Sunday, April 8, 2012

Grave Mercy by R. L. LaFevers

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?

Where to find more info:
R.L. LaFevers:

Shelley's Review
Grave Mercy may be the most stunning Young Adult debut I have ever had the pleasure ofreading...well, honestly, devouring. I consumed every morsel Robin offered ofthis unique and fascinating historical gothic romance with an ever growing appetite to discover more of Ismae's world and the roles she must play tofulfill a sacred commitment. If that is what she so chooses.
The way in which Robin introduces us to Ismae and her more than humble beginnings, is itself a work of art. Her descriptives paint a disturbingly dark and yet beautiful picture of 1480's Brittany and the very real threat of it's possession by France. We see the world through Ismae's eyes, and though her life has been difficult from the beginning, she finds some solace and embraces the old ways, believing she is answering a higher calling. The ways of the convent, where she receives a reprieve from her past tortures and discovers her gifts, are explained in exquisite detail from the tellings of the first saints; teachings in the arts of weaponry, poisons, seduction and the like. All adding to the mystery and intrigue of her journey.
It is not long before our heroine finds herself in the middle of a dangerous and thrilling battle for control, full of deceit and betrayal. Treachery abounds and Ismae struggles with whom she can place her trust and where her own loyalties lie.
I can't talk enough about the beauty in the words themselves. Robin is a true raconteur. She weaves a complex web of politics, life, death and love. The language, though not difficult is fluid and romantic in it's delivery. Intoxicating and enthralling. I immediately fell in love with Ismae. Her naive and yet wise soul. Her desire to seek out the truth, regardless the cost. And her snarky and infectious wit.
There are so many twists and turns in court and in the plot itself there is no time to rest and consider the events as they happen for something new is justaround the corner...and you never really see what's coming next.
The romance is slow building and believable and only adds to the difficultiesIsmae finds herself faced with.
The entire story was a thrilling and creative history lesson and then some. Filled many colorful quips and interesting characters. A must read for anyonewho loves historical fiction, old world romance, a touch of the supernaturaland rich descriptives rolled up in a bundle of mystery and suspense. 

Below a couple ofexamples of Robin's clever prose;

"As I stare into her haunted, broken face, I grow desperate to convince her, to take this small flame of promise from my chest and light it in hers." ~Ismae

"You think appearing in stark black like a crow among peacocks will aid your stealth?" ~Sister Beatriz

"I am not known to favor mistresses. Not to mention that if I did, it would certainly not be one who was greener than a winter apple." ~GavrielDuval


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