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Grave Mercy: His Fair Assassin, Book I (His Fair Assassin Trilogy 1) Kindle Edition
|Length: 565 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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|Age Level: 14 - 99|
|Grade Level: 9 - 12|
- Book 1 of 3 in His Fair Assassin Trilogy
- Due to its large file size, this book may take longer to download
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- Publisher : HMH Books for Young Readers; Reprint Edition (April 3, 2012)
- Publication Date : April 3, 2012
- Language: : English
- ASIN : B005LVQZLQ
- File Size : 35395 KB
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print Length : 565 pages
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #107,000 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The main heroine, Ismae, is 17 years-old and after escaping a forced marriage at 14 has been living in the convent of St Mortain where she has been trained to be an assassin. Exciting premise right! Assassin! Love it! But no, I found the character and plot to be such a letdown. She is very two-dimensional with little substance to drive the plot.
The romance was almost non-existent, can you say insta-love! There was a moment when Ismae realises she had fallen in love with the male hero and I had to re-read the paragraph to make sure I had understood it. There is a little banter between the two, but not much else that had me thinking they were in love with each other. It’s like Ms LaFevers suddenly realised the two hadn’t gotten together yet and so she declared them in love without worrying about any build up.
In terms of the story-line, when I had finished the novel, I realised that at no time did I feel like any of the characters were in any real danger. There was no real action, just a lot of skulking about and talking about politics. At no time was I madly reading to make sure everyone would be ok, there just wasn’t any real suspense or drama.
I would say that ‘Grave Mercy’ is more a historical novel with a smattering of fantasy elements and a dash of romance.
3/5 Stars! Ok read but doesn’t live up to its potential.
Even though this is a book about a convent of assassins it is not particularly religious. Yes, there is some talk about the Old Saints vs the New God, but its in passing, and used more for explanations and intrigue than anything religious. Also, for a book about assassins, there isn’t a ton of death. Yes there are killings, but they aren’t explained in gruesome detail. Furthermore, Grave Mercy doesn’t really going into the training of the assassins either.
You are probably wondering “How is this book about a convent of assassins if it doesn’t focus on Religion, Killing, or Training?” Great question! I’m glad you asked! Its about Ismae and her first real assignment – protecting the Duchess of Brittany from the French crown and her own nefarious council. There is a lot of political intrigue, which I found super interesting, but it didn’t lack for action either. In the world of the high court of Brittany you never know who to trust and trusting the wrong people can cost you dearly.
Grave Mercy isn’t only about betrayal and intrigue and plotting. There is also a good amount of love – both romantic and platonic. You see examples of strong families and loving brothers that are juxtaposed against toxic family relationships and misplaced family ties. The duchess tries to find even a hint of romance in her arranged marriage and Ismae fights against her heart. There is a little bit of everything and I love it!
I would totally recommend this book to anyone who loves assassins and romance and political intrigue!!
Writing style - I think the writing style really got to me. The book opened up with a really exciting scene but it slowed soon after that and it never really picked up again. I think what really got to me was the first person present tense narrative as well as the linear writing style. Linear writing meaning, "I woke up and had breakfast. After breakfast we needed to leave. We were on the road for two days only to rest our horses...etc." I'm not really sure how to explain this further, but I like the books I read to have more inner dialogue and immersive detail. I want to understand the world, the characters, and why they do what they do...especially in a book categorized as fantasy.
Characters - No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't connect to Ismae. Again, this might go back to my complaints about the writing style, but I felt like her character was set up so well, but was executed poorly. She had a really interesting and harsh past. I mean her parents didn't want her! Although she mentions this in the book, but there's not enough inner dialogue for me to understand how she's feeling because of her past or how her past might have molded her into the person she is at present time. She has this weird connection and attraction to Gavriel but then we're not given enough reasons why that is. Gavriel also wasn't developed enough and we as readers don't understand him at all because we're seeing him through Ismae's eyes. So by the time the "love" happened, I didn't buy it. It's really sad because I felt like these characters had such great potential.
Plot - I understand where Robin Lafevers was going with the plot. And I saw the potential political intrigue but it didn't do it for me. Maybe this was an epic fantasy written for the YA genre, but I've read other fantasy novels written for teens, and I know teens are not dumb. However, this plot felt like it was dumbed down. I felt like the whole novel, I was reading about who the Duchess should marry. And the political reasons for why she should or should not marry someone was not well explained. If it was explained, it was at surface level, making it unbelievable.
