Thursday, May 31, 2012
"Grave Mercy" by Robin LaFevers
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
From Goodreads: "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 first impression of this book when I held it in my hands was, "Whoa, this is a BIG book"- and it is, clocking in at over 500 pages (549 to be exact). While in the past I was quite hesitant to read a book of this magnitude (I mean, why read a single book which was 500 pages, when you could read two or three 200 page books), I wasn't in this case thanks to Veronica Roth's "Divergent", which was also of a similar page number. I thought that like Veronica's book I would fly through this book, be captivated the entire time, and the whole nine yards, however, I must admit that this book didn't fly by as much as I was hoping for, primarily because of the political intrigue that was marketed so much? I didn't find it all that intriguing. I wish that either the writing had been more succinct- eliminating much of this aspect of the storyline (I think that in doing this the book would have been shortened by at least 200 pages), or that the romance aspect of the storyline had played a larger role (what can I say? I am a hopeless romantic. I think that a romance can make even the worst of books tolerable).
That being said, I enjoyed each and every character of this book, even the villains, which I believe is a testament to Robin's talents- as I can recall very few villains that I have actually liked over the years (Snape from the "Harry Potter" series, Valentine from "The Mortal Instruments" and Warner from "Shatter Me"). Why I enjoyed each character because I found them to be so finely crafted- from Ismae, who was able to prove her worth over and over again to those who doubted her over the years (and who looked pretty bad-ass while doing so, RE: the small crossbow), to Duval, a person who despite his somewhat prickly exterior has a heart of gold, to Anna, who never let her age deter her from what had to be done, to Beast and DeLornay, who brought much needed comedic relief (and in the case of DeLornay, swoon) to the book.
All in all, if I had to sum up this book in a few words I would describe it as being "The Game of Thrones" meets Tamora Pierce's "Trickster's Choice" series- I think that fans of either series will gobble this book up in a heartbeat and promptly ask for seconds. I think that Robin has a real knack for writing YA and I cannot wait to see what she has in store for us with"Dark Triumph" (and I don't know about y'all, but I am really hoping that the knight that Sybella has to rescue is Beast).