Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

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 love historical fiction. When at their best, they can draw the reader into its pages in a way that much of the contemporary stories don’t. Which is why I was a little disappointed with this book. The premise is fantastic, and I mean that in every sense of the word. Nuns trained in the art of death. It is intriguing to even consider what the plot line will encompass.

The beginning doesn’t disappoint. It sets a good atmosphere for the rest of the novel, mixing in a magical element with a very real time period and place. The trouble with the pacing begins shortly after Ismae meets Duval. That’s when it slows down to a dirge. There are so many political elements in the story that sometimes makes the reader want to skip over paragraphs. Towards the end of the book, the pace picks up again, almost making up for the slower middle. Almost.

Ismae is a good heroine, with enough spunk to keep us interested. She is definitely not one of the damsels in distress we are so bored of reading about in young adult books. There are some things about her, though, which make little sense. For example, her fierce loyalty for a duchess she only just met, when she’s been pretty cold and distant, almost cutthroat, through the rest of the book. The shift in attitude is too abrupt. Or at least it was for me.

All in all, though, this is a different sort of book than you might see geared towards young adults. If anything, this uniqueness makes it worth reading.

1 comment:

T said...

I'm really quite excited for this book! I've heard some mixed reviews, but I'm really glad you liked it!