Grave Mercy

Grave Mercy

eBook - 2012
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In the fifteenth-century kingdom of Brittany, seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where she learns that the god of Death has blessed her with dangerous gifts--and a violent destiny.
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012
ISBN: 9780547822419
Characteristics: 1 online resource

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h
happycanuck
Sep 20, 2017

Really like the writing style, female assassins theme, character development and pace of the book. Am happy to have just discovered this talented author.

a
Agrysen
Sep 10, 2016

Fantastic historical fiction book with supernatural elements. Nods to historical figures, old gods, and mythos.

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Chelsea016
Aug 22, 2016

This was a great book!

I liked Ismae's journey into becoming an assassin and I loved it even more as she started to see that things weren't necessarily as black and white as she thought. I really liked how in the end she came to a realization that she could serve Mortain as well as her heart.

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Nymeria23
May 25, 2016

What a great book. Just because I'm not planning on reading Sybella's or Annith's story after this, doesn't mean I enjoyed this book any less. I may have appreciated it more, knowing that my glimpse into this world of Brittany would be cut short due to my own insistence.
Wonderful read! I loved the hardcore Ismae, set on becoming an assassin for her father, the patron of death. Her previous experiences before the convent have definitely harden her heart and her thoughts, especially towards men, which is why she is ecstatic for her first missions, where she can finally work for her god in full. That is, until her newest assignment leads to her being portrayed as the 'consort' to the very angry, quite infuriating Duval. Unable to comprehend how her Reverend Mother could place such a task before her, Ismae decides to take her situation in stride, learning all she can and being on the lookout for as many marques as possible. When the conspiracies and threats against her country and her duchess not only amount but become much more personal, Ismae is going to need all the help she needs to make sure everyone around her keeps their heads; and that she keeps her heart.
One of my favorite aspects of the book was her and Duval's relationship, which just seemed to develop naturally, and how Ismae is immune to poison. However, while this aspect of her did come in to play in the storyline, I wish more may have come from it, such as her detecting an assassination attempt or having someone think that they were poisoning her or something. I don't know, I just kept expecting more to develop from that.
Really good read, it's size didn't stop me from finishing it in a total of two days though :)

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Wisdom5
Apr 09, 2016

This. Is. Now. My. Favorite. Book. Ismae is a very likable and interesting. The plot has a lot of twists. It was confusing at parts, you really had to know who was who. There was some classic twists in the story. Overall I loved the book, though I'm not sure I liked how it left off then moves on to Sybella.

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MicaelaMuldoon
Jan 08, 2016

I am a little late beginning this trilogy, but I enjoyed the first book and it probably won’t take me too long to catch up.

What I liked: The characters. Ismae is strong of spirit and is very observant and clever. She really developed and changed throughout the book. True, her position as an assassin is ruthless, and often times I questioned her bloodthirst, but she became more merciful and discovered a different path for herself. This part of the book is perfect, in my opinion. I don’t want to give too much else away about this. I also really liked Duval. He had a couple of rough moments, but nothing truly worrisome, and I appreciate that he wasn’t a jerk like so many YA love interests. He was noble and angry and smart and he tried very hard to make things work out for the best of everyone. Plus, he is a good big brother, and who can resist one of those? Another thing I appreciated was the use of actual history and political conflicts. It did make some aspects of the book predictable, but it was cool to think “Hey, I’m reading the dialogue of someone who actually existed.” One of the strongest points, and one that should have been played on far more, in my opinion, was the mythology of the nine old saints. This world building played on existing Celtic and Greco-Roman mythologies, but it was unique at the same time. One more thing I liked: the ending. So squee!

What I disliked: Not enough mythology! This was one of the strongest parts of the story and it should have been more present. I was expecting this book to involve more of the supernatural and was disappointed that it didn’t. Also, the court stuff got a bit boring/confusing at times. It could have used some clearing up, and I think Lafevers could have done more to make us care about Brittany and not just the characters because the predicament, bad as it was, didn’t quite feel urgent enough. Also, although I ship Ismae and Duval, I think the love story was a bit too easy. Ismae was not trusting of men because they abused her, and then she spent three years in a convent away from any men. I don’t think she’d fall quite as easily as she did. The romance built slowly enough, but the attraction/stirrings were far too early. Last thing: a lot of telling and not enough showing. I grew a bit impatient/disinterested when Ismae simply stated what she was feeling. It distanced me from the story, I think.

Overall, a pretty fresh book. I don’t quite think it deserves all the hype, but it’s worth checking out.

What a page turner! While a few unbelievable plot details occasionally took me out of the story, I greatly enjoyed this read over all. Political intrigue, a hunky, yet serious love interest, and deadly, empowered Ismae- loved it!
~Alexa

PimaLib_JusdinaNB Oct 07, 2015

Ismae is not the member of just any convent, she belongs to the convent of St. Mortain, the god of Death where she has been chosen to be a part of a dangerous plan. With a story full of assassins and love you know it is going to be a bumpy ride. This Young Reader's Choice Award Winner will keep you wanting more.

