Based on her experiences, Ismae think that every men is the same and for that gladly joins the convent to be Death's handmaiden and serve His will. It is surely a batter future than the one she was supposed to have. Ismae is simply amazing. She has strong opinions and is more than capable of taking care of herself. She is an assassin. I will not be caged. I can dodge a blow or block a knife.
I am impervious to poison and know a dozen ways to escape a chokehold or garrote wire. But kindness? I do not know how to defend against that.
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Ismae's life with the nuns was shortly described and I was hoping to see more of the actual poison and combat training. Nevertheless, the beginning was very imersive and gripping. After training, Ismae gets her first assignment, which she manages with ease and no questions. But her third task is much harder then even the abbess anticipated. Ismae gets herself in the mids of intrigues and political machinations right at the court of Brittany. She starts to question everyone around her and soon finds out that maybe, the only person whom she can truly trust, is the one she wasn't supposed to.
The one convent sent her to spy on, Duval. I'm not going to lie, it is not always fast paced, but rather slowly revealing, intriguing and mystrious story with lots of spying at court. You can't be sure whom to trust. The prose is also worth mentioning, as it was absolutely beautiful and well suited the story. Grave Mercy has the right amount of romance - Ismae's relationship with Duval is swoon worthy and amusing from the beginning - blended with political intrigue, court life, poisons and killing.
If you enjoy stories set in the past, gorgeous prose and interestingly balanced romance, politics and kickass-ness, as well as if you're interested in reading about Assassin Nuns I'm sure everyone is a bit interested in that! I sure was and am not in the least disappointed , then Grave Mercy is meant right for you.
Yes, I think. This is what I want to be. View all 16 comments. Feb 02, Kat Kennedy rated it liked it Shelves: kat-s-book-reviews , the-great-shelf-of-meh , romance-romance-romance , to-ya-or-not-to-ya. Grave Mercy is the improbable tale of an assassin-y murder-nun, Ismae, on a mission to rescue the Duchess of Brittany from a fate worse than death — a really disgusting old, pervert man.
And given those facts, you would be forgiven for Grave Mercy is the improbable tale of an assassin-y murder-nun, Ismae, on a mission to rescue the Duchess of Brittany from a fate worse than death — a really disgusting old, pervert man. They tried to do that with that Pirates porn movie. The director loved it so much he cut out the sex and rereleased it as a feature movie. The premise was very interesting and I think the idea was most noteworthy.
Certainly, both characters are likable and work well together as a team. But the actual romance is never particularly breathtaking or impassioned. Which would be fine if the movie had more throat-cutting and less awkward moments where the two main characters almost kiss. The mystery is laughably easy to deduce which, for me, just added to a rather average reading fare. I recommend this book to those that like the idea of assassin-nuns without dealing with the mess and teenagers who want a gateway book to the historical romance genre.
Check out our joint review of this book on Cuddlebuggery Mar 26, Maja The Nocturnal Library rated it really liked it Shelves: surprise-surprise , reviewed-in , favorites , totally-saw-that-coming , historical-fiction , netgalley , own-a-dtb , cover-lust , just-another-book-crush , all-the-right-choices. What a pleasant surprise this was! Grave Mercy won me over in chapter one and I was unable to put down Ferguson, my Kindle, until I finished it.
I always have troubles getting through the middle part of a book, but that was not the case here at all. After being abused for her entire life by her vicious father and then married off at fourteen to an equally vicious husband, Ismae is saved by a hedge priest on her wedding night What a pleasant surprise this was! After being abused for her entire life by her vicious father and then married off at fourteen to an equally vicious husband, Ismae is saved by a hedge priest on her wedding night and taken to a convent where she is told that she is a daughter of Mortain, the god of death.
Ismae is reborn in the convent, determined to make the absolute best of the second chance life has given her. She is a good and dedicated student. Duval seems to be loyal to the duchess, he is her half-brother after all, but Ismae is under orders to investigate him. What can be more fun than nuns who turned You shall not murder into You shall murder only those we order you to and You shall not commit adultery into You shall seduce for information, but not for love?
