Grave Mercy

LaFevers, Robin

Book - 2012
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Grave Mercy
In the fifteenth-century kingdom of Brittany, seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where she learns that the god of Death has blessed her with dangerous gifts--and a violent destiny.

Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin, c2012.
ISBN: 0544022491
Characteristics: 549 p. :,map ;,22 cm.


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Feb 17, 2015
  • FindingJane rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Strap on your knives and crossbows, ladies. We’re going hunting.

Phallocentric societies are rarely kind to their ladies and this book delves deep into the heart of what lengths certain women will go to survive and thrive. Whether there ever was a god known as Mortain is immaterial. What fascinates is the fierce devotion shown by the women who have pledged themselves to him and the strides they take to carry out his will and carve out a niche for themselves—two desires that aren’t always compatible. The notion of assassin nuns is intriguing enough to warrant a look but if this were the only draw, the novel would prove a mere curiosity and nothing more.

The various characters here are woven into an intricate tapestry of court intrigue, marriage proposals, politics of regal sovereignty and the sacred hush of religious fealty to a deadly god. The story is fantastic, character and plot driven, and the fiction is meticulously threaded into the historical period from which it was drawn. It’s an epic tale of murder, political machinations, the various loves people bear for each other and, yes, kickass nuns. Run with it.

Dec 27, 2014
  • KateHillier rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This was fabulous! A convent of assassin nuns? Court intrigue? Plots within plots? Questions all about the exact process about how the assignments are given to the novices and who makes that decision. I knew that romance would get involved here somewhere but it was done very well and not in a cheesy way or in a way that interfered or hijacked the main plot. If you're looking for strong female characters but also relatable as people you will definitely find what you're looking for in Ismae. She's strong thanks to her training at the convent of St. Mortain (the god of death) but she also is well out of her element and is certainly rocked when it becomes apparent that there is something about how the convent is working that isn't quite right. And court in general.

She's also thrust into a man's world from a strictly female one. She's spent only three years there and before that men were far from kind to her. Ismae learns a lot here and we learn a lot with her.

It's really fantastic and I couldn't put it down. It's a trilogy too so it looks like we get to meet Ismae's sisters in more detail too. I'm excited to see the rest of the story.

Jul 08, 2014
  • Pinkirishrose rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Grave Mercy was pretty good. At the beginning, I kind of felt lie it was rushed. I would have liked if there were a few more chapters setting up what she was Ismae was learning at the convent and explaining more about the time period. But overall it was a good read and would recommend it.

May 28, 2014
  • adottoprog rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This book is fantastic! Easily one of my favourites from the last few years. The combination of the historical details and the fantasy elements make for a complex and interesting story. It made me want to learn more about Brittany in the 16th century. I recommend this book to customers and friends a lot. I also highly recommend the sequel, Dark Triumph.

Apr 30, 2014
  • KnightPamala rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

What a WONDERFUL story!!! Ms. LaFevers covers the court intrigue of Medieval Brittany and France with such a deft hand that you'll be surprised at how much you've learned but still enjoyed by the end of the book. Plus, the way she world builds the assassin nuns (!) of the Order of St. Mortain is excellent. The characters are wonderful, interesting and read like real people.

I highly recommend this book.

Feb 15, 2014
  • texasbooks rated this: 0.5 stars out of 5.

I did not like this book at all.
Hope someone else likes this book.

Dec 04, 2013
  • Jennirodriguez rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

This was a good book, but there was nothing really special about it :/
While it did keep me reading it's not exactly a page turner, it did make me tear up toward the end even though we didn't really get to know those characters. I did like the main character (whose name I do not remember) and Duval they were both interesting. The book makes you hate who you should and love who you would think to. I will read the next book and want to know more about Annith, Sybella and couple more of the characters.

