Author: Robin LaFevers
Publisher: Anderson Press
Buy this book: Amazon / Book Depository
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? (Goodreads summary.)I must start this review with a warning to all those who are brave enough to read it. This is not a positive review in any way, shape or form. Sometimes I'll read a book and won't enjoy it, but I'm able to write a more balanced review that shows why I didn't like it but positive things about it too. Grave Mercy is not one of those books for me. This is a book where I finished it and felt nothing but pure rage, mostly at myself, for the fact I had wasted hours of my life reading it. I had anger at the hype, anger at the glowing reviews, anger at the gorgeous cover and anger over the amazing sounding premise. This book did not deliver what I was promised and I am not happy about it. So, get ready, the rant is about to begin.
Adequately describes how I am feeling right now!
This book had so much promise and I had such high hopes for it. The reviews are glowing and I've lost count of the number of times this has been recommended to me. Maybe the hype was too much or my expectations were too high. Or maybe it's just that this isn't that great a book. Whatever the case, I can say with all certainty that it was not for me. How can that be when it's a book about assassin nuns?!? You heard right, ASSASSIN NUNS! How is that not the recipe for the most wonderful, amazing, entertaining read ever?
|Me during the first 5 chapters.|
It does start out well and at the beginning of the book I was almost certain I was going to love this. We meet Ismae on her wedding day, she's fourteen and desperate to get away from her father. Her father hates her and has mistreated her for years, believing her to be sired by Death. A scar has been left on Ismae's body from where her mother tried to abort her whilst pregnant. The fact she survived is seen as a sign that her true father is Death. Ismae sees marriage as an escape, but when her new husband discovers her scars he beats her. It is only with the help of an unexpected savior that Ismae escapes and finds herself at the Convent of St. Mortain, the patron saint of death. Here she is trained as an assassin, to do Mortain's bidding and kill anyone he asks of her. It was an extraordinary start to a story and I was so happy. I thought I might have found another series to obsess over. I wasn't to know that it was all going to go quickly downhill as soon as Ismae leaves the convent.
I feel I'm lying to myself a little bit here, my doubts crept in during the first five chapters as well. Mainly for Ismae and her reaction when she gets to the convent. She's suddenly told she is a daughter of Death and her life is going to be dedicated to killing people. She will listen to Death and do His bidding, that will be shown to her through the seer at the convent. Does she get freaked out and question this at all? Does she see the potential for a Wanted movie kind of scenario? Or does she just readily accept it and become thrilled at the prospect of killing people? You guessed it, she readily accepts it. I began to suspect that everyone at the convent was bat shit crazy and in need of an insane asylum not a convent.
So, you're telling me there's a god of Death who reveals your targets to you with marques on peoples skin?
I had my doubts then, mostly because I'd read reviews that all classed this as historical fiction. But with Ismae being able to sense death, tell if someone is in a room and be able to communicate with a persons soul, it definitely has a lot of paranormal elements. That threw me off, I have to admit that I didn't see it coming. I also didn't see this book being 484 pages long. That has to go in large in order to show how much that astounds me. It's 484 pages long and almost nothing happens in this book.
|Why would you skip the awesome assassin training?!?|
|My interest level when it came to who|
would marry the duchess.
I was promised a romance too and I don't feel that was delivered on at all. Gavriel Duval is the duchess's most trusted advisor and he is tasked with helping Ismae. She will pose as his mistress and that is how she gains access to the duchess and the court. Ismae doubts him for a large amount of the book, he is seen as a potential betrayer of the duchess. FOR NO GOOD REASON! Why does she doubt him for so much of the book? Does he ever do anything whatsoever to justify the doubt? Nope. Does he ever show anything but 100% loyalty to the duchess? No. So why does she continue to doubt him and see him as a suspect for so much of this book. It's entirely frustrating and I got so fed up with Ismae
The romance was laughable to me. I actually really liked Duval as a character, he's the only character that won me over in this book. He has the potential to be a great love interest, if he wasn't paired with someone like Ismae who has about 0 personality. I'm supposed to believe she falls in love with him, but I'm never shown how or why. This book is so long, you'd expect them to really get to know one another in that time but they barely communicate at all. All we get from Ismae is her go on and on about the fact her skin burns wherever he touches her. I got so fed up of having to read that over and over again. I wanted their relationship to have some actual substance to it, but there's nothing. Duval is a great character who deserves someone better. I wish that ship had sunk.
My number one reason for my pure hate of this book is how unbelievably boring it was. I was promised a book on assassin nuns and a dangerous romance. What I got was 484 pages about politics and who would marry the duchess. That all never made sense to me either, they're all obsessed with keeping Brittany an independent country and protecting it from France. But they won't have the duchess marry the one person who can guarantee that for them. Well then, stop complaining and deal with the consequences of that decision. I feel Throne of Glass has ruined all other female assassins for me, none I have read about since have matched up. Ismae should just kill D'Albret but won't because the convent don't tell her to and she doesn't see a marque on him. You're an assassin! Just kill him already. This book was far too heavy on the politics and far too light on the killing and the romance.
I honestly don't have one positive comment about this book. I didn't like the writing, the dialogue was off, the characters were awful, the romance was non-existent. The assassin nun barely did any assassinating. Maybe some people like reading 484 pages that mostly concentrate on who a small child will marry. I am not one of those people. I wanted excitement, intrigue, action and romance and the book delivered none of those those things. I've been told to give the sequel a try but I am honestly not sure I want to subject myself to that kind of torture.