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Grave Mercy: His Fair Assassin, Book I Hardcover – Apr 1 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Apr 1 2012
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 560 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (April 1 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780547628349
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547628349
  • ASIN: 054762834X
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 4.4 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 658 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #210,414 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


Cynthia Leitich Smith, New York Times best-selling author of the Tantalize series:

"A delectable simmer of intrigue and ferocity, passion and compassion. Grave Mercy sates and fascinates, even as it leaves you craving more."


Elizabeth Bunce, author of Starcrossed and A Curse Dark as Gold:

"Chilling, deftly plotted, and with a thread of subtly crafted romance. Readers will be seduced by LaFevers's deadly snare of haunting magic and courtly intrigue."


Laura Whitcomb, author of A Certain Slant of Light:

"Atmospheric, romantic, and gripping."


Ten Teen Reads You Can't Miss, Entertainment Weekly.com, October 2012:

"Prepare to enjoy LaFevers' tasty court intrigue and one badass heroine."


Starred review, Booklist:

* "With characters that will inspire the imagination, a plot that nods to history while defying accuracy, and a love story that promises more in the second book, this is sure to attract feminist readers and romantics alike."


Starred review, Kirkus Reviews:

* "LaFevers' ambitious tapestry includes poison and treason and murder, valor and honor and slow love, suspense and sexuality and mercy. A page-turner-with grace."


Starred review, Publishers Weekly:

* "Rich in historical detail, well-realized characters, political machinations, and enticingly prickly scenes between Ismae and Duval, LaFevers's complex tale incorporates magic both sparingly and subtly. This powerful first volume of the His Fair Assassin series should attract many readers."


Starred review, School Library Journal:

* "The book is well written and filled with fascinating, complex characters who function realistically in this invented medieval world."


Starred review, Shelf Awareness:



#3 on Kids' Indie Next List, spring 2012


An Amazon Best Teen Book of 2012

About the Author

Robin LaFevers was raised on fairy tales, Bulfinch's mythology, and nineteenth-century poetry. It is not surprising that she grew up to be a hopeless romantic. She was lucky enough to find her one true love, and is living happily ever after with him in California.


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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for providing me with a complimentary e-book copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

My Review: If I were to say that this book was a historical fiction read about young assassin nuns your first response would be 'Say wha?'. Am I right? The main premise of this book is different and it's a veritable melee of different genres -- historical fiction, supernatural, romance and mystery/suspense -- it kind of works.

I liked Ismae. She's resilient, strong and courageous. She's a handmaiden of Death, for goodness sake. How cool is that? She's a tough girl who has been handed a really crappy lot in life. I liked reading about her life in the convent and wished there was more time exploring that time in her life because I found it all quite fascinating. I actually wish more time was spent on the supernatural element and the connection these women have with Mortain.

I have to be honest that the idea of killer nuns was what made this book stand out for me. I wanted to read about Death's handmaidens and all that that entails but for a book about assassins there wasn't a whole lot of bloodshed. Ismae and her fellow assassins have been training for years in the various arts of killing. These are strong, capable women but Ismae, in several parts of the book, seems to wander around the castle halls more than she tries to take anyone out with her bare hands and her signature poison. There's even a point in the book where she has to save someone and the way she saved him was, let's just say, rather 'eye-rollingly' silly.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Grave Mercy kept me anticipating from beginning to end. Thought there was never a boring moment, perhaps the first person point of view and present tense made it difficult to pace myself. I devoured the book in a couple of days. I regret that the relationship between Ismae (what a beautiful name)and Duval wasn't more deeply developed, as well as the mystery of how she was sired by Mortain, the god of death himself.
It bothered me a little that Ismae would occasionally say "merde" . It felt like an anachronism, thought I was surprised to find out that this word was indeed being used as early as the twelfth century; still, I thought it was cliché. There were also a few editing errors: two misspelled words that I noticed (I would have had someone French-speaking to take a look at the few words that highlight the French setting of this novel) and four or five sentences with an extra word that didn't belong.
I still think it is worth four stars and I will be sure to get my hand on Robin LaFevers next novel in her His Fair Assassin trilogy.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Ismae is one of Death's daughters. She has a large red scar on her back to prove it. When Ismae's father gladly gets rid of her to an arranged marriage with a nasty old man, Ismae escapes to St. Mortain's convent where Death is their god and all are trained to be assassins to carry out deaths wish.
When Ismae is sent on a new assignment, not only does she have to protect the Duchess of Brittany at all costs, but she also has to pretend to be the mistress of the king's bastard son.

Grave Mercy is one of my new favorite books. I instantly fell in love with the wonderful world the author has created. Everything about this book is perfect.

I love Ismae so much as a character. She goes from being a little girl who everyone hates and is afraid of, to one of the most skilled assassins that's incredibly intelligent and brave. She is so relatable to everyone I'm sure you will all fall in love with her right from the start.
Duval is another fantastic character, he is so smart and so passionate. I love how much he cares for his sisters and that he always does the right thing in the end. Even though I felt like I couldn't trust him throughout the book, I never stopped loving him, and hoping that he was one of the good guys.

The world building in this story is absolutely fantastic. The author provides a map for you before the story begins. You get to see that they land they are talking about is in between France and Great Britain, and all the cities that the characters talk about are labeled. Not only that, but the description words of when the characters traveled and the castle and houses are just wonderful, they definitely help you picture the scene.

I recommend this book to everyone! Especially if you're a fan of Game of Thrones and Throne of Glass!
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Format: Hardcover
3.5 stars

Megpie highly recommended this book even though she knows historical fiction isn’t really my thing. I gave it a chance knowing she liked Ismae a lot… and I’m glad I did.

I was thinking, ‘assassins trained by the convent…’ Why not? I was skeptical because it was historical (it just takes me forever to read historical because of how it’s written). I liked the concept a lot and it was very interesting. It was kind of boring at times and it was a very long read for me. I kept falling asleep reading the first half – I literally read the book when I was having a hard time sleeping to make me fall asleep (and it worked). There were also times when I had to whip out my dictionary – thank god for Kobo’s dictionary feature!

As for Ismae, I didn’t like how she had a huge scar on her back and couldn’t undress in front of anybody (I mean, the biggest asset you have when you’re a female assassin is your charms, your body, and your beauty). Being a woman is a powerful thing and it would have made more sense if the convent made sure she was that before they sent her out on her first mission (she didn’t even know what she was feeling when Duval touched her when in fact she should have been well-trained in this area). It was also frustrating how Ismae spent most of her time talking about all those cool weapons she had instead of actually using it. It was an assassin’s story so I was expecting more action, blood, and gruesomeness.

Aside from that, I loved how she was stubborn and funny. She was a bit naive and sarcastic and I liked that about her.

I comfort myself with the knowledge that if Duval ever feels smothered by me, it will be because I am holding a pillow over his face and commending his soul to Mortain.

I stare at him coldly.
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