Everyone, including myself, was thrilled by the idea of killer nuns, but that part proved to be just a little bit disappointing because these nuns had very little in common with actual nuns. I expected more conflict between their religion and their actions, but LaFevers chose another direction altogether. I really admired Ismae. Getting to know her was my favorite part of this book. I liked her spirit and her intelligence, and I felt that her actions were pretty consistent, a sure sign of a well-built character.
While I had a lot of fun reading it, Grave Mercy was by no means perfect. People with little patience for political intrigue will probably find themselves bored from time to time, especially around the middle. There is also the small issue of predictability: I knew who the traitor was about ten seconds after he showed up and it left me disappointed because I loved everything else so much.
Grave Mercy was much more fun than I expected it to be. View all 28 comments. Jul 28, Kelly and the Book Boar rated it it was ok Shelves: liburrrrrry-book , pretty-on-the-outside , read-in , everyone-loved-it-but-me.
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And so it is with us; we serve as handmaids to Death. When we are guided by His will, killing is a sacrament. But then the MC was given the assignment that I thought would be the driving force throughout the book, only to find out what was really going to happen was not how I had imagined. Talk about a real bait and switch. It was like going to pick up your brand new blue sports wagon and instead walking away with. Grave Mercy could be used as an exhibit of why YA books get a bad rap.
For the love of Tom Cruise, why do authors assume young people are stupid? View all 9 comments. Shelves: read , ya-fantasy , fantasy , historical-fiction , arc , young-adult. Five Solid Stars! See, I was taught: To walk like a bird, not like an elephant. Keep my ankles and knees together when I sit. My school tie is not to be used as a napkin. God can read my thoughts so keep them pure. My foul and sarcastic mouth will gain me no points in life. Come on! What did you expect? She learned from the Saint Mortmain nuns: Stealth and cunning knife combat to bring down a man with a marque of Death.
Feminine artistry to lure her victims into a false sense of security. The chemistry of poison making that could kill a man a hundred different ways. Defense moves to escape a chokehold or garrote. If those were the lessons being taught by the nuns I grew up with, I'd like to believe I would not have been such a disappointment. I have to say that prior to starting Grave Mercy I was skeptical about whether I would be able to keep my beliefs and deep seeded convictions about religion and faith enough at bay to enjoy this story. I enjoyed the political backdrop, the killer nuns, the historical time period, the constant intrigue and yes you heard me right For me, it all blended perfectly to make Grave Mercy a fantastical story.
There, she learns the skills to keep her safe from ever being hurt by a man again. After several years of combat training, she has been molded into a perfect assassin and is thrust into the political battle between three countries that fight for power and land, where she must carry out the orders of her convent. However, when the desires of her convent collide with the path of her heart, Ismae is forced to make a choice between executing a command from her convent and doing what she believes in her heart is right.
Arsenic & Old Lace: The Poison Handbook
Ismae and Duval were a perfect pair of protags, and their story was filled with enough struggle and romantic tension to keep me glued to the eInk on my reader. I loved how their relationship developed at a slow and deliberate pace. It made their love for one another believable and perfect. Awesome read! View all 49 comments. Feb 01, Sophia rated it really liked it. View all 3 comments. Mar 03, Sh3lly GrumpyBookGrrrl. Sooo good. This book takes place in the 15th century.
Ismae escapes from a brutal arranged marriage and is taken to the convent of St. There, she is trained to be the god's assassin. Ismae is then sent into a dangerous game of politics and betrayal at the court of young Anne, the Duchess of Brittany. Holy cow. The feels! Sybella, Beast, de Lornay, Anne Well, ahem, so I liked this book just a little and recommend it.
There is no love triangle! No annoying heroine. Lots of action. A lot of the characters were based on real people and historical events. I'm excited to read the next one, which is about Sybella. A definite favorite! Actually if Grave Mercy is by no means a bad book, I wasn't impressed either. What surprises me the most is how an original concept as Assassin nuns can lead me to feel slightly underwhelmed.
I guess that expectations are everything. To be bored to death. And yet, strangely, the biggest - only one? Weird right? Undeniably, what could be more fascinating than the discovery of the daughters of Death, more known as St Mortain's nouns, whose purpose is to learn an incredible amount of ways to be a deadly assassin?