Oct 06, 2013

Oooooh, i love this book. I have no reason to. I never like his wording, the main characters are idiots who are just either too cool or too... Just.... Blech. The plot was nonexistant, but i like it anyways. I love the medievalish setting. Im not sure who would like this kind of book, you just have to read it and see how it is

Sep 30, 2013
  • kitana8 rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

This book is a stand out.I have never come across a book for teens that takes place in this historical setting and after I finished the book I wanted to learn more about it. Also the idea that Ismae can see a "marque" on a person that no one else can and because of that she knows who to kill. However, I only gave it three stars because I did not care for her character too much (she seemed too naive and was not concerned about killing people and was very excited to do it in the first place!) and though I enjoy romance in the novels I read I did not see any chemistry between Ismae and Gavriel (why did he care for her? ) and it seemed like the author should have expanded on that.

Sep 27, 2013
  • mvkramer rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

I was sadly disappointed in this book, to the degree that it was hard for me to finish it. The book seemed to promise intrigue, romance and magic set against the backdrop of medieval Brittany, but the pacing was dull and the romance stilted and awkward. The writing overused cliches and occasionally threw out strange and inexplicable twists, and the mystical revelation Ismae has at the end is thoroughly disappointing. Duval and Ismae have no real chemistry, but they are equally unlikeable, so I suppose they're made for each other. Speaking of Duval and Ismae, I know she has super mystical assassin senses, but unless the man is running a massive fever it's kind of ridiculous that she notices the heat of his body so much. Like, ALL THE TIME.

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Aug 13, 2014
  • KaiaWillow rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

"Perhaps you mistake death for justice, and they are not the same thing at all"

Dec 18, 2013

“Why be the sheep when you can be the wolf?”

Feb 01, 2013
  • mrfbiini2 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

“When he laces his fingers through mine, my heart does its now familiar panicked flight, bumping painfully against my ribs. My shoulder twitches as if to pull my hand back, but my heart overrules it.”

Feb 01, 2013
  • mrfbiini2 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

“I pause at the door, wishing I could find a corner and sleep until my head clears, but the sailor said the abbess is expecting me, and while I do not know much about abbesses, I suspect they are not fond of waiting.”

Feb 01, 2013
  • mrfbiini2 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

“He barks out a laugh. "My little rebel.”

Feb 01, 2013
  • mrfbiini2 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

“It is this kindness of his that unsettles me most. I can dodge a blow or block a knife. I am impervious to poison and know a dozen ways to escape a chokehold or garrote wire. But kindness? I do not know how to defend against that.”

Feb 01, 2013
  • mrfbiini2 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

“The body on the ground is nothing more than a shell, a husk, and I am filled with a sense of peace. Yes, I think. Yes. This is what I want to be. An instrument of mercy, not vengeance.”

Feb 01, 2013
  • mrfbiini2 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

“... true faith never comes without anguish.”

Feb 01, 2013
  • mrfbiini2 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

“God's Teeth,' he says. 'I was only trying to wake you. You were crying out in your sleep.'
'I was not,' I say, then look from his neck to my knife.
'When I tried to wake you, you stabbed me.' He sounds sore put out. and I cannot blame him.”

Feb 01, 2013
  • mrfbiini2 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

“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.”

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Jun 26, 2014
  • adottoprog rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

adottoprog thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Jul 27, 2012
  • KKPGIRL rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

KKPGIRL thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

May 05, 2012
  • black_panda_159 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

black_panda_159 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


Add a Summary

Sep 27, 2013
  • mvkramer rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

Ismae Rienne is not a normal girl; she is the daughter of Death himself, marked -- and hated -- from birth. When her human father tries to sell her into a brutal arranged marriage, Ismae escapes to the convent of Saint Mortain, where other daughters of Death learn how to kill for their Duchess and their patron god. Ismae believes in the convent's purpose, and is excited by her first assignment -- following the serious Gaviel Duval to the court of Brittany to root out traitors and French agents. But what she learns at court, and what she begins to feel for Duval, might come between her and the convent that rescued her.


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