Grave Mercy
Robin LaFevers
Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
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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?

I am not usually a big fan of historical fiction and I don’t read much of it. That being said, I want to start this review by saying how much I LOVED this book. It is one of the best books I have read to date and is now one of my favorites. It’s quite long at over 550 pages, but I sailed through it in under 2 days. I literally could not stop reading it. The story was great – it felt realistic to the historical setting. The characters were heartfelt and easy to identify with – especially the story’s heroine Ismae. I know a book is written well when I feel visceral reactions (think butterflies in the stomach, crying over a scene, etc.). This doesn’t happen to me often, but this book had me all over the place. I was laughing out loud, crying with Ismae in sympathy, having butterflies in my stomach – the whole deal.

The story is beautifully and wonderfully written. I can say nothing bad about it at all. There was nothing that had me criticizing the characters or the writing – everything fit perfectly. Needless to say, I will be buying a pretty finished copy of this book so I can read it again and I’m already eagerly awaiting the next installment of the series. In short – YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK. Even if you are not a fan of historical fiction – you will be happy you gave it a shot.

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