Saturday, September 22, 2012

Review: Grave Mercy

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Genre: YA historical fiction
$17.99 (US hardback)
549 pages
What it's about:

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?

My thoughts:
This is a book that I bought on a whim (which isn't something I do that often. Pretty much never actually). I had money left in trade that I had to use that day and Powells didn't have any more of the books I knew I wanted, so I went with Grave Mercy. It sounded pretty good and it had a good rating on Goodreads so I bought it.

For the book being about assassin nuns (seriously! how cool is that?) and is a historical fiction, it started out insanely slow. I found myself constantly drifting away from the story in the first 60 pages at least. I couldn't focus on what was happening because it just didn't catch my attention. I had to reread multiple pages just to actually understand what I had already read. I think this had to do a lot more with the writing style than the story plot itself. It was so dry. Even the action scenes were blan.

Then we got into the religion bit of the story. This was something I was concerned about even before I started the book. I normally try pretty hard to stay away from any sort of religion in the books I read. Yet I decided to give this one a go anyways because the idea of assassin nuns made me giggle. The women in this book are worshiping the God of Death and are assissins for him. That is their mission. They kill the people the God tells them to. I couldn't hop on board with this because of my own personal reasons, but also because there was a lot of man hate involved with it. I do not like when there is a lot of hate towards either sex in my books.

Even though I just complained about how boring the beginning is and how I disliked the religion, once I got about 140 pages into it, I started enjoying the story. It started to fade away from the religion and moved onto a little mystery and politics. It focused on who was going to marry duchess Anne and who is betraying her to the French. Then of course it started to have a love story as well. Became much more interesting.
So even though it took me a long time to get into the book, I eventually did and enjoyed it.

My rating: 7/10


  1. I think I'm going to have to buy this one. So many people loved it despite its slow beginning.

    1. We could always do a book swap because I don't plan on keeping this one.

  2. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed reading this book. There was more depth to it than I'd expected at first, and I was really impressed by the way the author carried off the plot and the take on religion and politics.

  3. I agree that the story starts out slow. Which is really a shame, because so many people gave it up early on. It gets so good. Despite the politics and religious details, I thought it eventually flowed well. And I loved Duval.


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