Reviewed by Megan Saldecki

Having been rescued by the convent of St. Mortain from an arranged marriage to a heartless man, Ismae is raised to be one of Death’s handmaidens – assassins blessed with powerful gifts that carry out the god Mortain’s work. Carrying out His work, though, means killing the people who have wronged him.

Thrown into this life, Ismae embarks on her most important assignment yet. But when the convent orders her to kill someone she’s grown to love, she realizes that there may be another way to serve Mortain.

Grave Mercy starts off at a fast pace, throwing you into this new life of Ismae’s along with her. I loved being able to read about her various assignments.

Ismae was a wonderful character. She’s the type of person that has her walls up all the time and doesn’t let anyone in very easily. She grew up thinking her mother was ashamed of her and she was constantly bullied by everyone in her town for being the “daughter” of Death or Mortain, as he is often referred to. Despite the constant abuse, Ismae really grew as a person throughout Grave Mercy and I enjoyed reading about her progress.

Grave Mercy had some slow parts, often due to the fact that it is a highly political novel, delving greatly into the decision process and problems of the duchess trying to find a suitable marriage, one that won’t cause a war with the French. In fact, much of the novel was about this selection process, which got to be a bit too much for me. Grave Mercy was written very well, though, keeping true to the era and the plot.

Overall, I highly enjoyed the story line and would recommend Grave Mercy to fans of historical fiction.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Meghan is a 18-year-old book blogger. She likes to read and write in her spare time and would like to become a published author one day. She plans on going to college soon.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.