Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday Reads: Grave Mercy

I've been steering clear of YA lately, mostly because I'm trying to keep my MG* sensibility while I revise my current MG manuscript, but when I heard people mention Robin's newest book, I HAD to get a copy and read.  I'm a huge fan of her MG Theodosia series, but this YA is completely different.  And oh so good!

Grave Mercy
by Robin LaFevers

For: Teens

Genre: YA fantastical historical romantic adventure (aka hard to categorize, which is awesome)

Published: 2012

Description: 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?

Why I liked it: I am not a huge fan of anything dark, so I was a little nervous when I started this book, since it begins in a very dark place and promises more darkness throughout.  But this story is not about assassination and death and darkness as much as it is about Ismae coming to terms with herself and her past, and how she finds her own path forward.  And the romance in this book is real and deep and not gratuitous (which I appreciated immensely).  I highly recommend this to anyone who loves historical romance with lots of intrigue.

Do you have any other suggestions for YA historical romance or historical adventure with a romantic twist?  Please share, because I am ready to read!

And happy weekend reading!

*Because someone always asks, MG stands for middle-grade, books written for 8-12-year-olds.


  1. I love Robin's Theodosia and Nathaniel Fludd books. She is a very talented lady and it is cool to see her branch off to do even more cool stuff!


    1. I haven't ready Nathaniel Fludd yet. I might have to look it up! And, really, Grave Mercy is so amazingly well done. I love it more than Theodosia, and that's saying something!

  2. An old but very good one is Perilous Gard, by Elizabeth Marie Pope. Elizabethan girl gets sent under house arrest to a remote manor that secretly protects a clan of mysterious druids. It's a retelling of the Tam Lin legend that's just extremely well done.

    If you like Austen, Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer have a great book called Sorcery and Cecelia, or the Enchanted Chocolate Pot, which is Austenesque, only a mystery and with some magic.

    1. Ooh, thanks for the suggestions. And yes, die-hard Austen fan here. (I confess.) Thanks for those recs, too, Rose.

      I have also been reading The Agency books by YS Lee. Lots of mystery/suspence/intrigue with a good romance, too, set in Victorian England. I've been enjoying those as well.