Book Nook: Review of Grave Mercy by R.L. LaFevers

Interested in a little historical romance? Your local librarian reviews a book thats got it all: history, assassins, and a love story.

I posted another YA book a couple of weeks ago and that post seemed to generate the most interaction with this blog that I've seen so far.  Based on that I thought I'd review another YA book that a classmate of mine at Simmons recommended.  I use Goodreads.com to stay in touch with a bunch of classmates and friends, see what they are reading, and discuss new favorite books.  Recently my friend posted "Grave Mercy" and described it as "Delightfully trashy. Excellent T Reading."  Not a sterling review for sure, but after commuting on the T for three years, I know that heavy reading isn't always what you want to read during your commute. 

I had to go on a hunt to find this book as it had accidentally been misshelved.  I was pleasantly surprised when I finished the book and absolutely loved it. I will admit that I had to supress the flow of tears that was threatening to pour out of my eyes at the end of this book. Yes, it is set up to be a sappy love story, but I really loved the world of Medieval Brittany that LaFevers' created. I love how torn Ismae is when she is confronted by hard choices. It is so easy to just follow what we are told to do, the hardest part of life is standing up for what you believe in and who you believe in, damning the consequences. Ismae's choices aren't the same as I would make, (last time I checked my fencing coach never trained me to be an assassin, just to enjoy stabbing people) but whether choosing to murder the mother of the man she loves or just deciding if someone is worth a second chance, the choices Ismae makes are things that are both fantastical and have correlations to the everday mundane.  Most people aren't faced with questions of assasination, but second chances are things that we come across in our daily lives, especially as teenages.  Sometimes your worst enemy can become your best friend if you let them.

The story is lush and the richness of the balls, gowns, and weapons that Ismae has access to make me turn green with envy. Especially when she describes her misericorde and the cache of other small sharp weaponry. The characters that LaFevers creates are fun and interesting, and the ties that bind family are obviously at the center of it all. The duchess, Anne, is another character I greatly admired and hope that she will have her own book at some point in this series. I am looking forward to Sybella's story in the sequel, Dark Triumph.

If you are interested in quasi historical romances or just admire strong female characters then this is a book that I suggest you check out.  From what I can tell there will be two more books in this series.  LaFevers has a excellent skill with language and the world created is worth indulging in.  I do have agree with my friend that this would be the perfect book to read on the T, but also great for a snowstorm or another day stuck inside.

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