Tell me? Therefore I wasn't bored, but interested, hooked, even - political calculations always draw me in, and I must confess that the settings immensely pleased me. Indeed there're so many periods which have not yet been explored by the literature! However, I'm sorry, but what was this obvious twist? For real, I was waiting and waiting and waiting for the characters to get to the same conclusion as me and Oh. They took their time for sure. As a result, I can't say that the mystery was compelling.
Indeed while the writing, the details of the political complots enthralled me, I didn't care much about the big revelation of the villains' identity, for it was pretty obvious since the beginning. Moreover, I couldn't help but notice the lack of accuracy in the historical facts - I don't know if that's supposed to be accurate, but in case you're wondering, that's not.
Oh, yes, the big events are "true", but except from them, every character is pictured in a wrong way. Take Alain d'Albret, for example. Yes he was betrothed to Anne de Bretagne, but he never had 6 wifes only one, actually. As for Fedrik de Nemours And so on. To be fair, even Dumas was known for romanticizing grandly his characters, so I'm not sure that it can be considered as a flaw. I thought I'd point it, anyway, because I'm an History nerd sorry about that. Seriously, lost enough, aren't you?
Okay, I'm annoying. I stop here. But then, I must point that I have not the sufficient knowledge to judge if the way the characters speak can be considered as accurate for s I have to admit that I have many doubts, because it appeared rather modern to me. Now, what I can judge are the mistakes when French language is used.
Of course it was rare - Thanks Mortain! At all. One might argue that I make grammar mistakes in English as well, and it's true sorry about that. But the fact is, I'm not publishing a book, but writing a review. But let's talk about the characters , shall we? Her mission? To protect the Duchess, Anne de Bretagne, while unraveling the layers of treason the young ruler faces.
In a word : Ismae must use her talent to figure out who is plotting against the duchess, including her closest support, Gavriel Duval. Well, I haven't much to reproach her, to be fair. Indeed I could understand her decisions, and contrary to some many? On the contrary, she thinks before acting, and if she IS long to realize some facts DUH , I can't say that she's blinded by love, as she wonders why and who and how is right all the freaking time.
She didn't trust Gavriel on sight for Mortain's sake! I didn't care so much about her either. In my opinion her monologues lacked of sincerity and believability, as I often found myself wondering Who thinks like that? Every thought is too neat, and I never really felt her struggle , question - I was told so, but never get the feeling, you know? He is nice, kind, but has the bad habit to order Ismae around.
Yet he is nice. And, you know, he is Well, okay, mostly dull. As the rest of the story, everything felt too mild to me, and no, my heart never missed a beat. Lack of strong feelings indeed. Yes, so-called , because we are told that they are the villains in this story, but never really shown, or not enough, in my opinion. Take d'Albret, for example. Oh, yes, he seems really disgusting, but what does he really do? To me, the only real villains are Ismae's father and her previous husband.
Indeed even if they exist , except for the beginning, the other characters fall into the background pretty fast, unfortunately. Personally, I'm eager to learn more about Beast how awesome is that name, by the way? It's pretty obvious that the cons overtake the pros by far. Now, as I did enjoy my reading still, I decided for a three that I can't help but find quite generous. For more of my reviews, please visit View all 21 comments. Feb 09, Robin Bridge Four rated it really liked it Shelves: stars , kick-ass-heroines.
This one is more Political while the next in the series has a lot more action. Still Assassin Nuns are always interesting. Original Review: This is an interesting YA novel as it is set in the s so it is somewhat historical but at the same time fantasy. There is royal intrigue, plots, strange customs and dangerous women. Ismae has been marked since birth. She is a daughter of death better known as Saint Mortain. Daughters of death it seems are beautiful and have some other worldly qualities to them. She is saved from an arranged marriage and sent to a convent for daughters of Mortain.
After years in the convent the time had finally come be sent on her first assignment. She killed a man that might have repented his past transgressions and was trying to clear his name for Brittany the country not the girl. To figure out who is plotting against Brittany she must set off to court with Gavriel Duval where she can use her gifts to assess who is plotting against Brittany and the Duchess Anne. I liked that there were complex characters in this novel.
No one was all good or all bad. Even our heroine is sorely misunderstood. She can tell when someone is about to die or sense them after they have died. But she is feared as death is feared. Gavriel too is complex dutiful to the core but sometimes he goes against the norm for what he thinks is right even if it brands him a traitor to his sworn saint. The romance that eventually grows between them is sweet and takes its time to blossom.
