Review: Grave Mercy

Author: Robin LaFevers
Series: His Fair Assassin #1
Pages: 549
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 5/5

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?

Coming into Grave Mercy I was a little nervous.  I was definitely intimidated by its size, and I just wasn’t sure I would like it.  Think of the biggest turn-around in history, and multiply that by ten.

I.  LOVE.  THIS.  BOOK.  It is just amazing.  The characters, the writing, the plot, the story, everything.  The writing was, in a word, eloquent.  I love how LaFevers stuck to the medieval setting and made her characters speak as if they were from that era.  It made the story much more believable, and I think if she hadn’t done this tiny thing, it would have ruined the story.  This story line is so complex, with so many characters, it’s almost like a whole series in one book.  But I love that.  I love that this book was so complicated and edgy.  There hasn’t been a book in a very, very long time that I don’t want to stop reading.  This book has broken that long drought.  Although I did have to set it aside often, I finished whatever I had to do at super-speed so I could get back to reading.  This book is addictive!  And I love it!!  I was so sad when it ended because, honestly, I wanted it to go on forever.  I loved the combination of mystery, murder, and intrigue.  But one thing I didn’t like was how Ismae saved Duval from poisoning.  I mean, I liked how she did it, but I don’t really understand it.  LaFevers didn’t really explain how she was able to do it.  That, and that alone, would be my only problem with the book.
Okay, so I know this isn’t really relevant at all but I just had to include this in my review.  It’s when Ismae finds out the murderer of the duchess’s first suitor.  There is a fight and she gets cut.  Here is the scene right after that, when Duval sees to her wound.  (It’s on her back, by the way):

            I hold myself rigid as he unlaces my bodice.  It starts to fall forward and I catch it with my hands, hugging it to me like a shield.
There is a rustle of movement as he takes a dagger from his belt.  The tearing sound as he cuts away my ruined chemise is loud in the quiet room, and the rush of air against my damp back makes me shiver.  I clutch the front of my gown tightly and steel myself against what must surely happen next.
…”Ah,” Duval says.  “So this is what you didn’t want me to see.  Poor Ismae.”  His voice is as soft and tender as a caress.  ...”How did you come by it?” he asks.
…When he touches my shoulder again, I bite back a yelp of surprise, and my skin twitches beneath his fingers.  Slowly, he traces my scar.  It is exquisitely sensitive, and pleasure unfurls across my skin, so intense and unexpected that it feels as if I have been brushed by an angel’s wing.

…He takes a step closer, then another, and suddenly we are almost touching.  His eyes never leave mine, but his hand comes up and brushes a strand of hair away from my collarbone.  Without even realizing what I am doing, I lean towards him.
His hand moves up to cup my face.  Slowly he draws me closer, lowering his head to meet mine.  His touch is careful, as if I am fragile and precious.  And then his lips are on mine, firm and warm and impossibly soft.
A fierce heat rises up inside me, as sharp and bright as a blade.  I move my lips against his, wanting more, but more of what, I cannot say.  He steps closer, until our bodies touch, then his other hand comes up, the warm fingers grasping at my waist, pulling me closer.  I am lost in his kiss, and all my defenses give away before this hot, hungry mystery that lies between us.

~Pages 333-337

Okay, so I know that was really long, but see?  That was how it was the entire book.  The romance was so sweet and soft and sexy.  *melts to ground*  Oh Duval, won’t you be mine? :P

Since page one, Ismae was an extremely kick-butt character.  You guys hear me rant on and on about how much I love Yelena (Poison Study).  Well, Ismae is the new Yelena, or at least she’s joining her in the Most-Bad-Ass-Girls-Club, because she is about as kick-ass as you can get.  Plus, I am so jealous of her because she gets Duval ;p
You guys also hear me rant on and on about Valek (also from Poison Study).  Well, Duval has joined him in the Fictional-Guys-I-Want-To-Marry-Club.  Excuse me for a second *faints because of Duval*.  Okay, much better.  *reads passage above* *faints again*.  That is the affect he had on me the entire book.  I will admit it was kind of hard to keep on reading when I was fainting every other page, but I somehow managed.

Words cannot describe how amazing this book is.  You guys hear me go on and on about how much I love Poison Study.  This book is every bit as good as that one.  I will definitely be buying it in the very near future.  And I will sleep with it under my pillow so I can always be close to Duval :P


  1. AHHHHH I LOVED THIS BOOK!!! And definitely a fantastic review! Duval was completely swoonworthy *drools* You're totally justified in your fainting XD I devoured this book! Kick-assness galore! But I do have to agree with you on the poison part. If I'm not mistaken, its due to her gift. And FYI, I'd totally fight you for Duval :P hahaha no. but really. ;)

    All the best ♥
    Mackenzie @ Oh, For the Love of Books!

  2. Well, now, I'm not sure I could read an entire book while fainting all the time. You, my dear, have true literary powers. Bravo! But I'm glad you enjoyed this one. I love a kick-ass herione and a swoon-worthy love interest. I mean, really, who doens't?! Great review.



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