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April 05, 2012

Review: Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers - Juhina

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, #1)
Title: Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1)
Author: Robin LaFevers

Publication date: April 3, 2012
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 
Genre(s): Young Adult (Historical, Fantasy)
Challenges: Debut
Source: Own
Pages: 549
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?
I am so in love with this book! I devoured this book in a day and couldn't put it down. Every single moment of the book had me hooked and even with how big the book is, I read every single word and LOVED IT! I know that some people were slightly disappointed that there wasn't much "assassinations" happening in the book and it was mostly political scheming and plotting, however i have a faint heart and I am so glad that even the killing scenes weren't graphic! Also I loved the political talk in the book and while some people did find it confusing, Robin had two pages at the beginning of the book of all the names and their positions so you wouldn't get too confused. I have to admit that I flipped back and forth several times, but I was never lost, in fact I was fascinated that Robin could create such a complicated and strong plot. 
The story is set in the late 1400s and revolves around Ismae, who you will know to be a handmaiden to Death. She escapes an cruel arranged marriage and is put in the St. Mortain convent and taught to be an assassin. Her targets come from the god of Death Himself through a marque on the victim. On Ismae's third mission, she ends up traveling with the mysterious Duval to the high courts of Brittany, where she needs to keep close watch for any traitors to Brittany. This is when the scheming, plotting, and political backstabbing starts, and oh I ate it all up! I am especially fond of plots with these themes because I find them to be suspenseful, exciting, and just original. You discover many shocking secrets and have to grip the edge of your seat while your heart is pounding 5 times faster trying to read as fast as you can to find out just what happens next. 
I loved Ismae, she was smart, caught on to things pretty quickly, rational, and wasn't smitten with love the first chance she got to experience it. She began to question her knowledge of her covenant and her teachings at the right times so I didn't have to pull my hair and start one of my yelling sessions, good thing since i was reading it in the middle of the night and didn't want to wake anyone up! As for the romance in the book, I feel that this was what softened Ismae's heart and caused her to question her beliefs and heal some of her emotional scars. Duval was such a gentleman and I loved how loyal he was to his duties and how gentle he was with Ismae. To sum it up, I am totally in love with Grave Mercy and will be raving about it for a while until I get more people to read it and discuss it. Robin LaFevers delivered a strong debut, one that is going on my all time favorite books of 2012. The only downside to all of this is that now I have to wait a full year for the second book! 
2012 Favorite! 


  1. Wonderful review, Juhina! I'm glad to see you loved this one so much. It's so awesome to find a book that just leaves you in awe.

    I set it aside a few weeks ago as it was going a bit slow but with so many glowing reviews popping up, I know I need to get back to it and give it a second chance. :)

  2. Wow! I have just read a review on this book and I am absolutely convinced to grab a copy! I heard wonderful things about it and if it's Juhina's 2012 favourites, I better read this book soon!

    Awesome review, Juhina! ♥ So glad you enjoyed it!

  3. Great review Juhina! Although I was a bit lost in the politics, I really enjoyed everything else in this book and I agree about Ismae I especially loved her character and the romance was so sweet!

  4. Great review, I really wanna read this. I love love books with politics!

  5. Apart from all the political scheming and plotting (which I couldn't for the life of me keep up with!), I really enjoyed this book too! I'm glad to hear you loved it, Juhina. Awesome review!

  6. The more amazing reviews I read about this book, the more I want it so bad! Great review!

  7. Yayyyy, so glad you liked this one!! I met the author the other day and she was just FANTASTIC! I'm super excited to finally read this one, I LOVE historical fiction!!

    Anna @ Literary Exploration

    1. now I'm a little jealous that you met her!! you MUST read it!!!!

  8. I have the e-galley for this and am so excited to get my grubby paws on it.
    I hope to read it and get a review up next week.
    I saw in your IMM that you LOOOOOOOOOOVED it sooooo I'm taking the plunge.
    New Follower
    Come visit me.

  9. GAHHHH. I was forced to put this book down against my will! But I'm going to keep reading today and I can already tell this is going to be a special shelf read for me as well. You've got me all stoked for the rest of the book!


  10. So glad you love this book too! Great review! :)

  11. Totally agree with this review! Grave Mercy is definitely a book to keep, I loved it! The fact that there's a whole year to wait for book 2 is a little depressing, but I hope it'll be worth it - Sybelle and her wounded knight! Yay!

    Thanks for the great review!

  12. Gawd!! Ever since you raved about this book on your YouTube channel, this has been right at the top of my To-Buy-Books list. Sounds so intriguing! Cant wait to get mt hands on this one!!