He sees Ismae for who and what she truly is and never tries to change her. I felt so bad for Anne, she has to marry to make an alliance to keep her kingdom that is on the brink of war but some of her suitors are treacherous and if wed she will surely die soon after so they can control her kingdom. The story was so interesting and watching Ismae grow into a bold woman was fascinating. I loved how she came to better understand Mortain and the two sides of him better throughout the book to realize possibly that being an assassin was not all he wanted for his daughters.
Incredibly unique heroine.
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View all 5 comments. Shelves: starred , fantasy , why-the-hype , , romancelandia , ya , mythopoeic , 4. When I saw Kirkus give a starred review to the 4th book in this world and make it sounds so enticing, with all the court intrigue and assassinating, I got super excited and thought maybe this would be the case when I try an old DNF and love it and have a whole new set of fantasy books to gush over and look forward to. But NO, "Grave Mercy" is still too shallow and pedestrian for my taste. Absolutely love the premise, which reminds me a bit of "The Cruel Prince.
Original review I don't know, for a book that received so many starred reviews it is oddly superficial and immature. Maybe too much of a romance? Not interested in finishing.
View all 34 comments. Sep 30, Rachel Reads Ravenously rated it really liked it Shelves: paperback , fantasy , ya-fantasy , young-adult. There, she is schooled in the art of being an assassin and dedicated to carry out his work. For years she is trained in many different ways to kill a man, and when she becomes 17 she is sent on her first assignment. Fairly soon Ismae is wrapped up in a mission to help the Duchess of Brittany, and forced to work with a man named Duval, who also does not want Ismae's help. I really liked this book, but it fell short of that something special that would make me love it.
Ismae is a very compelling character, if a bit ill-prepared for the assignment she was given. Duval was interesting as well, but I never really felt as if the reader really got to know him. The relationship between him and Ismae could technically be filed under slow-build, but it felt forced to me. I wish more time had been spent building their relationship because it very much felt like it went from "I can't trust you" to "We will do our best to be together in the future" in a matter of 50 pages or so.
The aboutface was too quick for my tastes. It was done very well, but I grew a bit tiresome of it by the end of the book. The book also promoted important aspects such as to think for yourself, second chances, and first impressions are not always correct. All very important themes for a ya novel.
I am very excited to read Sybella's book next, I feel like she would be an incredibly interesting character. PS: view spoiler [ I think the fact that Ismae literally saved Duval with her magic vagina is fucking hilarious. If only we all had that ability hide spoiler ] View all 47 comments. This is a long drawn out book and I wasn't bored not one time Ismae's mom tried to rid her in the womb with poison from a herbwitch and all of this did was give her a scar and make her a daughter of St.
When she is older her dad sells her to a horrible man who was trying to make her do her wifely duties, but once he saw her scar, he was terrified. Everyone that knew who she was, was terrified of her. The abess of St. Mortain Convent brings Ismae into the fold and trains her as an assassin for death. She is trained in poisons and weaponry. I love it! I freaking love it! Sorry, I digressed! The misericorde is only one of her weapons of choice, she uses a garotte in her bracelet, crossbows, knives, you name it.
She is bad to the bone! She is sent out on missions to kill people that have the marque of Mortain on them, this is like the go ahead to kill them, they are evil. She is allowed to kill in self defense as well. She is sent on a mission with Gavriel Duval to help protect his sister, who is Duchess Anne.
They find they are up against a lot of traitors, and bad people all around. I mean, it seems like you can't trust but a few in this book! Ismae isn't interested in men, she thinks they are vile creatures. Anyhoo, she starts to have feelings for Duval and I think it is so awesome. They are actually perfect for each other in their bad assery! I can't stress how much I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Plots, schemes, weapons, killings, etc. If you like all of that stuff, I think you will like this book View 2 comments. This book was outstanding.
