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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin Trilogy Book 1) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 565 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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. I was pleasantly surprised when I realized I actually couldn't guess what was coming-and I certainly didn't guess the ending! (Well, in part. It's a romance; some things are a given.)
And the romance. Color me SO HAPPY. Sure, it's the typical line where they start off disliking each other and then realize they love each other, but it worked. The reasons they were so untrusting of each other were REAL. The worries they had were REAL. The progression of their relationship was REAL. They came to trust each other before they came to love each other, which is how it should be. Hallelujah.
Lastly, Grave Mercy made me realize just how much modern day/modernish day plus a few years into the future where everything is a wreck books I'd be reading. I love historical fiction, and Grave Mercy made me miss it ridiculously. I didn't realize it until Ismae legitimately used the word "poleaxed" in a sentence and I started giggling, because how many modern teens use that? All around, this book was a refreshing change from the other books I'd been reading that was filled with great characters, a fantastical historical world, great mythology and a real romance. If you like historical romance headlines by killer females (yes, pun intended, deal with it) then I certainly recommend Grave Mercy. Even if you don't do much historical fiction, I still recommend it. The history and it's figures were done so well I absolutely forgot it WAS historical fiction. It's one of my favorites so far this year!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
What would it be like to be the daughter of Death, trained in weapons, poison, and the art of killing? Ismae would know.Read more
I like stories about assasins, so when I first looked at this book I was intrested, but...Read more
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