Tue, April 10, 2012

Grave Mercy by R.L. LaFevers Book Review

Grave Mercy by R.L. LaFevers book cover

Grave Mercy
By R.L. LaFevers

Publication date: April 3, 2012
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 549 pages
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

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?

— Goodreads.com description

Oh, lord, I love this book.

I saw Grave Mercy by R.L. LaFevers in the bookstore this weekend and something just came over me. I grabbed it and hugged it and sort of shouted to my friends: “I LOVE BOOKS SET IN CASTLES!”

Yeah, I have the tendency to make a fool out of myself in bookstores. So what? I DO love books set in castles!

Grave Mercy is the type of book I know I’ll want to revisit again and again. It’s not QUITE high fantasy, but it’s the perfect read for fans of Fire and Graceling by Kristin Cashore or The Poison Study series by Maria V. Snyder.

My only little problem with Grave Mercy? The ages of the characters. I’d have a mental picture of a character as 19 or so…only to later find out she was 12. Or think of another character as around 22, and later find out he’s 30+. I chose to stick with my imagination, but it was a little confusing and rattling.

Still…there’s poison. There’s a hate-you/love-you romance. There’s a lead character who kicks ass. There’s intrigue and weaponry and adventure and MURDER, and if that’s not stuff worth geeking out over, I don’t know what is.

Bonus points: There is a map in the front cover. You know my feelings about this.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

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Posted by: Anna   •   In: fantasy, r.l. lafevers, romance
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13 Comments

  1. Andie Z said:

    Great review, Anna! I totally agree about books set in castles. And maps in the front of books. Grave Mercy was awesome, I’m so glad it’s part of a series so we get to revisit the world over and over again.

    Also, I’m not sure if the 30+ character you mention is Duval, but he’s actually 24. (Everyone seems to think he’s 30 though!). Robin LaFevers herself has confirmed this. Although Anne threw me off too, I pictured her as older than 12.

    I’m glad you loved this one! :)
    Andie Z recently posted..Review: Saving June by Hannah HarringtonMy Profile

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  2. We Heart YA said:

    We’ve been hearing really great things about this, but mostly from the Hype Machine. Glad to know that a Real Live Reader likes it too! Thanks for the review (and the warning about the ages). :)
    We Heart YA recently posted..Gender benders in YAMy Profile

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  3. heidi @ ya bibliophile said:

    This book is sitting on my shelf taunting me. Now I want to read it even more!!!!!!!!!

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    Posted on: Tue, April 10, 2012

  4. nea barabea said:

    Oh Anna :D You’ve totally got me with “There’s a hate-you/love-you romance.” I’ll read it! :) ;)
    nea barabea recently posted..Top Three #6My Profile

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  5. Sarah (Inklings Read) said:

    I loved Grave Mercy!! I definitely recommend it to fans of Graceling, even if it isn’t high fantasy. They share a bunch of similarities. Did you find it a bit slow in the middle? I couldn’t dedicate solid reading time to it midway through, so that might be why it seemed to move a bit slow.

    Great review!
    Sarah (Inklings Read) recently posted..Review: The Immortal RulesMy Profile

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  6. Jennifer aka YA Book Nerd said:

    This is one of my favorite books so far this year! It was AWESOME
    Jennifer aka YA Book Nerd recently posted..Tween Tuesday Review: Princess CurseMy Profile

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  7. Kristilyn (Reading in Winter) said:

    Great review! This was such a great book. :) I can’t wait to read the next one … or to read this one again! And to get a physical copy JUST so I can look at the beautiful cover. :)
    Kristilyn (Reading in Winter) recently posted..BOOK REVIEW: My Nest Isn’t Empty (It Just Has More Closet Space), by Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Scottoline SerritellaMy Profile

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  8. April Books & Wine said:

    Word. I geek out for intrigue and politics and magic and especially ROMANCE!

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  9. Lisa said:

    You had me at the Gracleing comparison.
    And again with the maps.

    LOVE.

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Tue, April 10, 2012

  10. elena said:

    I’m with you on the age thing! I had a lot of WHAT, they’re HOW OLD? moments. If only the characters acted like how old they were!
    elena recently posted..(a small collection of imperfect dreams) review: the night circus by erin morgensternMy Profile

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  11. Jacinda @ The Reading Housewives said:

    Someone needs to record you in bookstores…that would make a great YouTube video :)
    Jacinda @ The Reading Housewives recently posted..Review: The Selection by Kiera CassMy Profile

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  12. Jenn said:

    I really loved this book. I cannot wait until the sequel. I read an advance ebook and will be buying a physical copy for sure.
    Jenn recently posted..Blog HiatusMy Profile

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  13. JeanneGenie said:

    I actually really loved this book once I was reading it but after I finished, I wished there was more romance.

    But I’m surprised there is so much confusion about the ages…when the book begins–maybe the first two chapters–she is 14, then it skips ahead three years so that she is seventeen by the time she goes on her first assignment.

    And Duval is 24…he said that he was around 12/13 when his sister was born and she was 12 in the book, so…do the math.

    17 and 24 is not so bad for the time period…I hope that helps with your confusion!

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    Posted on: Tue, April 10, 2012

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