Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?
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 under prepared—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?
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
GRAVE MERCY is more on them being a step ahead of their opponent, then it’s eventually peppered with a couple of really awesome moments of her being what she was: nun assassin. It’s that last bit that had me curious. I mean ‘nun assassin,’ right? Whose curiosity wouldn’t be piqued? That said, I was a bit nonplussed to find GRAVE MERCY progressing with less urgency than expected, although the constant need to out think the opponent then trying to figure out who the opponents were… kept me on the edge of my seat (apparently, I’m a fan of
Despite how slow things could get, with all the talking, considering and weighing of things, I was still pulled in. Perhaps it was because of these very things, that I kept on. The sophistication of how one event was linked to another and how one’s decision had consequence on other things, or how keenly observed they all were had me rooted. There’s nothing simple in this one. A duchy's... no, a kingdom’s future up in the air, a girl’s hand up for grabs then another girl trying to figure out what she had to do to with all of it.. see? Nothing simple at all.
Even the love aspect had me smiling, not in the gushy, ‘oh, how romantic’ manner though. I like that their connection was not instant; I like the suspicion between them; the constant doubting and the little assumptions they had of each other because (view spoiler)[them slowly coming to terms with each other (hide spoiler)] was much more satisfying.
Add that she really is a good guy, and so is he; that they both may be doing some unsavory things, but they’re doing those because they thought it the right thing. A little limited in perspective, but I enjoyed their constancy, more so with regard to him. With Ismae being slightly less certain, it’s this uncertainty that made her more vulnerable but more sympathetic, I think. Other characters were much appreciated too. Ismae and her sisters at arms, both trapped one way or another. From what’s been revealed of them, I know that they’re own stories are something I’d enjoy. Then Duval and his family, save the duchess and Isaboe, not one seemed worthy~ key word here being “seemed.’ Or everyone at court, for that matter: all of them with secrets of their own and their own goals to attain. Reading them do what they did was like watching several matches of chess played simultaneously: confusing for sure, but fascinating.
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