“It is this kindness of his that unsettles me most. I can dodge a blow or block a knife. I am impervious to poison and know a dozen ways to escape a chokehold or garrote wire. But kindness? I do not know how to defend against that.”
Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
Star Rating: ★★★★★ 5/5 stars
Format: library eaudiobook
Summary: Ismae is hopeful of her impending marriage, as it gets her out of her father’s brutal home where she is beaten often. She is disappointed when the man he marries her off to is just as cruel as her father. She is rescued and taken to the convent of St. Mortain, the Saint of death. There she learns to be one of Mortain’s handmaidens, a skilled assassin. On one of her first missions out of the convent she must team up with the unlikable Duvall to protect the Duchess of Brittany.
Review: So I had never heard of this book before it was suggested to me through my library’s personalized book suggestion. It’s pretty cool, you fill out a form with some of your favorite genres, authors and books and they email you back with about five suggestions. This was one of them and dang they hit it on the nose.
I really liked this whole book, it was historical fiction with fantasy and romance. All great things in my book. There is a lot of the story that has nothing to do with romance which I really like. The romance fits really well into the rest of the story so it doesn’t feel like this ridiculous diversion from the story like some books. It’s aka slow burn and doesn’t have a solid ending which I really like in my romance. One thing with the romance though, I know it’s fantasy but I have a hard time buying that Ismae sleeping with Duvall saves him from dying of poison. That’s just… A little too out there for me.
I don’t know much about Brittany like at all but I didn’t feel like that was required for enjoying the book. I think the added fantasy aspect helped with that. There is a lot of politics within the book but it’s not off-putting, it works really well. I do like the sort of court intrigue novels like The Other Boleyn Girl as well so might be more of a personal preference.
I kept forgetting how young a lot of these characters are. The Duchess Anne is twelve, Ismae is seventeen and I’m not sure how old Duvall is… I’m guessing mid-twenties? I also kept getting character names mixed up, I’m not sure if this was because of French names or because I was listening to an audiobook instead of reading it. I feel if I could see them then I wouldn’t have an issue. Still, it wasn’t bad as an audiobook at all. I actually think I might be sold on this audiobook thing. I used to not like them but over the last few months I’ve really come to appreciate them.
I really liked this book and I want to read the rest of the series, they’re all supposed to be from different point of views of girls from the convent so that’s actually got me really excited to read about these other girls.
Recommendation: If you like both historical fiction and fantasy then this is a good bet for you. I really liked the book and I think it’s a great read.