The Book: Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
The Rating: 5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
“Whenever you are ready, or if you never are, my heart is yours, until Death do us part. Whatever that may mean when consorting with one of Death’s handmaidens.”
First of all, let me say that once again I am incredibly late to the party with this book… That happens a lot! In my defence, there are so many books to read and not nearly enough time to read them. You all know that, right?
Second of all, let me dive right in by saying that I absolutely LOVED this book! It has all of the elements that I want to find when I dive into a new story: intrigue, magic, romance and wonderful characters.
The story follows Ismae, one of the handmaiden’s of St Mortain – daughter’s of death trained as assassins to carry out their saint’s will. Ismae is soon forced to prove her loyalty to her sister assassins and her saint when she is sent to the Royal Court of Brittany in order to spy on Viscount Duval, the Duchess of Brittany’s closest advisor and her half brother.
Ismae starts the story as a very naïve character, blindly following the orders of the people who have, in her eyes, given her everything she wanted from life. Her story is fascinating to watch as it unfolds on the page, and I really enjoyed getting to know her as a character and I loved her development.
Duval was equally fascinating, and the sparks that flew between him and Ismae were wonderfully written. I loved reading the witty banter between them as they tested each other and got to know one another throughout the course of the book. By the end, I think it’s safe to say I was very much in love with Duval – I’m sure there are countless other readers in exactly the same predicament!
The descriptions of the Breton Court were wonderfully well written, and really pulled me in to the story telling. I loved how the courtiers interacted with one another, and seeing how Ismae and Duval fit into the mix was really interesting to read.
I honestly can’t say what my favourite thing about this book was. I loved the politics, I loved the drama, I loved the way the author had created her own religious hierarchy which was completely specific to Brittany and really seemed to fit in with the historical period in which the story is set. And I loved the ending. It felt like an ending, but at the same time it felt like a beginning… that may have been why I immediately went online to buy the next two books in the trilogy… Oops!
I’m so glad I finally decided to pick up a copy of this book from my library, and I can’t wait to read more of Robin LaFevers’ wonderful writing!