View from the window seat:
To escape what is sure to be a marriage full of cruelty, Ismae runs to the covent of St. Mortain, the god of Death. Taught by the sisters who are dedicated to the ways of the old gods, Ismae learns how to be a deadly assassin. Obedience and dedication to her god becomes her life. Her final test before she can take her vows carries her away to the high court of Brittany, where she has to maneuver through the political games of intrigue and treason to save her duchess and her country from invasion.
Like most people, I decided to read this book because, well, assassin nuns. How awesome is that? I mean, Ismae wears a bracelet that turns into a freaking garrotte for her to kill people with. Ismae is a strong heroine, and I enjoyed seeing her grow into her powers over the course of the novel. What I like most about her is that she follows her intuition, even when the people around her try to convince her otherwise. She trusts her gut, and does whatever it takes to reveal the truth of the plots against the duchess.
That said, Gavriel Duval was my favorite character. It was really refreshing to read a character steadfastly dedicated to his duty. He doesn’t abandon his purpose when he falls in love; he doesn’t run but fights just as hard to protect the country and duchess that he loves.
The book’s plot is pretty predictable. The true villain is obvious, so when Ismae eventually puts the pieces together, it’s like finally. There are a lot of discussions of what the options are in regards to how they’re going to act, which are unnecessary and bog down the narrative.
While not a perfect novel, I enjoyed Grave Mercy and look forward to the next installment in the series.