Inspired Review: Grave Mercy

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, #1)Grave Mercy by R.L. LaFevers

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


After years of abuse at the hands of her father and a narrow escape from an arranged marriage that promises additional brutality, young Ismae finds refuge at the convent of St. Mortain. The devotees of the god of Death train her as an assassin to serve as a handmaiden of Death. At the tender age of seventeen, Ismae enters the high court of Brittany on an assignment that may save or destroy the Breton duchy. Despite her training in a vast range of deadly and womanly arts, Ismae is not prepared for the political intrigues at court. She must also confront a target that makes her question whether her loyalties lie with her god or her own heart.


Wow! I read all 528 pages in two days. I held my breath through Ismae’s first kill and wracked my brains to determine which nobles were plotting against Anne, the Duchess of Brittany. The plot twists and lists of overt and potential villains kept me at the edge of my seat throughout. I don’t know how closely LaFevers follows the history of Brittany, but this novel has piqued my interest in this subject and I intend to look further into the story of the young Breton duchess.

While the plot alone is enough to suck you into this deliciously dark and romantic story, it’s the characters that hold your imagination hostage. Ismae is the perfect combination of worldly innocence and deadly efficiency. I couldn’t put the book down as each encounter unfolded between the fair assassin and her reluctant ally/mark, Gavriel Duval. My heart remembered the stirrings of first love, as Ismae’s emotions wavered between distrust and tenderness for the nobleman. Although there are many characters in the book—LaFevers provides a two-page list of the “Dramatis Personae” to help you navigate all the players—each one feels distinct and propels the increasingly dire story forward.

Ismae’s unique voice held me captive throughout the novel, and I rejoiced as she came to understand her own powers, purpose, and desires. I anxiously await the feisty Sybella’s story in Dark Triumph, the second installment to this addicting His Fair Assassins series.

Thank you so much NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin for giving me access to this fascinating e-galley! This is a YA novel, but I would also highly recommend it to anyone who loves historical fiction, fantasy, romance, and adventure!

The release date is April 3, 2012.

View all my reviews


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. pam thomson
    Mar 07, 2012 @ 08:37:16

    Sandy, your summary had me hooked. If it is anything like the last book you reviewed I can’t wait to get get a read. but please tell me its not another trilogy…the long-term suspense kills me!


    • inspiredbysandy
      Mar 07, 2012 @ 09:25:14

      Pam, yes, this one is just as addicting as Cinder! However, it is part of a trilogy. Each book in the series focuses on a different character, so you definitely get closure at the end of Grave Mercy, if that helps. I only have an e-galley, so can’t lend you a copy, but you should borrow it at the library when it comes out in April. Can’t wait to get together for our creative day next week! 🙂


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