Summary from GoodReads:
“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?”
Grave Mercy is an alternate history historical fiction, supernatural, romantic epic of a Young Adult novel. I picked it up because it was new and popular, but I honestly did not expect to enjoy it.
I very much loved it. The characters are witty and addictive contradictions. The historical setting is not overbearing or boring, and the author takes her own liberties with history in order to make the plot and setting even more interesting. I couldn’t put it down and read it in a day or two. I would recommend it to readers of historical fiction and/or romance, as well as those who like strong female protagonists, like those in The Hunger Games and Divergent. This is very much a grown-up book that has appeal for teens and adults.
“And just as love has two sides, so too does Death. While Ismae will serve as His mercy, I will not, for that is not how He fashioned me. Every death I have witnessed, every horror I have endured, has forged me to be who I am — Death’s justice.”
― R.L. LaFevers, Dark Triumph
Summary from GoodReads:
“Sybella’s duty as Death’s assassin in 15th-century France forces her return home to the personal hell that she had finally escaped. Love and romance, history and magic, vengeance and salvation converge in this thrilling sequel to Grave Mercy.”
Dark Triumph is an incredible sequel to Grave Mercy. It follows another of Mortain’s Daughters, Sybella, and I am so very glad for that. Sybella is as different from Ismae as night is from day! I really loved following the rest of the story from her point of view, getting to see inside her heart and her mind. Once again the historical setting is a great backdrop for romance, intrigue, and supernatural assassin nuns, but the history doesn’t overpower the story.
I would most definitely recommend this to those who have already read the first installment of the His Fair Assassin series, Grave Mercy, but it could also honestly stand alone. If you don’t mind being a bit confused by the history and political situation for several chapters then people who pick up Dark Triumph without reading Grave Mercy could still very much enjoy it.