GOODREADS SUMMARY | Houghton Mifflin Books | Hardcover, 385 pp. | April 2nd, 2013 | Young Adult | Fantasy | Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Sybella once escaped the clutches of her evil family. It was what drove her into the sanctuary of St. Mortain’s nuns in the first place. But an assignment would lead her back into her nightmare and will have her spying on the congregation’s behalf. With one close call after another, Sybella would come close to achieving what the abbess had long since promised: her father’s death in her own hands.
Tasked with freeing one of the duchess’ imprisoned knights, Sybella’s innate talent for killing would be tested many times over as she frees the severely wounded and tortured soldier back into the safety of his kingdom. Along the way, the knight and Sybella would rally a rebellion to free their people from the ruthless ruling of her family.
Robin LaFevers’ follow up to her His Fair Assassin series takes on a darker route. Much of them involving Sybella’s past and the predicament she found herself in. You have allusions of incest and child abuse; murders and torture. All of them occurring in and around Sybella’s family. In this book, we find out more about Mortain’s influence in his maidens; and what the mark of death is really about. Grave Mercy showed us that the nuns has the liberty to kill those that bore His mark. Conversely, the readers will find out that the power of Mortain enables the maidens to practice discretion when it comes to those they kill, regardless whether or not their victims are marked.
This book also features a very subtle, and slow-building romance. It is based on mutual respect and awe. Beast is an unlikely romantic interest, but he’s a hero, nonetheless. His intensity rivals that of Sybella, which makes them a perfect pairing in my eyes.
It’s been two years since I read Grave Mercy. My memories of reading it has been pretty limited to my awestruck wonders in relation to assassin nuns. Also, Duval. The rest is a blank space. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to follow the story, but I was glad that Robin has sewn such a seamless connection between two books. This was not an easy read, nor was it fun. But Robin LaFevers is a tailor of a compelling series that sweeps readers into a time when region and regency goes hand in hand in the politics of a nation.
It is business as usual for Robin LaFevers; this book did not suffer the blah of the second-book-syndrome. If anything, she’s given us a story of a more mature nature, more intense, darker and more candid. I can only look forward to Mortal Heart from this point.