Beware the Killer Nuns: GRAVE MERCY by Robin LaFevers

Posted 19 March, 2012 | Mary @ TheBookSwarm | | 12 Comments

YA Historical Paranormal
564 pages, hardcover
Available April 3, 2012
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Review copy provided by publisher
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?

Positive: A convent of assassin nuns. I mean, how can you go wrong? They’re nuns who kick ass on behalf of the god of Death. They know a thousand ways to kill those marked by Death, slipping in and out before anyone even knows they’re there. Ismae, a young nun on her first assignment after years of training, is one awesome assassin.
Positive: Unusual historical setting. Set in 13th century Brittany when it was still a country unto itself, GRAVE MERCY brought the ancient world to life. LaFevers uses real-life people and events, such as Brittany’s struggle to maintain its independence in the face of a much stronger France and the young queen’s difficult decisions on behalf of her country, to build a strong framework for her story.
Positive: Twisty politics and a love story all wrapped into one. There’s some serious political maneuvering going on as Anne, Brittany’s young ruler, plots with her trusted (and untrustworthy) advisers to keep the country out of France’s greedy hands. And then there’s the love story between Ismae and Duval. Bastard half-brother to Anne, Duval is also her main adviser, and Ismae works with him to uncover a nasty plot against Anne. When Duval is first introduced, there didn’t seem to be a connection between him and Anne. But, as they got to know one another, a deep love and healthy respect developed. It was quite sweet.
Wish: That I didn’t have to wait until next spring for the next book in the series. According to the ARC, DARK TRIUMPH (His Fair Assasin #2) will feature Sybella, another assassin nun and friend of Ismae. Half-broken and on the brink of madness, Sybella is sent on a mission to infiltrate the household of a power-hungry lord to do Death’s bidding.
Overall: Thought the book weighs in at a hefty 564 pages, its fascinating characters, unexpected love story, and political shenanigans make the pages fly by.
Available on Amazon | IndieBound 

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12 Responses to “Beware the Killer Nuns: GRAVE MERCY by Robin LaFevers”

  1. A convent of assassin nuns? SOLD! I don’t even need to know anything else about it, that is enough to make me want to read this. Luckily, I read the whole review and there’s all sorts of twisty politics and yummy romance involved as well and that makes this story a huge win in my book! Thanks Mary:)

  2. Daaaaang! At 564 pages, it better be worth it’s weight. But you’re right, you can’t go wrong with assassin nuns. The very idea is so kick butt! And I love the sound of the slow developing romance.

  3. I loved this book! Ismae was definitely awesome. I love historical novels and this one’s setting and plot was definitely unique from anything I’ve read before. I loved all the political intrigue as well. I can’t wait for the next book. Great review 🙂

  4. KILLER NUNS!! I can’t wait to tread this one like seriously!! Awesome review and I did not know it was a big book! Awesomeness!! LOVE YOUR FACE!!

  5. I got this one off netgalley – they had some sport of pre-approved special promo – and I admit I have been putting it off because of it’s sheer size. It intimidates me, but I guess I’m not ready to rule it out completely since your review makes it sound awesome.

  6. This one has been taking me forever to read, but not because I don’t like it. I do find it to be a little slow-moving…but that’s not necessarily a bad thing for me, it just means that I don’t have as much of a problem putting the book aside after only a couple of chapters. It probably doesn’t help that I started the book literally the night before midterms started, so I had to put it down and not touch it for four or five days. I AM enjoying it for the most part though. I’m about 300 pages or so into it. I’m going to try to finish it tonight or tomorrow, so it will be interesting to compare notes then!

  7. I need this book NOW! Your review makes me want to read it right away but I’ll just have to wait, I guess. 🙁 I love it when the romance is sweet and sneaks up on you. Great review, Mary!

  8. I loved this one! I really had no clue what was based on real history and what was completely made up but I love that it’s a historical fantasy. I cruised through this one in no time too!

  9. Oh! I can’t wait to get started on this one! I have it on my Nook, and I’m dying to get to it. I just haven’t had time. I must get to it soon, especially now that I’ve read your thoughts on the book! 🙂 Glad you enjoyed it!