REVIEW: Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, #1) 
Grave Mercy
Robin LaFevers
549 pages
Publisher: HMHBooks
Release Date: April 3rd, 2012
Source: ARC from Publisher
Rating: LOVED

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?

   Riveting and lush, Grave Mercy offers a promising start to a new trilogy that will appeal to fans of YA and adult both. Robin LaFevers weaves a story of medieval politics, ancient magic, and heartache in the pages of her latest book.

    From the title to its tagline, Grave Mercy is nothing short of enticing. Though its half-a-thousand page length may seem intimidating, you won’t be able to turn the pages fast enough. And once the final page is flipped, you’ll find yourself wishing for more.

    Assassin nuns was what caught my attention first. And the fact that this book is historical fiction – a genre I absolutely love, despite reading very few of them. Grave Mercy was everything I expected and more. The story is beautifully written, with lush, descriptive prose. The action is perfect, the sentiments are felt, and the story will linger, long after you’ve finished it.

    Ismae is a dynamic protagonist. Raised by a father who only lived to make her miserable and thrown into a horrifying marriage, she’s doesn’t care to live anymore. But the abbey that takes her in is far from peaceful. They train their students in the art of killing. Ismae learns of every possible way to kill a man and soon, she’s put to test.

    She’s eager to please the abbey and her saint who took her in when she was broken. And her tasks seem easy enough. But when the abbey sends her away to protect her country using her gifts, she’s faced with an impossible task – to kill the person who has stolen her heart, when she was certain no one would have it.

    Book two will give us a glimpse of life through the eyes of Sybella, a near-mad girl who we meet briefly in Grave Mercy. And while I’ll miss Ismae, I can’t wait to see what Robin LaFevers has in store for us next.

Add GRAVE MERCY to Goodreads 
Find Robin LaFevers on Twitter – Goodreads – Website


Hafsah Faizal is a YA author, designer, and blogger. Her designs have graced the sites of New York Times bestselling authors, bloggers, and more. She resides in Texas, with her family.



  1. Reply


    April 12, 2012

    This sounds great!! I didn't know that the next book will feature another character of the book? But anyways, I want to meet Ismae!!

  2. Reply

    Rummanah Aasi

    April 12, 2012

    I really enjoyed this one too. I hope we get more of Ismae and Duval's romance in this one. I also wonder what's going through Sybella's mind.

  3. Reply


    April 12, 2012

    Great review!! I am really looking forward to a book told from Sybella's POV. It took me a bit to get into this one because I was not familiar with the time period, but after a refresher I really enjoyed it.

  4. Reply

    Nicola (pocketfullofbooks)

    April 12, 2012

    Wonderful review! I put this one on hold as I felt it was going a bit slow but I've seen SO many glowing reviews that I definitely need to get back to it soon! :)

  5. Reply

    Mary @ BookSwarm

    April 12, 2012

    SUCH AN AWESOME BOOK!!! And I can't wait for Sybella's story in book II.

  6. Reply


    April 12, 2012

    I've heard SO many good things about this book. I have to admit that the size is a bit daunting but I'm glad to know it goes by fast. Ismae sounds like such a good character!

  7. Reply

    Marmaladelibby (aka Ange)

    April 13, 2012

    I agree!!!! SO GOOD and I can't wait for the next one! SQUEAL!!

  8. Reply

    Addie R.

    April 13, 2012

    I've been hearing mixed reviews about this one. The 500 pages and historical fiction genre does intimidate me. (I've only read one historical fiction and it ended up being added to DNF pile.) But maybe I'll venture out and try it out.

  9. Reply

    Bonnie Regan

    April 16, 2012

    Fabulous review, I loved this book SO MUCH. I'm eager to get my hands on a real copy so I can do a re-read! :)

  10. Reply


    April 18, 2012

    I loved everything about this book! So freaking good! Ismae was such an amazing heroine! I really loved how dark it was, and that, even though there was romance, it wasn't the core subject. I am so looking forward to the next book.

  11. Reply

    Alyssa Susanna

    August 7, 2012

    This book was near-flawless in my opinion. I know so many people loved this book because it was refreshing and different from most YA books coming out or that came out. Historical fiction novels are few and far apart, especially the really good ones. Grave Mercy is definintely one of the really good ones. I can't wait for Dark Triumph!!! Thanks for the review!!!!

  12. Reply


    August 11, 2012

    I enjoyed this one but I wasn't floored by it. Everyone seemed to just love it. I just didn't. I wish there had been more assassinations.

  13. Reply

    Bookluvrs Haven

    September 7, 2012

    I can't wait to read this one. There is a lot of love for it among my Goodreads friends, so I am most curious to open this one up.


  14. Reply


    September 23, 2012

    Great review! I love this book. It's one of the best books I've read this year. Can't wait to read Sybella's story.

  15. Reply


    October 29, 2012

    I'm so excited – this is finally NEXT on my tbr list! At last! Thanks for the recommend, Hafsah :)

  16. Reply


    October 30, 2012

    Oh! I can't believe I haven't read this one yet! It sounds great. The author was actually at ALA Annual and I caught a glimpse of her signing books. Unfortunately, I was quite out of cash at that point and not able to buy the book…anyway, I will keep it on my “to-read” list and hope I'll get to sit down with it soon. Maybe during the next break or summer when I have time.

    Thanks for another good review!

    ~ Kristi

  17. Reply


    December 3, 2012

    I loved this too! Great review. This is one of my top ten this year.