Friday, May 27, 2016

Review: Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Genres: YA; Fantasy; Historical; Romance

Pages: 550

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?

I know, I know. I hardly ever give out the dreaded one star, and now here I am, doling out that tragic rating to an insanely popular book? 

Let me explain.

I hardly ever give out one star ratings, because when I dislike a book I usually don't finish it. And I won't rate a book I haven't finished. But for Grave Mercy I pushed through somehow. Partly because I kept holding out hope that it would get better (it didn't) and partly because I just wanted to finish an audiobook for once. (So I settled on listening to 550 pages of excruciating narration instead of listening to common sense and DNFing this). *sigh* It's casual.  

At least now I am able to give you my fully informed opinions. Please don't hurt me.


Oh, fine. I'll start with the good things.

Things I Liked:

- The premise is neat: Ismae is a handmaiden to Death and works with a bunch of assassinating nuns. Weird, yes. But cool!

“'So.... You are well equipped for our service.' 
'Which is?'
'We kill people.'” 

- Political intrigue: Ok. So I liked this and didn't like it. I like that politics were an important part of the story, because you don't really see that a lot in YA fiction. But .... I didn't like that it was such a gigantic part of the story. Basically, it got boring. But parts of it were interesting, so I shall put it under this list because.... that's it. That's my list of Likes.

Moving on, then.

Things I Didn't Like:

- The characters: The worst thing that can happen to me when reading a novel is not being able to connect with the characters. I want to love them and sympathize with them. But for these characters.... I felt nothing. Except frustration, and mainly towards Ismae.

Oh, Ismae. Being inside of your head was--frankly--weird. And disturbing.

And not just because she's an assassin. I knew that going into this. But Ismae... she was SO concerned with appearances, and made SNAP judgments about people. She also had to ponder over everything that just happened to her, or what could happen to her in her future. Seriously. So. Much. Pondering. I just didn't care.

Oh, and she also hates all men. Which, okay, considering her background, I get that. But she was so stubborn. And wouldn't reason. She just had to be right about everything, period. 

Oh, but she was still okay with seducing men if that's what it took for her to kill them. Same went for other girls at the convent.

Just .... no.

And as for the other characters .... well, none of them were particularly interesting. I think I'll leave it at that.

- The plot: It just wasn't interesting. And it was very slow paced. Like I said, a large chunk of the novel was just Ismae thinking about things. *yawn* I wanted action. I wanted mystery. That just wasn't there for me.

- The romance: Oh, goodness. You want the romance between Ismae and Duval in one word? Bland. It didn't even make sense. They didn't like each other at all.... and then suddenly they were in love? The romance wasn't developed very well in my opinion. LaFevers never really showed us WHY Duval liked Ismae and WHY Ismae liked Duval. The story would have been better without a romance, or a least a better developed one, I think.
“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.” 
So, she thinks about killing him.... but then he wins her over because .... he's .... kind?

Yeah, I really don't know.

In short:

Grave Mercy had a great premise, but the execution fell flat for me. A lot of people have really enjoyed this book, though. So, if you really like reading about politics and murder and stuff, you may like it.

But, you have been warned.


  1. Huh, I see. I actually really loved Grave Mercy, although I think that had a lot more to do with how much I did love the characters. I was very intrigued by them all! Also, I love the political atmosphere, but again, that's just how I am. I also really loved how it used a backdrop of religion to make it so interesting... The nuns were some of my favorite characters. :) Anyway, I totally understand why you didn't like it. And that is okay! Different opinions are good.

    1. Yeah, and I can understand why you like it! The execution just didn't work for me somehow.

  2. OMG ME!! MEEEEEE. THIS IS 100% ME TOO! I hated this book. XD I don't even understand how it's so well loved, omg. I feel like I read something completely different to everyone else since they rave and adore it so much?!? But the characters were so flat and it was far too long. :( The premise was the only good thing, but still didn't really help how torturous it was to get through the story. Ergk. So I'm with you, Ally. *hi fives*

    Thanks for stopping by @ Paper Fury!

    1. Torturous is the right word, yes. I mean, I can understand why some people like it, even if I don't agree with them. *shrugs* To each his own, I guess. But I won't be reading the sequels!