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Grave Mercy: His Fair Assassin, Book I (His Fair Assassin Trilogy 1) [Kindle Edition]

Robin LaFevers
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (572 customer reviews)

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Best of the Month in Young Adult
Grave Mercy is our Best of the Month in Young Adult spotlight pick for April 2012. For more on our editors' other picks check out this list.

Book Description

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?

Editorial Reviews Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, April 2012: Seventeen-year-old Ismae was fathered by Saint Mortain, the God of Death, and one dark and stormy night, she is brought to a mysterious convent where his many daughters are trained as assassins. When she is given an important assignment to protect the Duchess of Brittany and kill the traitor in her court, Ismae begins to learn that being a handmaiden of Death may not mean what the nuns taught her. But her burgeoning independence comes with consequences, and the fate of an entire country--and the only man she could ever love--hangs in the balance. Set in medieval France with historically accurate details, Grave Mercy is the first book in a gritty, fast-paced trilogy, and gives thrilling new meaning to the term "girl power." --Juliet Disparte

From Booklist

*Starred Review* In the late fifteenth century, Mortain, the god of death, has sired Ismae to be his handmaiden. She will carry out his wishes by working through the Convent, where she has found refuge from a brutal father and husband. After learning the Convent’s wily warfare and womanly arts, and being apprenticed to Sister Serafina (poisons mistress and Convent healer), 17-year-old Ismae is sent to the high court of Brittany, ostensibly as the cousin (aka mistress) of the Breton noble Duval—but, in truth, she is there as a spy. Her tacit assignment is to protect the young duchess by assassinating Duval if he proves to be a traitor, a charge made more difficult because of the couple’s attraction to each other. LaFevers has written a dark, sophisticated novel true to the fairy-tale conventions of castles, high courts, and good versus evil, and spiced with poison potions; violent (and sometimes merciful) assassinations; subtle seductions; and gentle, perfect love. With characters that will inspire the imagination, a plot that nods to history while defying accuracy, and a love story that promises more in the second book, this is sure to attract feminist readers and romantics alike. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: With a $100,000 marketing campaign, including national print, online, and social-media outreach; a video trailer; and a vintage T-shirt promotion, the publisher is pushing LaFevers’ novel in a big way. Grades 9-12. --Frances Bradburn

Product Details

  • File Size: 6889 KB
  • Print Length: 565 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (April 3, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #947 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
126 of 131 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just one phrase: Killer. Nuns. May 25, 2012
Upon finishing this book, the critical reviewer in me had a bad moment. It raised its hackles and started stalking back through the book for something to comment on, something that annoyed me, something that stuck out. It took me a really long moment to realize that I had just simply enjoyed this book. Then the reviewer in me freaked out, because I hate throwing around 5 stars. But so the rating stays.

Why, you ask? Well that's what I'm here to tell you.

This book started in the exact right place. You get an insight into what makes Ismae who she is-a poignant one-that doesn't last for more than a few pages before you get to what you know you really want to read about, the killing nuns. However, those few pages are important, done well, and really allow the rest of the book to be accessible. The book is in the first person, and at first glance Ismae isn't exactly a narrator like Sophie from the Hex Hall books. However, because you know where she's coming from, her matter-of-fact way of speaking makes sense and connects the reader rather than repels them. And makes her dry sense of humor that much more awesome.

Speaking of characters, few books have such a solid cast of background characters such as this book. Even the characters that you didn't see that often were well written and not stereotypes. From the younger duchess to Duval's second-in-commands, I was in love with every single one of them-even the villains! (In fact, in places, especially the villains.)

I'll admit, after reading Illuminate by Aimee Agresti Grave Mercy scared me because of its length. It's 549 pages long. However, every single one of those pages was well used. Plenty of assassin stuff goes on, as well as plenty of intrigue and plotting.
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62 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blown Away! March 4, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Where should I start with this book? I really adored this book. I read it in a few short days. I was extremely interested in just about everything that was going on and my expectations were exceeded.

The heroine, Ismae, was really great. She is kick-ass in a rather subtle way. She's not overly so, but her cleverness lends a hand, making her a force to be reckoned with. She's very strong, despite a very troubled and painful past. She acts very much according to how she's been taught and I found it very realistic. Her internal struggle is fascinating. I loved watching her question what was right or wrong, as well as who she could trust. Her "abilities" and skills were very interesting and added to a very rich storyline. This is what makes the story loosely fantasy, but definitely not enough for me to actually label this story paranormal.

