Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Joint Review: Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Author: Robin LaFevers
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Date of Publication: April 2012

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.

Grave Mercy was nothing like I thought it would be.  For some reason, I was thinking it would be more of a dystopian book.  What I got instead was a historical novel with mythology, intrigue and a sweet romance.   While it did drag a bit in parts, I was glad I stuck it out.  I ended up really enjoying the overall story.  I will admit that in the beginning, I didn't care for Ismae.  While I felt badly for her situation, I was a little taken aback at her eagerness to kill people.  I was hoping that I would come to like her in the end and I was happy that I wasn't disappointed.

The love story turned out to be sweet and wasn't annoying in the way that so many YA book romances are. In fact, it is pretty subtle and is one of the things that helps to guide Ismae into seeing things differently.  I have mixed feelings about this book being classified as YA.  While there is really no explicit sexual content, some of the other subject matter is a bit adult in nature.  Given the time period of the book, the reader shouldn't be appalled at the prospect of a 13 YO being married off, but it still is a bit disturbing.  I would probably leave this one for the over 16 crowd.  I look forward to the next in the series!

I really wasn't too terribly interested in starting Grave Mercy, but Kari can be a tough taskmaster so I grudgingly started Grave Mercy so we could do this joint review.   Next thing I knew I was a third of the way through.  The book started great.  It was a really interesting premise to have a convent of nuns as assassins for Death.

Once it got past that one-third mark it got a little dull for my tastes.  It was a lot of politics and French history.  I suppose if French political history is your thing it would be terribly exciting, but it wasn't really mine.  I wanted to read more about Ismae in action, poisoning people and garroting them with her miseriecord.

I don't think I liked this book as much as Kari did.  I don't know that I would pick up the next book in the series, unless it was really different.  I want to read about kick ass ninja nuns, not somewhat meek "demoiselles" that sit around waiting for orders.

So who do you side with Kari?  Or Autumn?


Bookworm1858 said...

My opinion is more like Kari's-I really enjoy historical fiction so all of that intrigue was super enjoyable to me although it wasn't too everyone. However I was let down by the hype-I didn't think this book was as great as everyone else had said.

Autumn Crochet said...

I was kind of surprised by all the hype surrounding this book too. It didn't seem like the typical book that gets the usual buzz.