Friday, March 9, 2012

READING: Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Publication date: April 3rd, 2012
Published by: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Genre: YA Fantasy
Source: NetGalley
Rating: 5/5

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 firmly believe that when it comes to fantasy literature, anything goes-no matter how gruesome, horrifying, far fetched or impossible it may seem. That's why I am always a bit reluctant to read YA fantasy because by definition and of course the audience it targets, YA tends to be restrictive in a lot of aspects and that just ruins the fun. 
However, Grave Mercy managed to turn that on its head and leave me utterly speechless!

First off, LaFever's writing was amazing and captured the medieval style precisely. The way she wove her sentences and her wording travelled you back to old, dingy , torch-lit castles. 
She created great characters to go along with her story and most importantly a very likeable protagonist, one you are happy to root and care for. Ismae, apart from being an assassin nun (whaaaat? Awesome, that's what!), is trained to all kinds of combat and she is pretty bad ass. Thankfully, she is neither arrogant or smug about it, but kind and determined. She is not manipulative, but not entirely naive, ether. 
Duval…ah, Duval! You can tell by my dreamy preamble that Duval was hot as hell without even trying. Apart from his apparent hotness though, he had this presence, he oozed confidence and strength, again without being cocky and a jerk about it. He was really admirable. And yeah, drool-worthy if you wanna go there :)
He may not have had lengthy make out sessions with Ismae, however the scenes they shared together were filled to the brim with sexual tension and that was good enough for me. Plus, it shows how a skilled writer can control the love aspect of a YA book without going overboard, and that's LaFevers.

As for the story, there was never a dull moment in Grave Mercy. Filled with action, mystery and politics schemes, I guarantee you will enjoy every minute of it and trust me, there's a whole lot of it to enjoy. 564 pages of it, actually!
The catch is that the next book will feature another character from Grave Mercy and will not be a continuation of Ismae and Duval's story. On the one side, I was sad that their epic saga is over, but on the other I felt that their adventure was well told from start to finish and LaFevers was right to not let it become tiring with a sequel, although I really doubt it would!

I have nothing but love, love and love for Grave Mercy. I recommend it to everyone who lives and breathes and know that when someone chooses not to read Grave Mercy, a swan cries. I'm not kidding, you guys. It really does.

This book has been given to me by NetGalley free of charge

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  1. I can't wait to read this. I got from Netgalley too. I hope I love it as much as you did.

  2. Karen, it's amazing! You won't regret it, I'm sure!

  3. I agree with you completely, I absolutely loved this book! Ismae was just totally awesome and Duval was very swoon-worthy. The writing is what really sucked me in though. The time period and the setting just kept me completely enthralled and I had such a hard time putting this one down. Great review :)

  4. I agree with you that this one was done so well. We barely get any historicals in YA, let alone this particular time period so it is always read to travel to this time. I just love the one line of the summary which I think leads a strong message for the book. "Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?"

    Thanks for the great review, I can't wait to see where this series is going.

  5. Tifanny/Alexa< Thank you so much for your kind words. And how awesome is it when you read a great book and want to share it with the world? So glad you guys liked Grave Mercy!


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