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Moonlight Reader

Lawyer, mother, avid reader. Game host extraordinaire! Partner in crime to Obsidian Black Plague! My bookish weaknesses include classics, fantasy, YA, and agreeing to read more books than is even remotely possible.

Currently reading

Capital Crimes: London Mysteries: A British Library Crime Classic (British Library Crime Classics)
Martin Edwards
Progress: 105/410 pages
Sherlock Holmes: The Definitive Collection
Arthur Conan Doyle, Stephen Fry

Beware the Handmaiden of Death

Grave Mercy - Robin LaFevers

This review was previously posted on amazon on July 5, 2012:


I have decided that I am not going to do plot summaries on my reviews anymore, because I am just that kind of a rebel. And, because they are boring to write and to read. If you want a plot summary, the author has kindly provided one on the book page.

Now, who is this R.L. LaFevers who wrote this book, and where has she been all my life? I see from looking at her backlist that she has written two separate middle grade series. This book is targeted toward an older, late YA audience, but if her other books are as enjoyable as this one, I'm prepared to give them a try.

I really liked this book. In my opinion, the cover does a poor job communicating to a prospective reader how unique this book really is. Don't get me wrong, the cover is lovely. But it looks like every other YA paranormal cover with a pretty girl in a ballgown (although she is holding a cross-bow. So there's that) standing about looking fabulous. For starters, it is set in Breton, in the 15th century, and is very much a piece of historical fiction. In addition, the main character, Ismaie, is a nun. A nun who is also an assassin. Which is awesome.

The main character, therefore, is a treat. Her romantic interest, Gavriel Duval, is also a treat. Ismaie is tough as nails, knows 300 ways to kill a man (or a woman) and is doing the work of her god, Mortain, the god of death. She is well versed in the subtle art of the poisoner, is capable of freeing a man's soul from his body with the prick of a blade, and is a protector of Breton's independence and freedom. There is lots of court intrigue, and more than a spot of treachery. This book will appeal to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, and has enough magic to satisfy the YA reader who likes a good paranormal romance. It is a genuinely genre-busting read. Can't wait for the sequel.