Friday, June 15, 2012

Review for Grave Mercy

Grave Mercy
Author: Robin LaFevers
Pages: 549
Genre: YA Fantasy/Historical Fiction
Source: Library

Summery from GoodReads…
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?

The Good
When I first heard about this book I was definitely intrigued. Nun assassins, knives and crossbows, set in a medieval like world, totally my thing right? While I did somewhat enjoy the book the only thing that really kept me interested was the character of Duval.

            Duval is fiercely loyal to his duchess (the true leader of his country) and his men and is the type of person who inspires loyalty in others. These are the type of characters that I love. He comes into the story hot tempered and right off there is tension between him and Ismae (a hate/love story! My favorite!) but they soon grow to respect each other and then, as the story goes, it turns into something more. I actually would have liked to see him as the first person narrator and Ismae as the love interest, his presence on the page is that strong. Ismae, though a trained assassin, is naïve about so many things like the games of politics and of men but she is also persistent and a quick learner. And even though she may have lost her heart to Duval she will not neglect her duties for him even if she wanted to. She understands that some things are more important and I love that about her.

            One of the author’s strengths was that she had painted a beautiful, realistic feeling, scenery of castles and villages. I actually felt like I was there walking through the passages and following the winding staircases to the rooms. There is a good mix of description and dialogue so one does not overpower the other.

The Bad
            Well, I won’t say the book was bad but it lacked spark and, for me, some believability. The book starts out with a newly married Ismae who is saved from her brut husband and taken to the convent of Saint Mortain. I felt that the lack of questioning or suspicion on her part at being suddenly whisked to this convent where they know her name was a bit unrealistic. Though I forgave that a bit once I found out a couple chapters in that she was 14 and not 17 like the summery suggests.

            The setting and history also confused me a bit. This felt like a historical fiction but I couldn’t place the timing. They also showed a map of the country in the first few pages but I was confused as to the direction of their travel and the location of where Ismae had lived before and the location of the convent. I decided to just let it go since I’m a girl and suck at directions anyway but I was still confused.

I had a hard time getting into this book, at first it was just words on a pages but after a while it drew me in and I started getting pulled into the world (probably when Duval showed up.) It kept a slow pace and occasionally I was wondering what the point of Ismae being at court with Duval was but I guess she proved as a good bodyguard/investigator in the end. I felt that sometimes things were mentioned and they seemed like they would have importance but then they were just thrown to the side and maybe brought up only once or twice more. In other words I think there was potential that was not fully met.

The Krazyness
Q: If you were a nun assassin what would be your choice of weapon?

Krazy Elf’s Answer: Maybe not as an assassin’s weapon but I love daggers. They are so
3 Elf Cookies

1 comment:

  1. I ended up giving this one a three as well, and I had some mixed feelings about it overall. I LOVED some parts of it, but I wasn't so fond of other parts, you know? I'll probably be reading LaFevers' next book regardless though!