One point of starting this blog earlier this year was for me to get more comfortable on the internet. I can navigate the web, and I’ve made an effort to check out the popular sites (and now I can’t get off of Pinterest…), but I’ve been looking into career opportunities that require greater knowledge of social media, so I thought it would be a good idea to challenge myself a bit. I mention this because in my last post I started experimenting with hyperlinks, so I just wanted to forewarn the internet at large that this will only get worse as these posts go on. I will genuinely try to link interesting things!
I read Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, Book One) by Robin LaFevers before Warm Bodies, to be totally accurate, but I was feeling lazy that weekend and didn’t feel like writing about it. I stumbled across Grave Mercy as part of booklist on Goodreads, I think, about books where you root for the villain (this is where I would add my first hyperlink, except I can’t actually find that booklist now). I won’t lie to you – when I finally found the book in Chapters, I bought it partly for its’ sharp looking cover, as well as partly for the great tagline “Why be the sheep when you can be the wolf?”
Grave Mercy is about Ismae, a 15th Century girl with a very sad and loveless past who escapes to the convent of St. Mortain and learns that the god of Death has blessed her with the gifts of an assassin. After years of training, she leaves the convent for a major assignment within the high court of Brittany. Instead of a simple assassination, however, Ismae finds herself questioning her mission and her purpose. Is she meant to carry out Death’s violence, or his mercy?
It was actually very good! The book progresses in a logical way, not like some books where a character starts out one way and then does a total 180 in a weird direction. [This is really hard to do without spoilers!] Without accidentally ruining it for someone who happens to read this blog and had wanted to check out the book, I’ll just say that Ismae is an incredibly likeable character, and if the author had turned her into some kind of gorgeous Charles Manson, I would probably still have rooted for her. I think I was just mildly disappointed at the end of the book because I feel like I was led to believe that Ismae was more of a villain than she turned out to be. In retrospect, I guess I was looking for a Wicked-type book where the author develops a backstory for an unreasonable villain that makes us see why they are the way they are. Grave Mercy just isn’t like that; LaFevers definitely makes it clear why Ismae has the potential to be really frightening and evil, but Ismae is always a good person at heart.
There will be a sequel, Dark Triumph (not sure when it will be coming out), however it’s not a continued story about Ismae. Instead, Dark Triumph will tell us more about Sybella, another assassin-in-training at the convent of St. Mortain. When Ismae arrives at the convent, she makes friends with Sybella and Annith – I’m predicting that the third book in the “His Fair Assassin” series will be about this other friend, Annith. Just saying… I’m calling it right now.
If you’d like to learn more about the world of “His Fair Assassin”, or more about Robin LaFevers, click this link to her website!