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Grave Mercy: His Fair Assassin, Book I [Hardcover]

Robin LaFevers
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 3 2012 His Fair Assassin Trilogy (Book 1)

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?

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Grave Mercy: His Fair Assassin, Book I + Shadow and Bone
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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, 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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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Books and Bindings Review July 5 2013
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic! April 16 2014
By Lea
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book was fantastic! The story drew me in immediately. The main character, Ismae, has a great strength of character that I really admired. I loved all of the characters in this book, even the ones that I loved to hate. This book was well researched and the story, though sometimes slow, was never boring. There was an abundance of intrigue and there were some great action scenes. Overall, this book really had everything and it wasn’t a short read, either. This was a great YA Fantasy novel and I’m really looking forward to the next book in the series.
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5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant Feb. 27 2014
By Harmony
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Absolutely brilliant! I really enjoyed book one in this trilogy and look forward to Dark Triumph! Very clever premise. Thoroughly enjoyed that story.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fast paced delight Feb. 24 2014
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Everything about it is PERFECT Feb. 17 2014
By Aneta
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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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Grave Mercy
This book brought me in with its beautiful cover. At first it didn't seem too good but as I read on I become completely addicted. This book was a very pleasant surprise. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Carol
4.0 out of 5 stars “When one consorts with assassins, one must expect to dance along the...
Read in June, 2012

Ismae is a daughter of Death. He is worshipped as a saint/god at the place she is taken to safety after a horrible arranged marriage. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Lina-From the Verge
4.0 out of 5 stars Grave Mercy
My first impression of this book when I held it in my hands was, "Whoa, this is a BIG book"- and it is, clocking in at over 500 pages (549 to be exact). Read more
Published on May 21 2012 by Avery Greaves
4.0 out of 5 stars Review of Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
Ismae lives in 15th century Brittany, France. She escaped her abusive father and abusive husband, and arrived in a convent run by nuns who worship Death Himself. Read more
Published on April 13 2012 by Chloe B
5.0 out of 5 stars There were so many things that I loved
I was actually having a reading slump until I read Grave Mercy; as soon as I started it I was taken away by the story and was thoroughly absorbed into the book. Read more
Published on April 12 2012 by Fantasy's Ink
4.0 out of 5 stars Mystery, Intregue, Politics, Romance...
I have to admit, I was intrigued when I read the tag line for this book: Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf? And then to see the book was about assassin nuns... Read more
Published on April 6 2012 by Coreena
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!
Ismae shouldn't be alive anymore. Her mother used a poison to get rid of her when she was still in her womb, but little Ismae was resilient and survived. Read more
Published on April 5 2012 by Tynga's Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Review from Esther's Ever After
Grave Mercy is a truly striking novel; it captivates your interest, draws you in without ever letting go and leaves you utterly breathless at the end. Read more
Published on April 4 2012 by Brenna
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