Review: Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, #1)Grave Mercy
(My Fair Assassin #1)
by Robin LaFevers
YA Urban Fantasy, Historical
Paperback549 Pages
April 3rd 2012 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt


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?

The hardcover of Grave Mercy from Amazon is only $6.80 (at the time of this post)!!

My Review

I have been meaning to read Grave Mercy for some time. I actually started it last year when I had a copy from the library, but didn't finish when I had to return it to the library. Then there was an ebook deal that I took advantage of so that I could read it when I could on my Kindle. I'm glad I grabbed it!

Grave Mercy was intriguing, dark, romantic, with some fabulous and intense action, and set so beautifully. The plot kept me engaged the entire way. I wanted to figure out the characters and what they were going to do. I wanted to know who the villain, or villains were, who the Duchess and Ismae could trust. The author kept things mysterious enough that I could figure out or guess about some things, but not be completely sure if I was right. I love it when a story can keep things unpredictable!

There was plenty of friendship, romance, and grave moments between these characters; characters that I ended up loving. Ismae had such a rough life and barely escaped with it. Mortain's Convent literally saved her and she felt a strong loyalty to them. She also felt indebted to them. These feelings toward the Convent, along with her connection to Death, and her feelings for the friends she made, brought on an emotional struggle in deciding how she should act and what she should do as the story progressed. I loved that Ismae wasn't afraid to think about her choices and actions, to think about what was true and what Death would want and not just her own heart, the political players, or what the convent would want. I also loved Duval. He is smart, strong, loyal, and true. I loved how he handled Ismae and many around him and that he was so opening loyal and supportive of his sister and would do anything for her. He was a perfect counterbalance to Ismae. I loved that their attraction and friendship slowly grows and that they learn to trust each other over time.

Grave Mercy was definitely a riveting story, especially for readers like me who enjoy historical settings with political intrigue, interesting and likable characters that you can connect with and cheer on, and romance that feels authentic while not becoming overwhelming. My only gripe would be that I would have liked it slightly cleaner in content. It was still well worth the read and is definitely a story I would recommend to YA and Adult readers.

Content: There are some crude moments and comments, attempted rape, descriptions of abuse, violence, and a couple of closed-door scenes.

Source: Purchased

I'll be reviewing the next book in this series, Dark Triumph, this week or next as I prepare to read the third book in the series. Have you read Grave Mercy? What did you think if you did?


  1. Grave Mercy was definitely an interesting read. It has a lot of layers to it but I did find myself betting board around the halfway mark.
    Kristin @ Book Sniffers Anonymous

  2. Yay! So glad you loved this, I love this whole trilogy and am exited to start book three soon. :)

  3. This does sound like a great read. I love historicals.

  4. Cali Willette8/4/14, 5:03 PM

    Good review! You have convinced me to read this. <3

  5. SO glad that you finally read this one. For me, reading and loving this one was huge because I don't usually like historical based stories. But this one I absolutely adored. Like you, I wouldn't have minded it being cleaner, but all in all I absolutely loved and enjoyed this one, and I am so glad that you did too!

  6. This book sounds amazing! I don't think I've seen it on any other blogs yet. Love your review Tressa!

  7. I LOVE these books! LOVE them! I am so glad you liked them as well! Great review :)

  8. I really enjoyed Grave Mercy, glad you did too! Duval!!!! This series sort of reminds me of the Poison Study series, have you read those books? Great review! ~Pam

  9. Love this review. I haven't read it myself but have been meaning to for the longest time. Your review has definitely bumped it up on my TBR list :)

  10. I could see some readers getting bored. I love political intrigue and grew up reading Dickens and so that wasn't an issue for me. Did you try the next book, Dark Triumph?

  11. Go glad! I am too. I love the setting and all the intrigue!

  12. I hope you like it. It does have some pretty stomach-turning parts, but not as many as the next book. Let me know what you think when you do get to it.

  13. Yay! So glad you loved it too! I meant to already review the second book, but will finally be getting to that. It definitely is a lot more squirm-ish for me than this one was.

  14. Probably because it was published a couple years ago. I think you'd really like this series, Chanpreet. I'd definitely check it out!

  15. Lol! Really? Can't tell. ;)

  16. I did draw that comparison when I was reading this one and Poison Study is my fav of that series. I love Duval. I love Beast too, but not as much as Duval. :)

  17. It was so well written. I'm sure the author did some pretty hefty research and that came across because it felt authentic in a lot of ways. I hope you enjoy it when you get to it!


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