Grave Mercy

by Robin LaFevers

Cover Beauty Score: 7 out of 10
Goodreads Score: 1 out of 5

Plot Blurb: Ismae is a poor commoner whose abusive father is about to marry her off to an even more abusive husband. She escapes to a convent called St. Mortain where the nuns are all female assassins that worship the god of death. She grows into her trade and her first assignment takes her to the royal court in Brittany where she has to work with Gavriel Duval, a good looking dude that rubs her the wrong way, to carry out St. Mortain's ultimate objective.

My Reaction: Well it's not often I put a book down. But this one was a DNF. I tried... I really did... I read well into this one - I even shelled out full cover price for it at my local independently owned bookstore (yay small bookstores!!). I mean - just look at that cover! Badass medieval lady assassin out to kick ass and take names? Where do I throw my money?!

So sitting here trying to figure out what went wrong and I realize that I just got bored. It had small elements of fun sprinkled in with large amounts of snooze-ville. I know a lot of people complained because it was too romance-novel-y, but let me tell you... I know romance novels and this was not one of the them. If there had been a little more sexy time, maybe it could have brought this book up to mildly interesting... but alas, Grace Mercy was stuck in limbo. Not quite an action/adventure, not quite a feminist diatribe, not quite a romance novel, not quite a YA... I just felt like LaFevers couldn't quite pin down what she wanted this book to be and it suffered because of that. The pacing was fast and slow and everything in between, leaving me feeling confused and dissatisfied during the whole process.

Besides the sloppy commitment to character, we get quite thoroughly sidetracked by the extensive politics of history. Elements that seemingly have no point to the overall story as a whole. I can barely handle preachy history even when it IS necessary for plot development. There's nothing that makes my eyelids droop closed faster than an author trying to show off their research capabilities. Entertain me, please! Don't give me a textbook! Historical details should supplement a story, not navigate them completely.

And then we come to the actual writing style... I'm hesitant to berate this, because I know everyone has their own favorite type. But it was mediocre, even at the best of times. LaFevers gives us predictable cheese without the subtle charm that makes it work, leaving a bad taste overall. As with her pacing issues, her writing style is so all over the place that it leaves you feeling like you're not reading anything at all. And who wants to read a book that leaves you feeling like you haven't really read anything?

Ok, so now I feel a little mean with what I've written, but I'm going to stick to my guns. The high ratings for this one on GoodReads are overstating its worth... which fits in with my theory that the majority of readers today like to indulge in dribble.

If you were able to get through this one, I bow down to the power of your will. (If you read it and liked it... I just don't know what to say. Wow, this is awkward. Sorry.)

Ultimately, not the book for me. But for now I own it and it's going to have an obligatory spot on my bookshelf until I can find someone to pawn it off on.

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