Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
The convent of Saint Mortain is a haven for young girls and women who are believed to be daughters of Death himself. They are trained to be skilled assassins who carry out the work of Death by killing people who are marqued as evil. Ismae Rienne had a terrible life before the convent found her and helped her escape her cruel father and vicious new husband. She has spent her entire life as an outcast marked with scars from a potion that her mother used to attempt to abort her and the people in her village hate and fear her because of her connection to death.
The nuns at St. Mortain’s empower Ismae, and her devotion to the fearsome saint of death gives her purpose and a sense of belonging. Soon she excels at creating deadly poisons, thanks to her magical immunity to them and learns countless ways to kill a man using various weapons. Ismae receives an assignment that sends her to the high court of Brittany, where she must determine who is trustworthy amid the lies and betrayal that surround the young Duchess Anne. Ismae is reluctant to be paired with the devastatingly handsome Gavriel Duval, who could either be a valuable ally or a dangerous traitor.
The political events in Grave Mercy, including the heartbreaking betrayals of trusted advisors, are based on real historical events of 15th century Brittany. However, Grave Mercy reads like a page-turner, not a textbook. I loved the political intrigue and adventure in this book! It was easy to get swept away in the dangerous and glamorous world that Ismae is thrust into. The romance was also swoon-worthy, although it’s not the only focus of the book. Grave Mercy is the first book in the His Fair Assassin trilogy and I am definitely excited to read more!