Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Lucky Seven Book Review #5: GRAVE MERCY by Robin LaFevers

I've been on a reading binge lately, and I've been lucky enough to have read seven excellent books that you definitely should bump to the top of your TBR list. (And five of them are from debut authors!) Here's a brief recommendation of the fifth of the seven, and happy reading!


Grave Mercy (Robin LaFevers)
(Houghton Mifflin, April 2012)

Summary from Goodreads: 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 underprepared—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?

GRAVE MERCY was one of those books that, after I saw the cover and summary and read an excerpt, I emailed the other FNC ladies with the link, about 50 exclamations points, and the line, "I MUST have this ARC." And thanks to the generosity of Joanne at My Brain on Books, I got one!

I finished GRAVE MERCY in just two days, and I loved it. The book overall has more of an adult feel, a la FIRE, in that Ismae (the main character) is in her teens, but because it's set in medieval times, she's technically an adult and acts/is treated as such. (If this were put in the adult section, no one would bat an eye.)

The awesome? Ismae is trained by nuns to be an assassin, a "handmaiden of Mortain" (the god of Death), carrying out his will. So. Awesome. (And hence, the badass cover.)

The main plotline involves political intrigue (totally absorbing, with plenty of suspicious characters and secret backstabbing), and the secondary plot involves her falling in love with a swoonworthy guy named Duval whom she may or may not be ordered to kill.

And when torturously (and delightfully) slow attraction builds between Ismae and Duval, it never overshadows the political plot, which I loved. (Same as UNDER THE NEVER SKY.)

Much of the book involves Ismae learning to trust herself and her instincts on how to serve Mortain, especially when the convent orders her to do things that are going against what she believes is right. This classic coming-of-age internal conflict makes this book perfect for the YA crowd, and as a bonus, Ismae is completely relatable as a main character.

The verdict? Preorder this book, so that you can read it right away when it comes out (less than 1 month!).

Bonus! There's going to be a companion novel (sequel?), focusing on another one of the young assassins trained at the convent. Sign me up for an ARC!

Further evidence: It got starred reviews from Booklist, Publishers Weekly, and Kirkus!

Check out the other books in the Lucky Seven!
Book one: THE GIRLS OF NO RETURN by Erin Saldin
Book three: UNDER THE NEVER SKY by Veronica Rossi
Book four: WHAT HAPPENED TO GOODBYE by Sarah Dessen

Stay tuned for book six of the Lucky Seven --- JANE by April Lindner!

And if you're in the mood to win a book, check out our giveaway of the awesome debut FRESHMAN YEAR AND OTHER UNNATURAL DISASTERS!


  1. I really want to read this. I tried to get an ARC through Shelf Awareness but the e-mail never worked. It sounds like a great story. Thanks for the review.

  2. AAAH I can't wait to get into this one it sounds awesome! Great review Donna!!


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