Ismae's hero, Gavriel Duval, was an awesome character. He was loyal, strong, true, and just a pleasure to read about. He deals with an internal struggle nearly as much as Ismae does, but his deals with several outside conflicts. He is very family-oriented - every bit of politics in this book goes back to his family. His romantic side is very sweet and I loved seeing him with Ismae. He is the first man to every really treat her respectfully and not in a completely horrible, hateful way. It's easy to see why she is drawn to him and their romance is very believable.

The supporting characters are extremely rich and well-written. Duval's friends are fun to read and quickly make you want to be their friends, as well. Duval's family and the rest of the political characters are fleshed out and each has a very distinct personality that is really fun to read.

The plot is where this book truly shines, however.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Holy Cow. Hooooooolly Cow. I’m just floored by how much I adored this book, and now I’m wondering what took me so long to get to it? I mean, I do know, I got it from Arcycle a few months ago, but I was trying to read all of my upcoming releases first, and now that I have finished all 2013 releases, now I get to dive into all these other books that have been calling my name for way too long. Now? Now I get to ask myself why I waited so long to read this amazing book. I know one of the biggest drawbacks is the size, but man was it worth reading.

For starters, I loved how this was like a historical fiction with some magic wrapped into it. There is nothing like taking the past and adding something to make it lively because, as a historian, the past can be boring and so can historical fictions that just don’t understand how the past really happened. I think I would actually liken this to a sort of Game of Thrones lite. Sure there are no dragons or things like that, but there is that element that this could have been the past if not for the crazy mysticism.

I adored the characters almost right away. Of course there was some getting used to what the hell was going on and adjusting to who all these people were. Its hard to deny that when you have such a complicated plot and so many different character. That was my biggest problem I think that there were a few characters that I couldn't keep straight, namely the high lords that were all kinds of wrapped up in the plot.

I adored Ismae and her strength in the face of everything that could go wrong that did. I really enjoyed her getting to know Duval and how even though she was sort of told not to trust men, she clearly trusted her gut which was much more important.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent!!
I was instantly hooked! This kept me turning pages through out. I loved the history just as much as the characters, double crossing and romance.
Published 1 day ago by Amy Warren
4.0 out of 5 stars Can a daughter of death fall in love? Because that's beginning to look...
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

An Overview of the novel: What if the God of Death was your father? What if it was your job to help him take people to him? Read more
Published 2 days ago by Danica Page
5.0 out of 5 stars Assassin Nuns. That is all.
The only thing you have to know about this book is: ASSASSIN NUNS. That is enough said. ;-)

While that was certainly enough to pique my interest, the book itself proved... Read more
Published 7 days ago by Catrina T.
4.0 out of 5 stars In between of "It was okay" & "I Liked It"
Grave Mercy has an interesting mix of Fantasy, Politics, and Historian Fiction. In between of all of this we also see a glimpse of romance, specially the kind where both of the... Read more
Published 8 days ago by Spiced Latte
5.0 out of 5 stars wow! That was realllyyy good!
I wasn't sure what to expect with this book but it was fantastic! Beautifully written and a truly unusual plot setup. Assassin nuns... who da thunk? Loved it!
Published 8 days ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Delightful Read
I instantly fell in love with the voice of this character. The irony of building a new life for herself by claiming the lives of others ... Read more
Published 10 days ago by swager44
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed overall
The book started off pretty quickly with distress and a bad situation for poor Ismae. I was lured to read on to figure out who had bothered to rescue her, and by the time we... Read more
Published 10 days ago by MoonShineArtSpot
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
really good book could not stop reading
Published 10 days ago by mm1dm
3.0 out of 5 stars A period of history brought to life with a twist of assassination
I have very mixed feelings about this book. For the most part I enjoyed it but there were a couple parts where it nearly hit rock bottom. Read more
Published 11 days ago by J. Rivera
4.0 out of 5 stars read but a couple of the story lines were predictable ...
read but a couple of the story lines were predictable such as what happens with her scars . but I found it interesting the writer's world that she creates . Read more
Published 14 days ago by Amazon Customer
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Topic From this Discussion
Other books in the series?
No, it's definitely a trilogy. There's Dark Triumph: His Fair Assassins, Book II (His Fair Assassin Trilogy), which is Sybella's story. Then there's Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassin Trilogy), which comes out in November (2014).

If you're an adult and... Read More
May 22, 2014 by Rawrr |  See all 2 posts
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