Monday, March 26, 2012
ARC Review: Grave Mercy by R.L. LaFevers
Release Date: Apr. 3rd/12.
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Court
Source: E-galley from publisher
Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads:
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?
I thoroughly enjoyed Grave Mercy, it reminded me a lot of Gabaldon's Outlander series (one of my all-time favourites) but written for a YA audience. The context was kept to a PG-13 level in my opinion. The beginning really grabbed me, as we watch Ismae forced from one physical relationship to another. Her narration was incredibly relatable and thoroughly enjoyable. My heart did go out to her through her struggles with the men in her life.
The mystery will keep you guessing to the final chapters of the book. There's enough blackmailing and intrigue in this plot to put George R.R. Martin to in his place! :) No character is two-dimensional (with the exception of Ismae's dad and husband).
I warn you, this is not a read for the faint of heart. Grave Mercy offers non-stop action with kick-butt heroine out to serve justice to those who deserve it. I believe fans of The Hunger Games will really enjoy this series.
Ok now my FAVOURITE part of this read- Duval. O how I love you Duval. He's a gentleman but not a saint. He's got brains, brawn and will do anything to protect the women in his life, o yeah and he's quite easy on the eyes. Cue the swoon :).
There are a few things that irked me about this series though:
1 - Each book in this trilogy will be narrated by a different heroine- this upsets me because I really want to see a continuation of Duval and Ismae. But hopefully they'll still be a large part of Book 2 and 3! :)
2 - The question between murder and justice. Ismae kills on the command of her saint, as told through the elders of her institution. I had a huge problem with this. She's basically a murderer, because she doesn't take the time to find out for herself if these victims are innocent or not, her saint says they're traitors and that's enough to end a life in her eyes. Now I should include that this is a question that Duval does pose to Ismae in Grave Mercy, so I was relieved to see this issue raised.
3 - Not enough sexy times. Ok don't get me wrong I realize this is a YA read, and I'm not asking for anything rated R, but this book had me going COME ON ALREADY a few times in scenes between Ismae and Duval. In a book of 500+ pages, I wouldn't have minded a little more romantic development.
With all that said, I would definitely recommend this book to all those who enjoy their YA with action and mystery and a dash of romance.