Book Review – Grave Mercy

Posted March 3, 2015 by Kathy in 5 stars, Book Review / 9 Comments

Book Review – Grave MercyGrave Mercy Series: His Fair Assassin #1
by Robin LaFevers
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on April 3, 2012
Genres: Young Adult Fantasy
Pages: 549
Format: Ebook
Source: Purchased
Buy on AmazonBarnes & Noble

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?

My Review 4

Grave Mercy is the first novel in the His Fair Assassin trilogy.  With a touch of danger and suspense Grave Mercy is an exciting introduction to this series.


Seventeen-year-old Ismae has lived a harsh life with her abusive father.  The abuse will continue now that she has been forced into an arrange marriage. After a brutal attack on her wedding night she flees to the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters serve the god of Death. Ismae takes on a new life with the sisters and is trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. But Ismae is given an important assignment that takes her far away from the convent and into the royal courts of Brittany.  She is thrust into the political games and must determine on her own who she can trust.


On her mission she must work with the mysterious Duval.  But Grave Mercy is all about Ismae, the courageous heroine.  She has the skills to kill but instead of following the orders that is given her she follows her conscience. Ismae takes it upon herself to find the truth. It was refreshing to see a character grow from a victim that becomes a pawn and ultimately into a strong and independent woman.


Grave Mercy has political intrigue and switching alliances that are inspired from historical events.  The author adds her creative touch with the gods that becomes an exciting fantasy detail to the story. This was the first book I read from this author and I enjoyed everything about this book. There is action, conspiracy and romance that will keep you entertained and unable to put the book down.


I highly recommend this book to fans of historical fiction fused with fantasy.


Overall 3



Rating Report
Overall: five-stars

About Robin LaFevers

Robin LaFevers was raised on a steady diet of fairy tales, Bulfinch’s mythology, and 19th century poetry. It is not surprising she grew up to be a hopeless romantic.

Though she has never trained as an assassin or joined a convent, she did attend Catholic school for three years, which instilled in her a deep fascination with sacred rituals and the concept of the Divine. She has been on a search for answers to life’s mysteries ever since.

While many of those answers still elude her, she was lucky enough to find her one true love, and is living happily ever after with him in the foothills of southern California.

In addition to writing about teen assassin nuns in medieval Brittany, she writes books for middle grade readers, including the Theodosia books and the Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist series. You can learn more about those books at

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2015 Reading Assignment
  • COYER Winter 2014-2015


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9 responses to “Book Review – Grave Mercy

    • Kathy

      Thanks Pearl! I’ve had this book for a while now and just finally made time for it. I hope you read it soon =)

  1. Adriana Palma

    yey you liked this book, i bought this books some time ago from a second hand bookstore, its really big, everyone loves this book, i cant wait to read it, i hope its not hard to understand the book and hope its easy to read and all since im just getting started on reading books in english, and since im not used to read historical fiction 😛

    • Kathy

      Everyone has been talking about this series so I finally grabbed a copy when it was on sale. It did take me some time to understand the religion she created but the most detail is in the first chapters. Once the story progresses it made sense. I hope you enjoy it! Thanks Adriana!

  2. This book is one of my favorites! This series is a favorite! I am not a huge fan of Historical, but for some reason I decided to try this one anyway. Maybe because of the hint of the fantastical in the synopsis? I am so stinking glad that I did. And the series just got better and better! So glad that you enjoyed it. Looking forward to what you think of Dark Triumph!

    Jaime Lester recently posted: Sarah DNF.... Mortal Danger
    • Kathy

      Thanks Jaime! I’m so glad I finally took the time to read this! This was a nice change from the contemporary books I have been reading and I plan to read the next book soon.