my own research (late 1400s in case you're wondering). The political issues between Brittany and France that were going on at the time could have been executed much better. This is a time period that I have never seen in fiction before and could have been an excellent way to educate readers but it fell short, the political drama was there but was written in a way that seemed like it was just a sub plot to Ismae and Duval's romance.
Blurb lied to me and because of that I didn't enjoy the book. It's a companion series so I don't know if I should continue; does anyone know if the next book is better? I can't stand Ismae but I might like the next main character...
My rating: 2.5 stars
Thanks for reading,