Sunday, 19 October 2014

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers: Review

Title: Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1)
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?!? 
The book skips forward three years, skipping Ismae's training at the convent and starting with her very first assignment as an assassin. It actually frustrated me that we skipped all of the training, at least if some of it had been included then it might justify the need for the book to be so long. But we miss all of it, but it would have made for much more entertaining reading than the boring court drama and political snooze fest that comes later.
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My interest level when it came to who
would marry the duchess.
Court politics takes on far too large a role in this book and makes the pace slower than a snails. This book is set in Brittany in 1488, the Duke is dead and his daughter, the duchess must be married off before she can be officially crowned. The French are the big enemy in this book, and they have to approve any marriage. The main contender is D'Albret, a disgusting old man who is determined to marry the thirteen year old duchess. So, instead of being about a badass assassin nun killing people, this book is about who will end up marrying some thirteen year old. It's about what will benefit Brittany and how they will protect themselves from the French in order to keep their independence. It's about who's betraying the duchess and everything else. It's not about Ismae delivering Death's vengeance as the synopsis promised me. It's not even about the dangerous romance that it also promised me. It delivered on none of the synopsis. It only bored me beyond tears and left me beyond frustrated with how much it disappointed me.

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.

ISMAE!!!!!!!!!!
I feel I need to talk about Ismae and my general feelings for her. That's actually really hard for me because I just hate her. I honestly hate her. I'm pretty sure most of my hatred for her comes from the fact that this book is from her POV. Reading this felt like having someone tell you a story, but they're just incapable of knowing when to shut up. They just go on and on and on and on. Pages and pages of this book involved NOTHING. Large chunks of it added nothing to the plot, they didn't move the story along or really matter at all. I'm there just trying not to yawn and praying it will all be over soon. With a book this long, I'd also expected some huge character growth from Ismae and I don't think she ever truly goes through that.



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.

2/5 Butterflies

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. 


23 comments:

  1. LOL tell us how ya really feel! ::snort:: I have had that book rage. Oh I so have. I had this one on the review pile back when it came out and it slipped by me in my early blogger days when I wasn't so on top of things. I'm...not feeling so bad about that anymore. Dang!

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    1. I know! I feel like I probably should have held back a bit, but I COULDN'T! I just needed to rage about it to make myself feel better about the hours I wasted on it. Everyone else loves it though, so I am clearly the odd one out.

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  2. Yep, yep, yep--this review is spot on. I did not like this. At all. To be honest what bothered me the most was just how boring it is. You're completely right--it's a massive novel, and yet... nothing really happens. From what I can recall, anyway. I read this book quite a while ago, now, but I literally cannot remember thinking one good thing about it. That sounds awful, I know, and perhaps overly harsh, but this book was just not for me. It's very unlikely that I'll be reading the rest in the series.

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    1. YAY!!! I thought that I was alone but I'm not and this makes me so happy. I felt my review was a bit too harsh but it's nice to find someone else who didn't like. NOTHING! I was so surprised by the length of it because it's completely unnecessary. Me either, I think I'm going to have to give up on it.

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  3. OMG THE TIME FLASHFORWARD. THAT KILLED ME. I was so confused because it came out of nowhere. Before any action could happen it was like, "just kidding. I was lazy to actually put something there so you fill it in yourselves."

    The inaction was so boring and that odd skin to skin scene at the end STILL has me making o_O O_O faces. Spot on review! x

    Jess @ My Reading Dress


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    1. I KNOW! I was so upset when she flashed forward and missed all of the training. That would have at least been a justification for why this book is so long. Thank you, it's really refreshing to hear from people who didn't love this book.

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  4. If it helps and it probably won't but this was my least favorite of the three (so far, still reading the third). It was rather long and descriptive, more so than the second one at least and the third so far.

    Sorry you didn't' like it more. I do love the Mortain/convent angle though, rather unique and fun.

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    1. It doesn't help, haha. I was tempted to read the rest but now I just really can't see myself doing that.

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  5. Yikes!! So sorry you didn't like this one :/ I do like the premise though, assassin nuns XD This book is overly descriptive and quite long but I quite enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing, I hope your next read is more enjoyable :)

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    1. Haha, I know... I'm starting to feel like maybe my review was a bit too much. I have been having rubbish luck with books lately, have not read many that I really enjoy.

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  6. Eee this book sounds terrible! The idea of assassin nuns does sound like a good one though, so it's a shame that it didn't work out. I actually saw this available on Netgalley along with its sequel I think and I passed up the opportunity. I am glad that I did from the sound of it!

    http://olivia-savannah.blogspot.nl/2014/10/poetry-love-dead-poets-society-45.html

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    1. So many people absolutely love this book, but it was nice to see other people in the comments who weren't fans. I really didn't like it, I was just really disappointing with every aspect of it. I also had high expectations, which never helps.

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  7. I feel like you giving it 2 stars was generous! lol WHY WERE THERE NO ACTUALLY ASSASSINATIONS THOUGH? I mean assassin nuns?!!! I hadn't heard of this book, but like at that premise I'd be grabbing it in an instance. Until, um, now. I hate boring books. I loathe them. I don't like Historical fiction that much (though I can be persuaded) but WHY DON'T THE ASSASSINS DO ANYTHING??? I'm...nope. Not even adding it on gooreads.

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    1. Well...."gooreads". That's mildly embarrassing. GOODREADS. *headdesk*

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    2. I know, it was very generous. I was so disappointed with this book and it just didn't work for me at all. The assassin nuns were rubbish, they barely did anything and it really bothered me.

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  8. Interesting! I have read tons of positive reviews of this book so it's nice to see something different. I haven't read it myself but now I'm definitely thinking I won't.
    Just so you know, I tagged you in The Ultimate Book tag on my blog. You can go to this link to check it out. :)
    http://youmeandacupofteablog.blogspot.com/2014/10/ultimate-book-tag.html

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    1. Thank you for the tag! I LOVE A GOOD TAG! It just really didn't work for me and it wasn't what I was expecting at all.

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  9. I actually enjoyed this book, but that's because I liked the politics part of it. And yeah, I agree with you about Death and the paranormal aspect and how it's shrugged off. That seems to happen a lot in books, though, so I sort of went with it too. Oh well, sorry you didn't like it! ~Pam

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    1. I really disliked the politics part, which is probably why I didn't like it very much. The politics starts to take over the story very early on.

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  10. This has been in my TBR pile for a while. Most of the reviews I've read have been good, but negative reviews give me pause. I've been lured into reading too many books by gushing reviews, only to hate the book when I was finished and wonder what other readers were smoking when they read it. Maybe I'll put this one aside for awhile. I'm not looking forward to reading boring books; I just DNFed one that almost put me to sleep.

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    1. I know what you mean, that's been happening to me far too much lately. I am starting to lose all hope. Maybe I need to read books that only get 1 star reviews haha.

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  11. Haha, auwtsch. I must admit it was painful to read this review, because this is one of my favorite series, BUT, I certainly understand this book isn't for everyone. It's a shame you didn't love it as much as I do :( Onto to the next series for you! Haha.

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    1. Haha, I know! It's been almost two months since I read the book and thinking about it still makes me angry! :) BUT.... That was me. I am glad you loved it though, I'd been so sure I'd love it and it just didn't work for me. I'm scared to try the next two books in the series, so I'll probably skip them.

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