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Reading is my addiction... I read paranormal romance, urban fantasy, science fiction and fantasy, young adult, romance and historical romance. I am part of the blogging team over at Badass Book Reviews: http://badassbookreviews.com 

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin Trilogy Series #1)

Grave Mercy - Robin LaFevers Amazing! Great historical fantasy with lots of twisty turns, plotting, court intrigue, and assassins.Assassin nuns, spies, instruments of death disguised as jewelry, betrayals…these are just some of the things you will find in Grave Mercy. Grave Mercy is an historical fantasy based upon events in Brittany during the late 15th century. The novel begins as a young Ismae Rienne, aged 14 is sold into marriage to the disgusting Guillo. When Guillo sees her scars, he beats Ismae and locks her in a cellar. She is rescued by the local priest who whisks her off to the convent of St. Mortain where she learns that she is to become a handmaiden of death. Yes, assassin nuns. Ever cool.Flash forward three years and Ismae is assigned to the dashing Gavriel Duval. She joins him at the court of the Duchess Anne, his 12 year old half-sister and heir to the throne. Anne’s father has promised his daughter’s hand to several men in order to build up his armies. Anne must marry as soon as possible to ensure that Brittany remain in her power. And so begins the court intrigue.With regards to the court intrigue and politics, this is the part that a reader like me would love. Others may not like this part so much. I’ve always enjoyed twisty, turny tales that keep me guessing, so I enjoyed this part of the book. I liked the fact that the author based this book on actual events. Her research really shows and there is additional information available on the author’s blog - here.Let me tell you, I loved the aspect of women trained to be assassins. Ismae’s training was extensive with classes in self-defense, murder with unlikely objects – a garrote bracelet – poisons, and more. Ismae became a handmaiden of death and was able to spot the stain of Mortain which showed that the person was out of St. Mortain’s favor.I liked Ismae and how she develops as a character. At first she is naïve and has strong beliefs in her duties as a handmaiden of death. She is a determined young woman, stubborn, smart, and lethal. As the story progresses, she realizes that things are not always what they seem – one person’s idea of a traitor can be another’s idea of a hero. The Duchess Anne was one of my favorite characters. Wise beyond her years, she really handled herself well. Anne was well-versed in court politics and her maturity surprised me. The duchess played the diplomatic game with grace and poise. Is this a love story? Yes, no, not really. Ismae is dropped into the world of Gavriel Duval for the purpose of spying on him. A devoted brother, dashing soldier, and all-round nice guy – Gavriel is initially suspect. Posing as his mistress allowed Ismae to spend a lot of time with him. Personally, I didn’t really see it as a love story although the two grew to love each other as the story progressed. I’d recommend this book for older young adult readers and fans of historical fantasy. If you enjoyed books like Poison Study or Graceling you may like this book. Grave Mercy straddles both YA and adult genres and would be enjoyable for both categories of readers. Favorite Quote:“When one consorts with assassins, one must expect to dance along the edge of a knife once or twice.”Thank you to Netgalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for a review copy of this book.Review posted on Badass Book Reviews