Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1) by Robin LaFevers

Title: Grave Mercy
Series: His Fair Assassin #1
Author: Robin LaFevers
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release Date: April 3, 2012
Pages: 549, Hardcover

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?


Shame on me for waiting so long to read Grave Mercy - it has everything I look for in a book. A kick ass female lead with a handsome and equally dangerous male lead. CHECK. A fiery relationship with a slow buildup to romance. CHECK CHECK. A well written and engaging plot that will keep you enthralled until the end. CHECK CHECK CHECK.

Ismae is a handmaiden to Death, trained at the convent of St. Mortain in the art of killing. She is sent to court on an assignment to uncover the person who is trading Brittany's secrets to the French enemy but from the beginning it is clear that her task will not be so easy. There are many who have their own agenda and are playing at a game Ismae doesn't know the rules of. She struggles to keep up appearances at court while doing what is necessary to complete her mission. As more time passes, it becomes more and more difficult to stay true to her god and convent (who at this point are synonymous) and also stay true to herself. Ismae is tested is ways she never imaged and many dark truths are revealed in time. No one is free of suspicion and no one is safe when death leaves its mark. E

Even though I felt that the plot was driven by politics more so than action, it by no means lacked suspense and intrigue.

Ismae quickly wins over the hearts of many at court, and eventually wins over the the ever-stubborn Gavriel. I loved their relationship and it is one less commonly seen in the YA world. When Graviel and Ismae are forced together they are at odds and endlessly suspicious of each other. They both attempt to lure the other in for the sake of gaining information but simultaneously keep each other at arms length to guard their hearts. But they realize they must work together if they are to discover the true traitor and once they let each other in it is impossible to deny the chemistry between them. They both succumb to it.

Ismae is a force to be reckoned with and meets her match in Gavriel.

There are so many reasons why Grave Mercy is a wonderful book but it really comes down to the thought-provoking plot, the dangerous and sinful world, and the raw and fervent characters. I'd easily recommend this book to anyone.



  1. Yeeeeey! I'm so happy you loved it. I simply adore this book. Duvall *swoon* I actually really liked the politics in this book. It was different than anything I've read before and I thought it gave a nice touch to the story.


  2. I love when the characters are great! Ismae sounds fantastic. Great review! I still haven't read this yet either although I plan to. Maybe I should be moving this up on my TBR pile now. :)

  3. YAYYYYY I'm so glad you loved it!!! I was so hesitant when I picked it up too (as a suggestion from other bloggers) and it just blew me away! I'm not one for politics so I was worried, but it totally worked in this book and I LOVED the relationship that developed between Ismae and Duval! :)

  4. I recently read the sample for GM and it was amazing! I can't wait to get my hands on it. It sound so unique compared to current YA books.

  5. Lovely review, I love the first few pics especially. Great way to see a book. And somehow I had missed this was historical.

    Micky Johnson (SEO in Colorado Springs)


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