Grave Mercy takes place in medieval Brittany, while France is threatening to take over and Brittany’s independence is hanging in the balance. Their duchess can’t be crowned without the consent of the French regent and she is entrenched in slimy marriage deals from multiple suitors. That’s the abridged version of the complex historical background that sets the scene for this story. The story is about Ismae, a girl who was fathered by Mortain, an ancient God of Death. She is mistreated by her father and sold into a marriage, but luckily escapes with the help of a couple people. She is taken to the Convent of St. Mortain, where she is trained in the art of killing. Ismae’s own gift lies in the art of poisoning as she herself is immune to the ill effects of all poisons. About a quarter into the book, she is assigned the task to go undercover in the Breton Royal Court. There she experiences deceit, romance, secrets and more!
This book does not lack in action. It was awesome and according to the author’s note, most of it actually happened in real life, but with even more deception and double crosses! The plot is very active and dominates the story (in this case, a good thing!). Ismae and the readers are always guessing as to who is really pulling the strings and how to react to every new development.
I connected with Ismae and really loved reading about her. She has a unique and fresh perspective on the events in court life. Also, I enjoyed her, because she learns early on that you can’t trust anyone and I loved watching her come to her own conclusions. She is an intelligent girl and she fights for those who are important to her. I was intrigued and fascinated by her development towards the end of the book and I want to know where she will go next. I hope the second book has more about her!
If you are a fan of historical fiction, you definitely need to check out this book! If you like kick ass female protagonists, you should read this book. If you like strong male secondary characters/ side-kicks, try this book! If you like books that teach you to question what people tell you are absolutes, totally try this book!!