This review is far overdue – but here it is!
Assassin nuns? Ok…clearly I was intrigued and thus, Grave Mercy quickly rose to the top of my To-Read list. Then, when I was able to procure it for $1.99 in the Kindle eBook store – I knew it was meant to be. Or at least…maybe?
Firstly, I suppose I should start with a brief synopsis of the book. Essentially, this book is about a convent that serves St. Mortain, the god of death. The nuns are brought there to be trained as assassins and their training ranges from history lessons, potion making, weaponry, womanly skills (?), and of course, combat. Ok, tell me you’re not intrigued yet! Right? Ismae, our main heroine, is brought to the convent, successfully assassinates some people and then is sent to the high court of Brittany on an important assignment. That is all for the brief synopsis and so, let’s just jump into my review!
Grave Mercy – 3/5
I ended up being pretty split down the middle with this book. I still am not entirely sure how much I liked it versus how much I disliked it, hence the rating. It was not a terrible read, but it also did not live up the hype. I suppose I can start with what I did like and what could convince me to keep reading the rest of the trilogy. I thought the plot was incredibly creative, thought provoking and a dynamic world to be a part of. I loved the setting, as it added another level of intrigue to the plot. There was so much world building that was very well done by LaFevers, and it totally engaged me as a reader.
Another layer of why I enjoyed the book so much were the characters! The characters were very wonderfully crafted and full of depth. The sisters of the convent definitely made the book for me, primarily Ismae and Annith. Both were so strong, smart and cunning – which I loved seeing in these women. I also loved the Duchess (Anne), as she not only stood up for her kingdom, but also for herself. It was incredibly refreshing to see women who stuck to their values, convictions and were pretty badass.
Now moving on to why this did not live up to 4 or 5 stars. Like I said, the plot was so intriguing and had a TON of potential, but because of some of the historical/political themes it definitely slowed WAY DOWN in the middle of the book, which made the end super anti-climactic. The bulk of the main plot of the book felt incredibly dragged out and I felt that it started to take away from the strength of our main heroine, Ismae. Nothing seemed to happen for a good 3/4 chunk of the book. Ismae would sneak around the castle spying on people, rather than actually doing the thing that she was trained to do – I don’t know…kill people? Then when the plot finally picked up, it ended incredibly abruptly. It felt like it ended in a bit of a hurry, which was incredibly disappointing. However, there was a slight preview to the second book that was intriguing enough to make me pick up the second book.
All in all, it was an enjoyable read that I would definitely recommend if you either enjoy historical fiction or are looking for something different to read! 🙂