You have all the fun elements- a young "kick-ass" female assassin gifted by the God of Death, a potential love interest, court politics, revenge, mistrust, and so on. Watching Ismae go from a naive young girl, who blindly follows, to a smart thinking young woman, was the best part of the book. I loved this book. While not the prettiest of reviews, it gets the point across! View all 33 comments. Oct 29, Gail Carriger rated it it was amazing Shelves: ya , fantasy , historical , coop. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The series premise: three girls from different backgrounds are deemed daughters of death and taken in to a mysterious convent where they are trained as assassins, called death's handmaidens. Each is then sent from the convent into the politics of late s Brittany where they find self confidence through love, purpose, and place in society. The writing: rich period color, first person perspective, strong voice, some graphic violence, modest sex scenes, excellent heroic counterparts, complex poli The series premise: three girls from different backgrounds are deemed daughters of death and taken in to a mysterious convent where they are trained as assassins, called death's handmaidens.
The writing: rich period color, first person perspective, strong voice, some graphic violence, modest sex scenes, excellent heroic counterparts, complex politics. Close accepting friendship between girls and women, betrayal by adult role models. Grave Mercy is about Ismae, an abused peasant girl, for whom a convent is salvation and her devotion to her god, Death, a redemption and a means to self actualization.
Ismae is sent into the high politics of the time to unearth betrayal, learning along the way what she must question and who she must become. She is learning about herself as she learns about her world, and what kind of place and path is open to her. A series of trials to be passed? It is the well-tempered blade that is the strongest.
Notify me of new comments via email. Notify me of new posts via email. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Sign me up! Click to order my first book, a photographic guide for children entitled Milkweed Visitors. Naturally Curious with Mary Holland An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide. Upcoming Programs.
Scent Posts Scent posts can serve as territorial markers as well as a means of conveying hierarchy, breeding status, gender, fitness, etc. Like this: Like Loading Will Lange. Just spent a day with Sue Morse, identifying scent posts — especially, as you say, at junctiions February 18, at am Reply. Cheron barton. As I nod primly, the man smothers a smirk but continues to gaze appreciatively at me. She feels my shame. He is tall enough to get a peek-a-boo view beneath the plunging neckline of my cream-toned silk blouse, where my black lace demi-bra does much more than lift and separate.
My breasts are thrust forward like zeppelins heading into combat. With my left hand, I pull back an errant tendril of my auburn wig, allowing him to take note of my singleton status. It works. The woman sees it too. The woman rolls her eyes. Ever the lecher, his eyes will stay on my bum while I stroll down the hall toward my room. Just as my hotel keycard penetrates its near-field zone, I hear him pass me on the way to his room next door.
I look up, feigning surprise. Because my contact lenses also give eyes to my Acme tech-op team, my boss, Ryan Clancy, had a front-row seat to my little meet-and-greet. Within the hour Ernst will be knocking on your door for a cup of sugar. Easier said than done. It also has enough static content to make it thus far impenetrable. Within the law firm, only one administrator has internal security: Ernst. More accurately, just one finger: his right thumb.
Acme would have had greater success if it had somehow infiltrated the firm. But unfortunately, this satellite office of three lawyers considers itself fully staffed with one receptionist, three assistants, and a paralegal: the woman who was in the elevator. From what our Acme mission team has seen and heard, he likes them friskier than the wife he left behind in Munich. He lies on the king-sized bed, staring intently at the television screen. Now he watches as my target restlessly paces his hotel suite. As I drop to his side, I close my eyes. No need to get the rest of our team hot and bothered as I greet Jack with a slow, searing kiss.
When I open my eyes, Jack is smiling. One mission accomplished. I now turn toward the TV. Ernst is watching his set too. A naughty history lesson is taking place on a porn channel. In it, a naked guy in a horned helmet is ravishing a woman who wears even less: a dog collar attached to a chain. Right now the dude is jerking it. Ernst is jerking something too, and quite vigorously. Ryan must also be watching because he chuckles. That Wera woman looks as if she could use a vacation.
Jack still looks worried. Time to change the subject. After taking a moment to catch his breath, Ernst snatches the kerchief out of the breast pocket of his jacket and wipes himself clean. I shudder. I pick up his bowtie from the dresser. This time, when he pulls me in for a kiss, my eyes are wide open and so are his.
Seduction is a part of our job. From seventy-three stories above street level in the rooftop bar of the Wilshire Grand Center, on a cloudless indigo night, you feel as if you can reach up and touch the stars. Ernst is more interested in groping my breasts through the plunging neckline of my lace mini-sheath. Ernst signals Jack for another round. Jack is more than happy to accommodate him.