Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?
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?
This trilogy has a historical setting of the War between France and Brittany with a bit of mythology blended in. And I was really impressed with the way the author mixed fiction with the real events.
These books show nine old gods and all of them have been introduced but mainly it’s Mortain, the god of death that takes the central stage.
We have 3 badass assassins (death’s handmaidens) and each is the protagonist of a book.
Ismae in Grave Mercy, Sybella in Dark Triumph and Annith in Mortal Heart.
This book is narrated through their point of views and I really enjoyed the plot: the politics, religion, war tactics, bit of a romance and the back story of each character.
It is the complete package and had me completely captivated till the end.
After reading Grave Mercy and being mesmerized, I wondered if the second book could keep up with the expectations, and it did. These books just kept getting better and better.
Ismae had a rough life with her father condemning her, her husband being cruel, just because she had survived when her mother tried to kill her in her womb. The Convent is a new life for her and serving Mortain is her purpose. She is sent on an assignment where she wonders if she really is serving Mortain or the convent’s wishes.
Sybelle survived in worse conditions, her past is something she doesn’t want to remember but she is made to go back. What will it mean for her?
(For me I loved Dark Triumph the best. Sybelle is such strong character and I felt for her.)
Annith has been training all her life. With no special gifts, she has to work hard to be taken seriously. And she wants to go on an assignment so bad. Things take a turn for the worst when she’s told that she has to become the Seeress and might never leave the convent ever.
Each book has its own plot and yet all three books are connected.
Brittany is at war with France. The Duchess needs to be crowned and marry someone so she could protect her country. But there are spies and traitors everywhere. Who could she trust in this situation?
Some quotes I liked :
“What is it like?”
“What is what like?”
“Death. What is death like?”
“He is quiet and still, and oh, so peaceful. Fear will no longer hold any sway over you, nor will worry or sadness. Can you think of a time when you were especially tired? Perhaps after a long day of travel? Do you remember how lovely it was to climb into your feather bed that night? How grateful your tired limbs were? How welcoming it felt? How delicious to close your eyes and finally rest?”
“It is just like that.”
― Robin LaFevers, Mortal Heart
I just need to say that this trilogy is worth reading.