Grave Mercy recieved 5 out of 5 stars.
In Grave Mercy Ismae is a 13 yr old girl whom is rumored to be the daughter of St. Mortain (Angel of Death), for that reason Ismae has been feared and abused by her mother's husband. At the young age of 13, she is sold into marriage to yet another vile, violent man. On her wedding night she is able to escape and runs to the convent of St. Mortain. Which takes her in. She befriends another daughter of Mortain, who is named Sybella. At the convent they value rather than revile her lineage and serve St. Mortain by teaching their young charges, mainly Ismae and Sybella, to carry out his work as assassins. They are trained in the art of seduction, poisons, and fighting. After three years of waiting Ismae is finally ready to take on a task for her father and the convent. She finds herself in the court of the young Duchess, trying to root out those who would betray Brittany to the French so that she may carry out St. Mortain's bidding.
I knew I was really enjoying this book when I got pass the halfway point and was disappointed I was on the downward slope towards the end. The easy style, great scene setting, well paced plot and yummy romance made me want to stay in it's world for longer, whilst simultaneously being unable to put it down.
I liked Ismae as a heroine a lot. She started out with a number of flaws; proud; bloodthirsty; naive; impatient; defensive - but she was also smart, kind and brave. Her flaws left her with ample opportunity to grow as a character and her development - along with that of the romantic element - was dealt with subtly and very plausible. I also liked how she never changed her opinion on things simply because someone told her to. The whole time Ismae took in what was happening and analysed it for herself, constantly questioning herself and others to ensure she was doing what was expected of her by her father, without compromising her conscience. I was happy to see Sybella show up again in the book, I absolutely love her character as well.
I am anxiously awaiting the release of Dark Triumph!