Title: Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1)
Author: Robin LaFevers
Genre: Historical YA
You know that old saying "never judge a book by its' cover"? Well, the sentiment behind it is really pretty, but I am guilty of doing exactyl what it tells us not to - I judge books by their covers. The way I see things, there's the Holy Trinity for picking up a book by an author you don't know: 1. The Cover; 2. The Title; 3. The Description.
Now, when I first heard of Grave Mercy, some three months ago, I fell in love with the cover. I tend to love historical books as a rule, and the cover made it clear that's what it was, not to mention that dress. I wanted that dress. The title was also interesting, and I was hooked with the description. Therefore, waiting until today to read this book was near impossible.
It's always a little daunting when you start a book you've waited to read for so long. There's always the risk that, after having waited, speculated, and bitten all your nails down to stubs with anxiety for it, the book won't live up to your expectations.
As was made obvious by my rating, Grave Mercy was not one of those cases. Ismae, despite her unusual name, was a lovely, albeit troubled girl to read about. One of the things I liked most about this book is that it spoke of the issues regarding men, and how women were - and at times, still are, even today - treated by the men who "owned" them: their fathers or their husbands. Ismae has been shunned and judged all her life for something that happened before she was born. She couldn't change it, even if she wanted to, and for 17 years, she desperately wanted to. Until, after an arranged marriage that ended before it had even truly begun, she found her way to St. Mortain, the Lord of Death's convent. She arrived there with a heart filled with hatred towards all men, and sure that any human with a Y chromosome (though she didn't call them that, of course) was despicable and selfish.
After she learns all she needs in the art of murder, she is sent on one of the most important missions of life; a mission which forces her to pretend to be a man's mistress. She almost refuses, but has sworn an oath, and goes ahead with the plan. What she never imagined was that maybe not all men are despicable; in fact, maybe one is actually quite agreeable, not to mention handsome...
A thrilling read, filled with great humor, amazing characters, beautiful plot and subplot, lots of intrigue, action and even a good spoonful of romance. Most highly recommended.