Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin)

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?

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Who Recommended it To Me: an employee at a bookstore
Who I Would Recommend It To: the kind of people who enjoy the dark stuff

So to be completely honest I almost stopped reading this book a couple of times right at the beginning of it. It just wasn't interesting me the way that I like books to. I'm glad that I kept reading though because it got much better. Still the reason I took a star off of my rating was because of a, the slow start, and b, a bunch of things at the beginning, such as Duval's entrance into the book, wasn't explained until much later and left me feeling confused and scrambled. I think the whole concept and idea for this book was very creative even though it's pretty dark and intense.  The whole idea of being Death's handmaiden is very intriguing, and I like books with interesting and creative ideas.
       All through the book I couldn't really get ahold of Ismae.  She seemed so bland at times and then at other times her personality came out in several different ways.  I was completely baffled by this and I'm not sure if I like that part of it.  I think the author could have articulated Ismae's personality and character a bit better.  Also another part that I didn't love about this book was that Ismae seemed to go off and on between loyalty and betrayal to St. Mortain's convent and that confused me, because sometimes she'd say something like, "But no. My main purpose here is to serve Mortain" and then she'd say something such as, "But the convent is surely wrong," so I got a little tired of keeping track of her lack of deciding whose side she was on.  I feel like it's either she was loyal or not, and that should have been that.  
       Also, Duval. What was the deal with him? At times I loved him and other times he was being a complete jerk.  He reminded me of Saf in Bitterblue from the Graceling series a bit, the way that sometimes he could be so loyal and loving and at times completely awful to everyone around him.  Another thing--the line on the top of the book says, "Why be the sheep when you can be the wolf?" Pretty much that was what interested me about picking up the book and deciding to buy it after it being recommended to me.  I don't understand how that fits into everything, but that's just a minor complaint. 
      While I might seem to have a lot of issues with this book, really I liked it enough to give it four stars  because it was pretty enthralling all the way through.  I liked the way that it was a historical fantasy/romance and it's an interesting genre to me. 
     I'd recommend you read this book if you have a liking for some pretty dark stuff told in a historical way, and if you're into the YA genre but don't know what to read next. 

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