Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers


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?

There was plenty of action, mystery, and romance in this new series opener. Ismae is a likeable character who reminded me a lot of Katsa from Graceling by Kristin Cashore. Her first assignment takes her into the high court of Brittany where she must serve as a Mistress to Gavriel Duval, an advisor to the duchess and a man her convent suspects is a traitor. To complicate matters, she must also work with Duval to find out if anyone in the high court is double-crossing the duchess, Anne. Court politics will have readers stumped as to who really is loyal to the duchess and action packed scenes with Ismae completing her orders move the story along. Duval’s friends and the high court also add to a well-rounded cast of characters.   – Kathy, Teen Librarian