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Grave Mercy: His Fair Assassin, Book I (His Fair Assassin Trilogy) Hardcover – April 3, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com 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
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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.

Product Details

  • Series: His Fair Assassin Trilogy (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 560 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (April 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780547628349
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547628349
  • ASIN: 054762834X
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (684 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #210,770 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

146 of 151 people found the following review helpful By Gretchen @ My Life is a Notebook on May 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover
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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68 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Jessica McKelden Cave VINE VOICE on 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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Format: Paperback
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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Grave Mercy: His Fair Assassin, Book I (His Fair Assassin Trilogy)
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