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isabellechang
Oct 06, 2015

Like may of the books I've been reading as of late, this has been on my TBR list for quite some time, before I finally decide to smack myself and read it already! I seem to remember hearing great things about this book, but it could have been another book that looked similar...no, I believe it was the third book that caught my attention, so I decided to read the first one so that I could read the third one...hmmm...no matter, I have read it, and now I will review it.

This book was chunky, and this could either be a good thing or a bad thing, in this case, it was a bad thing. When I think back to what I've read, I don't remember much of what happened in the first 350 or so pages. It was only at the 400 mark that I started to get excited.

Ismae's relationship with her saint/god was commendable. I really enjoyed reading a book where the main character is as devoted as Ismae was in her God. Granted, it did become a bit of a nuisance at times, but it was quite enjoyable as a whole.

I feel as if the side characters didn't get much of an appearance. Yes, I realise that this is normal since they ARE side characters, but I really would have liked to have seen and learned more about Beast and de Lornay. They were immensely interesting and I'm quite disappointed with how they met their fate.

forbesrachel Jul 18, 2015

From her birth Ismae was claimed by Death. She barely survived the poisoning she received in the womb, and now upon the night of her unwanted wedding, she gets swept away to serve him as one of his handmaidens. The sisters at the convent of St. Mortain train her to be an assassin, and in her effort to do his will, she finds herself tangled in the politics of a country in grave peril. The old gods, now saints under Christianity, will disappear if the French have their way; the duchess's well-being is of paramount importance, so she must accompany the disagreeable Duval to court to take out the traitors, one of whom may be Duval himself. As she works with him though, feelings start to grow that she wants nothing to do with, for he actually proves to be incredibly loyal and noble. Ismae is an intelligent, strong-willed woman who hides her eagerness and passion, and in only one aspect does she fall flat. Too little time is spent on her early life and interactions with men to justify her complete hatred of them. It's not that she's endured too little, but the author didn't build this up enough with her words for us to feel it. This is a minor grievance when compared to the whole. There is some magic in this world, but it comes off as quite natural, making this an evenly balanced blend of Historical Fiction, Romance, and Fantasy. Between the intrigue of this political game, and the tension between Ismae and Duval, Grave Mercy has us reading straight through from beginning to end. Also, it should be noted that the series does something interesting. Grave Mercy recounts Ismae's tale, but the other two follow different assassins. Each of these stories interconnects at points, but all stand alone.

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EricaMcKay
Jul 19, 2015

“When one consorts with assassins, one must expect to dance along the edge of a knife once or twice.”

KaiaWillow Aug 13, 2014

"Perhaps you mistake death for justice, and they are not the same thing at all"

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neocarleen
Dec 18, 2013

“Why be the sheep when you can be the wolf?”

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mrfbiini2
Feb 01, 2013

“When he laces his fingers through mine, my heart does its now familiar panicked flight, bumping painfully against my ribs. My shoulder twitches as if to pull my hand back, but my heart overrules it.”

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mrfbiini2
Feb 01, 2013

“I pause at the door, wishing I could find a corner and sleep until my head clears, but the sailor said the abbess is expecting me, and while I do not know much about abbesses, I suspect they are not fond of waiting.”

m
mrfbiini2
Feb 01, 2013

“He barks out a laugh. "My little rebel.”

m
mrfbiini2
Feb 01, 2013

“It is this kindness of his that unsettles me most. 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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mrfbiini2
Feb 01, 2013

“The body on the ground is nothing more than a shell, a husk, and I am filled with a sense of peace. Yes, I think. Yes. This is what I want to be. An instrument of mercy, not vengeance.”

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mrfbiini2
Feb 01, 2013

“... true faith never comes without anguish.”

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mrfbiini2
Feb 01, 2013

“God's Teeth,' he says. 'I was only trying to wake you. You were crying out in your sleep.'
'I was not,' I say, then look from his neck to my knife.
'When I tried to wake you, you stabbed me.' He sounds sore put out. and I cannot blame him.”

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blue_dog_8329
Jul 05, 2017

blue_dog_8329 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

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Agrysen
Sep 10, 2016

Agrysen thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

e
EricaMcKay
Jul 19, 2015

EricaMcKay thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

adottoprog Jun 26, 2014

adottoprog thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

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KKPGIRL
Jul 27, 2012

KKPGIRL thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

black_panda_159 May 05, 2012

black_panda_159 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Summary

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mvkramer Sep 27, 2013

Ismae Rienne is not a normal girl; she is the daughter of Death himself, marked -- and hated -- from birth. When her human father tries to sell her into a brutal arranged marriage, Ismae escapes to the convent of Saint Mortain, where other daughters of Death learn how to kill for their Duchess and their patron god. Ismae believes in the convent's purpose, and is excited by her first assignment -- following the serious Gaviel Duval to the court of Brittany to root out traitors and French agents. But what she learns at court, and what she begins to feel for Duval, might come between her and the convent that rescued her.

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