Friday, July 13, 2012 | By: Angela Brown

2012 YA /MG DAC - Grave Mercy

Amazon, B&N
From GoodreadsWhy 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?

So my thoughts?


Assassins.


Those trained in the art of removing  the life force of another human being, ceasing it to exist.


That drew my attention.  Then it turns out these aren't just assassins, but assassin nuns, well, at least the sisters who taught the recruits how to kill - erm - terminate life.


The cover.


I'm not big on the gowns on the covers because it's been a tad bit overdone.  Yet, there's something about this one that makes me tap my finger to my chin and go hmmm....

I got it!


That crossbow makes a HUGE difference for me, makes it stand apart from the typical, "Look at me!  I'm pretty!"  This says, "Dare to look at me, if you must.  Bear witness to the crossbow.  Know that I will use it."  You just hope she doesn't use it on you.


The story.


You can't help but to pity Ismae from the beginning.  Her life was one of difficulty from before the day she was born...aside from the fact she shouldn't have been born at all.  But she was and her life was the rougher for it.  Cursed.  Then enters the convent: new opportunity, new skills, new life and new dangers.  Lafevers takes the reader on a ride writhe with suspense, some political intrigue and historical beauty.  She led me to a time and place where aristocrats ruled by walking the narrow edge of a razor and everyone beneath suffered for the wrong, or sometimes the right, decisions.  Actually, that's happening a lot these days but for this novel, it was done in much more palatial fashion.


I'm not a big fan of historical novels but this is one I would recommend.  Have you read any historical novels that really grabbed your interest?

48 comments:

Natalie Aguirre said...

I've heard great things about this book. I'm not so into historical novels either but it's on my wish list at the library. Thanks for your great review.

Maria Zannini said...

I adore historical novels from all time periods in history. The cover is terrific. I like the perspective the artist used.

Thank you for the review. Very helpful.

Angela Brown said...

You're welcome. I really enjoyed reading this novel.

Angela Brown said...

I agree about the cover. Of course, the crossbow did the job for me lol!!!

Eliza Tilton said...

Reading this right now!

Angela Brown said...

Cool. I'd love to hear your thoughts on it. :-)

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I do love historical novels -- that's mostly what I write -- and this cover caught my attention, too. (Especially because it's published by HMH, the parent company for my publisher Clarion. I'm trying to anticipate what my cover might look like ...)

Thanks for the review. I'm looking to stock up books on my Kindle for my vacation next month!

Miranda Hardy said...

It captured my attention, for sure. I'm a fan of historical fiction.

Angela Brown said...

This book should make a nice addition to you stock of books.

Angela Brown said...

I may be getting into more historical novels. I haven't read many, but the ones I've read, I've enjoyed.

Donna K. Weaver said...

What a tough situation to be placed in. Total Ugh. I'm guessing is she leaves the convent her horrible hubby will come after her.

Angela Brown said...

Very possible. But she's got that crossbow and can shoot him or bonk him on the head :-)

Tyrean Martinson said...

I'm really excited this book is out. I read the beginning chapter on figment, and loved it. I read historical fiction usually when my mom hands it to me . . .so those books don't usually have crossbow wielding assassins on the cover. Although my mom loved Hunger Games in our book swapping, she usually hands me Christian historical fiction from her shelf.

Deana said...

I was going to say I love the cover. It really draws me in! And I am a fan of historical fiction so I will definitely have to check this one out!

Angela Brown said...

The beginning of this story really made me feel bad for the MC. She had it rough.

Angela Brown said...

Cool beans, Deana :-)

Reece said...

Personally, I've never liked the 'girl-in-dress' covers. They're a big turn-off for me...but I'm not exactly part of the target audience anyway, so it doesn't matter what I think.

Angela Brown said...

I would definitely want to take your perspective into consideration. Although you may not be the target audience, there's always the desire for cross-over appeal. It'll be interesting to see what the next "cover trend" will be.

Heather said...

I've been wanting to read this one. I love historicals if they're done really well. The Vespertine and The Springsweet are two of my favorites.

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

Can't wait to read this. I'm a big fan of Shrinking Violet's :)

Amy Saia said...

I know what you mean about the fancy dress covers! But this one is really striking. I guess there's a part of us that still wants an element of the untouchable, so it must fit that sort of need. Sounds like a great book!

Alleged Author said...

I agree with you on that crossbow making the long dress-clad girl waaaay more interesting. Maybe that's the accessory for '12? :)

Angela Brown said...

I like the title The Verspertine. Let me check my TBR and see if I have that added.

Angela Brown said...

I hope you enjoy it. It was a wonderful read.

Angela Brown said...

I'm a quirky one so the assassins angle had me hooked and ready to read. Having all these other things along with it made it a great book.

Angela Brown said...

Hmmm...Need to make sure they make a smaller one to fit in my clutch purse as well :-)

J.L. Campbell said...

You had me at nuns who are assassins. Interesting and different.

Angela Brown said...

Exactly :-) Definitely not your normal combination.

Gwen Gardner said...

Very nice review, Angela. You're right, the crossbow clinches the deal. I don't usually pick up historicals as a rule, but Pillars of the Earth was a good epic book for adults - I don't know of any historical YA or romance, though.

Jolene Perry said...

I think this looks just amazing. Love the cover. Everything.

M Pax said...

Assassin nuns? Awesome. I'll have to check this one out. I do love a good historical novel.

Elizabeth Twist said...

Thanks for the review. It sounds great - who could resist assassin nuns? (Okay, probably lots of people, but not me.)

Angela Brown said...

I'll have to check out Pillars of the Earth. I think I've heard of that before. But I get so caught up in YA that I probably let it pass me by. Time for a second look :-)

Angela Brown said...

Great read if you ever get a chance. Tension in the romance area as well.

Angela Brown said...

Cool. I've probably been missing out by not reading historical novels as often as my normal kicks.

Angela Brown said...

I'm with you, couldn't resist them :-)

Shelley Munro said...

I've read this one and really enjoyed it. The author had me at assassin nuns. The red dress on the cover seems very common these days. You think they'd change the color of the dress to blue or purple or green for variety :)

Angela Brown said...

LOL!!! They can change the color. They just better leave the crossbow :-)

Krispy said...

I think this one isn't something for me, but glad you liked it! It seems like a lot of people have been enjoying this one. I just finished a YA historical fiction book that I really loved, Book 2 of the Montmaray Journals, FitzOsbornes in Exile. It's a straight historical though, no magic fantasy stuff, but it was so good. I love the characters. It's set at the onset of World War II.

Angela Brown said...

Gotcha. Grave Mercy has a historical setting but it has a slight, very slight bend of beyond-normal-human ability, especially involving St. Mortain.

mshatch said...

I love historical settings. Add in the the whole assassin thing and you got my interest.

Donna Hole said...

Assassin nuns is pretty cool.

......dhole

Angela Brown said...

I wasn't sure how much I'd enjoy it until I started reading. Then all the intrigue and assassin stuff just caught me up.

Angela Brown said...

Very cool, indeed, Donna.

Jess said...

I've LOVED Robin LaFevers since reading both of her middle grade series (Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist and the Theodosia Throckmorton novels). I can't wait to get my hands on this YA book. She's my writing hero :)

KarenG said...

I haven't read any lately. For a historical fiction to really stay with me it needs to have that something extra special. I don't read too many of them.

Leslie S. Rose said...

Oh TBR list, here's a new friend.

Candilynn Fite said...

This one does look like a great read. And, I agree with you. Gowns are usually a bit overdone, but her crossbow definitely gives this one an edge. :))

Post a Comment

Talk to me :-)
Comments are welcome.