Google+ YA Romantics: Just Finished Reading ... Grave Mercy

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Just Finished Reading ... Grave Mercy

Photobucket Review: Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers.


 If you're a fan of historical fiction, you won't want to miss this story of an assassin nun plunged into fifteenth-century political intrigue.


Grave Mercy
by Robin LaFevers

April 3, 2011
Houghton Mifflin

Source: won this from Andrea @ Busy Bibliophile.

Tagline: Why be the sheep when you can be the wolf?

My summary: Ismae's new husband rejects her upon discovering that she bears the mark of one sired by  Death. She's given a choice: an arranged marriage or the convent. She picks the latter, and becomes a nun in the Convent of Saint Morain, which she soon learns is no ordinary religious order. Morain is the ancient patron saint of death, and the nuns carry out his will by becoming assassins. Ismae is trained in weapons, in combat, and in poisons. Upon carrying out one of her first assignments, she runs into Gavriel Duval --- a handsome member of the court of Brittany. Ismae is ordered to keep an eye on Duval and is soon drawn into a tangled web of intrigue, danger, and romance.

My take:   I love historical fiction. My high school didn't teach much world history, and ever since then I've been playing catch-up. Reading a book like Grave Mercy offers me a welcome chance to learn something new, even if that slows my reading down. In this book, Robin LaFevers takes a fascinating historical figure -- Anne of Brittany -- and uses the very real intrigue surrounding Anne's betrothal and first marriage to ground the imagined parts of her story.


If brushing up on history isn't your thing, there's still enough information offered up within the story that you can enjoy it thoroughly. But if you want to know more, the author has some information on her website. The Anne of Brittany Wikipedia page also seems pretty thorough.

If you are new to historical fiction, this book might seem like slow going at first, even with the assassin-nun training and such. Robin LaFevers slowly and patiently weaves a web of tension and conflict that always kept my attention, but eventually had me flipping the pages like crazy. I found the last third of the book to be unbearably suspenseful and surprisingly poignant.

If you're weary of love triangles,  this book will bring a smile to your face. The relationship between Ismae and Durant is of the slow burn variety -- they circle warily around each other for some time, which I loved.

No cliffhanger ending, which also made me very happy. While I will welcome another chance to return to the world that Robin LaFevers created, I was pleased to discover that the next book in this series will be more of a companion novel than a sequel,  and will be from the point of view of Sybella, another of the convent's lovely handmaidens of death.

Should you read Grave Mercy? Yes. I mean, if for no other reason than:

You can buy these  here.


But in all seriousness, I think you'll especially love Grave Mercy if you're a fan of these books:

Graceling by Kristin Cashore Poison Study by Maria V Snyder The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

Have you read Grave Mercy? Planning to? How do you feel about historical fiction?

 Scroll down for today's Divergent Trivia Question! 

33 comments:

  1. I'm glad you really enjoyed it. I really did like it after I brushed up on my history lol!! I thought the developing romance and the secrets and scandal were just awesome! Besides, Ismae just totally rocks!! I am excited to read Sybella's story.

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    1. I think I already told you this, but I found Ismae a little aloof at first. Then she slowly won me over. Some of her dry one-liners were hilarious.

      The real-life history was fascinating!!

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  2. I'm really excited about reading this book! I got it in the mail earlier in this week, and its just a lovely book! I'm waiting until I have a slower weekend to really sit down and enjoy it! Love historical fiction, and just history in general!

    It made me think of Graceling when I was reading the synopsis lol!

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    1. In that case, I'm sure you'll love it! Let me know!!

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  3. Hahaha!! The fact that you just compared Grave Mercy to Graceling and Poison Study does it for me. I am officially excited to read it!

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    1. I thought that the emotional arc that Ismae goes through is somewhat similar to Katsa's.

      And somehow the relationship made me think of Yelena and Valek!

      Let me know your thoughts!!!

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  4. I want to read this book :)
    hehe "slow burn" variety. that is awesome.

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    1. haha.. and oh! i read The Other Boleyn Girl.. i read it, put it down, and didn't finish it til years later.. i wasn't a bookworm then ;)

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  5. I'm glad you enjoyed it! I had a really hard time putting it down and it reminded me why I love historical fiction. I, like you, did not have much teachings in the form of history in school, not because my school didn't provide it, but because my teacher was terrible and sat there drinking coffee for the first 30 min of class..

    But yes! I loved the no cliffhanger and the lack of a love triangle, it was a nice change :) I'm looking forward to Sybella's story

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  6. Yay! yet another awesome review for GRAVE MERCY! I am super excited to start :) thanks for sharing your thoughts...

    Diana

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  7. I really want to read this one and I thought your review gave me a lot more information on what to expect, so thank you! And yay for no cliffhangers or love triangles!

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  8. I LOVE historical fiction and I love kick-butt characters, so I had this one on my tbr list. Your review made me really want to read it. I am looking forward to the no cliffhanger or love triangle too and I think it great that she is continuing the series, but with another character. It's now top of the list. All I have to decide is if I should buy it or get it through the library. Hmm.

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    1. Do what I did -- put it on the list at the library and then try to win a copy!

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  9. I feel like everywhere I look I am seeing this book! I can't wait to get my hands on it! I love a good slow burn and an ass kicking heroine. Bring it on! Thanks for the great review.

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    1. I am not one of those people with an aversion to insta-love, but I do like the slow burn too :)

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  10. I loved Grave Mercy. I'm always a little hesitant to recommend it because of it's slow pacing (some people complained about it) but I honestly could have just kept reading for 100's of more pages. I just adored every person in this book.
    And I'm not a fan of historical fiction or fantasy so I was shocked how much I loved it.
    Great review!

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    1. I did find the pace slow at the start, but I was never bored. I just thought I better mention it so that people could factor that in.

      I also think that Ismae isn't as in your face as she sounds from the blurb. She's really a very reserved character -- for an assassin, that is.

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  11. This book seems to be hit or miss with readers, but I LOVE historical fiction (I'm a history nerd) and kick butt female leads. Plus, assassin nuns, YES! Seems like it worked for you:) Great review, and thanks for the links to the author web page and Wikipedia info! Another great review:)

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    1. I can see why some people might lose patience with it -- but I do think that patience is well-rewarded by the end.

      It's always a strange experience when someone has a drastically different opinion of a book -- I'm thinking, "did we read the same book?"

      Let me know your thoughts once you read it!

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  12. I feel like I am seeing reviews for this book everywhere lately. I guess there is only one thing left to do...READ IT! Seeing Graceling as a book people who read Grave Mercy would like made up my mind to read this book.

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    1. Before I get someone mad at me, I should say that they aren't exactly the same. Graceling is fantasy, Grave Mercy is definitely historical fiction. Graceling is also more violent/action-packed.
      But I do think that the characters face similar challenges.

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  13. I'm glad you liked this one! I really loved it and really look forward to the next one, though I wish it wasn't about Sybella ... I just got too attached to these characters! :)

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    1. I am definitely hoping they make an appearance in book 2. I mean, if they don't I'll be mad!!!

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  14. I do like Historical Fiction. I have read some books by Phillipa Gregory.

    I was terribly distracted by the boxing nuns I must say. They cracked me up.

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    1. Marybelle, your comments make me laugh on a regular basis so I am happy to return the favor!

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  15. I haven't read much historical fiction but I'd like to, and I really want to read this one! And yay for the slow burn! And I'll be picturing boxing nuns as I read this... ;) Great review!

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    1. Yeah, slow burn can be way better than insta-love, I say!!

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  16. Yep, I love those other books a lot too and I loved the chance to read about a period I am not very familiar with.

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