“Why be the sheep when you can be the wolf ?”
Synopsis : 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.
In the late 15th century the nation of Brittany is entrenched in mysticism, war, and treason. Ismae, a simple pig farmer’s daughter, is plucked from a life of hardship to serve Death as an assassin. In the midst of her training, she becomes involved in a clandestine plot and must serve the royal family and her country.
Ismae is in charge of her story and her destiny. Rescued from abuse and given the chance to become more than a mother and wife, she holds her position as an assassin at a high value. I’ll just say she knows her way around weapons and poison.
With most YA historicals taking place in the 19th century this was a nice change of pace. LaFevers mixes fact and fantasy seamlessly making Grave Mercy into quite an addictive blend. The novel even features a slow-burning romance that will leave you on edge.
Grave Mercy doesn’t
seem like the kind of novel that was written but more like it was
“created”, LaFevers writing is immersive and flows so well that the 500 + page book seemed to go way too fast for me.
I went into this
book knowing nothing anything about 15th century Brittany or British history except for what I learned from
watching Showtime’sThe Tudors, so I felt like I was missing
something when it came to contextualizing the story, but since it is a mix of fact and fiction you won’t need to do much research.
Like with most historicals the cadences of the language seemed to come and go a lot which took me out of the story. This book features a slew few political goings-ons which take up a large amount of the novel. While I enjoyed the subtly of politics, it might not be for someone looking for a strictly action/romance plot.
Grave Mercy is a stand out in the YA historical genre. You learn a little about history with a bit of intrigue, betrayal, and passion thrown into the mix. While I’m tempted to say this book is so good you would never guess it is YA, the truth is I think it’s good because it shows how awesome YA can be .
I received this e-galley through a NetGalley Special Offer,, but I would buy this for my library. The sequel comes out next year I don’t know if I can wait that long ! !
1/2 of the blogging duo at Books and Sensibility, I have been blogging about and reviewing books since 2011. I read any and every genre, here on the blog I mostly review Fantasy, Adult Fiction, and Young Adult with a focus on audiobooks.