I really wanted to like this book because it was intriguing just reading the cover flap. And I heard that the sequel is better, but because of the writing style, I sadly will not be continuing with this series.
Top reviews from other countries
The main character, Ismae, manages to be both sympathetic and strong. With her determination to maintain her independence and her ability to stand up for herself, she's something of a feminist heroine, but at the same time, she manages to be just about believable for her fifteenth century setting and does have her weaknesses and uncertainties.
Speaking of the setting, it's fantastic. Some historical periods and geographical areas get all the attention, but I don't think I've ever read a novel set in fifteenth century Brittany before. The author conjures up a great sense of place and time and puts in just enough historical detail to make the book feel intelligent and well researched, but not so much that the plot drowns in names of treaties and battles. There are lots are twisty plots and conspiracies and betrayals. Despite having a degree in history, it's not a period I'm hugely familiar with, but it seemed reasonably accurate and has left me with an urge to find out much about medieval Brittany.
The author has neatly blended her own world-building into the authentic history. Although the assassin nuns themselves seemed a bit far-fetched, the author describes their rituals and traditions so well that it's easy to suspend your disbelief. All of the folklore about the Nine Saints of Brittany was so well done that I can't have been the only person who ended up googling them to find out if they were real (sadly the answer is no). The book is mostly quite realistic, but there is a touch of the mystical/paranormal. Personally, I'd like to see more of that in later books.
Finally, there's a fairly large romantic element to the plot. This was perfectly well handled, though didn't catch my attention quite as much as some of the other aspects.
I read this quickly and immediately downloaded book two. I'd wholeheartedly recommend this and I expect it's the sort of series that will only get better now the initial scene setting is done.
My bad I know, and knowing this, I usually avoid such, but this isn't particularly described as a historical novel, set in the real world with magic. The penny dropped slowly, and by the time I realised I was into the story, so I kept going. For a bit...
This start well, setting the heroine up well and setting you firmly on her side, but once the action moves away from the convent, it degenerates into a totally signposted romance, with our apparently super trained killer nun relying mostly on her looks and curves, as well as managing some pretty preposterous snooping and eavesdropping. She's the focus of mass attention for heavens sake. Everyone is interested in her and her apparent affair with wossisname - of course she can't pop along to the castle, find the room the meeting is happening in, overhear the essential bits, then casually waft around as though she was meant to be wherever she gets spotted - in the end the shrieks of "No, no, no" from my inner realist got too deafening, so I gave up. Read the last few pages, thought "Yep, what I thought", and won't return to it.
Shame, it was a brilliant idea, killer nuns, but she wasn't exactly the kick-ass heroine I'd been anticipating, and the tortured, brooding, handsome, dark hero was sooooooo stereotypical!
First I must say that the book is written in the present tense and before I read this book, i would always say that i despised books written in such a tense (as was shown to me by books such as 'divergent' and 'the immortals', that although their plots are gripping, the fact that they are written as they are spoils the books for me). I have to say, it was not such a case with this book. The author has such a way with words that if the book was not written as such, i would find it odd. Robin LeFevers's way with words is something else, flowing smoothly throughout the book and with such plot twists that leave you hanging on the edge of your seat.
The story follows the heroine Ismae, a peasant girl who's father is thought to be the saint of death, after the failure of the attempt to abort her from her mothers womb. Sold to a cruel man to be his wife, she is rescued and sent to the abbey of St Mortan, the saint of death. There, she is taught the ways of an assassin an her devotion for her father and saint grows. After a series of events, she is sent to the court of Brittany, to serve the ways of Mortan and the duchess. The plot twists and turns with unpredictable betrayals and backstabbing schemes as well as portraying a growing love between her and a member of court.
This historical fiction transports you back to the late 15th century in France and all its glory. The plot is historically accurate to the events at the time (not including the abbey of St Mortan), with occurrences and many of the characters in the book being real. Its a fantastic read, one that has an Shakespearean feel to it, without the burden of the overly heavy language of the time. The language however, is suiting of the period, although simplified and slightly modernized.
overall, its a captivating book that you cannot put down until you finish it. I highly recommend it to anyone who is considering reading it.