by Robin LaFevers
Published on November 4, 2014
by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt BFYR
Source: ARC giveaway at BEA
Synopsis from Goodreads: Annith has watched her gifted sisters at the convent come and go, carrying out their dark dealings in the name of St. Mortain, patiently awaiting her own turn to serve Death. But her worst fears are realized when she discovers she is being groomed by the abbess as a Seeress, to be forever sequestered in the rock and stone womb of the convent. Feeling sorely betrayed, Annith decides to strike out on her own. She has spent her whole life training to be an assassin. Just because the convent has changed its mind doesn't mean she has...My take: I have loved these Fair Assassin books so much! I think the way they blend actual history with myth, fairy tale, and invented elements is both seamless and compelling. All three books have an underlying subplot that has to do with a real historical figure, Anne of Brittany. Anne is a young duchess who, upon her father's death, was heir to the Duchy and besieged by suitors. The invented part of the story involves a convent of women who serve St. Mortain, god of Death. These women are trained assassins who are honor bound to kill anyone who bears St. Mortain's deadly "marque."
Annith, our heroine, has been waiting patiently to be called to duty, silently chafing as she watches her sisters go out on assignment while she is stuck in the convent. As the synopsis suggests, Annith comes to suspect that the abbess has a plan for her that will trap her in the convent forever, and she decides to escape.
While there were things I absolutely loved about this book, there are also some things that weren't completely for me. I'll start with the positives. I loved the way that this book was its own story while still serving as a conclusion for this trio of companion books. I loved the fact that this book had a couple of surprising twists. I was thrilled that Ismae, Sybella and Annith were reunited in this book and that each played a part in the story. I absolutely loved the story of Anne and her younger sister Isabeau. And I came to like Annith, who comes across as a bit cool and aloof in the prior books.
What didn't completely work for me was the romance. I can't say too much without spoilers, and if you've read the book you will be able to guess what I mean. While I found the guy in question to be a unique and fascinating character, I just couldn't get behind him as a love interest. There were ... issues. I found the story of the courtship intriguing but not swoony and romantic in a way that made my heart melt.
But I've discussed this book with other friends and many of them completely and vehemently disagree with me and find the romance to be complete perfection. This is what I love about talking books -- we can read the exact same words on the page and completely disagree.
Still, I'm a huge fan of these books and the author. Can't wait to see what she writes next! And if you love historical fiction and haven't tried these yet, you really should!
I still haven't given this series a chance but now that all the books are out I feel like just binge reading all of them. That being said, I also love how I can discuss my heart out about some books with fellow bloggers and just discuss what works for us and what didn't lol. Isn't it always so fun? I'm sorry the romance didn't work for you but i'm glad that it didn't take anything away from the book. Hopefully you enjoy the next thing this author writes! Lovely review Jen!ReplyDelete
Binge read -- do it!!Delete
Thanks for the great review :) I'm hoping to really love the romance but I know there's a big twist? I'm getting all fidgety waiting for my copy to arrive. Can't wait to read this!ReplyDelete
Yes. And while that twist worked for some people, I remain skeptical. But still love these books.Delete
I adore this series and I can see your point of view with the Guy. I prefer the other books too but it great to see them all :)ReplyDelete
Agree. This wasn't my absolute favorite, but I'm a huge fan of the trilogy as a whole. And I love that others completely disagree :)Delete
I've read and loved the first one, but never caught up with the second. I don't read historicals much, but this is a series I want to continue. Hopefully I don't mind the romance too much.ReplyDelete
You know, I see what everyone is saying about the romance - both sides. To me, I just didn't care as much about the romance in this story as I did in the previous two! Is that weird of me? I was more excited about Ismae, Sybella, and Annith being together in this story and about some of the revelations of some of the characters I've hated from the previous two books. I suppose on a re-read I may care more or less, but to me it just felt a little secondary. I guess it was a little weird especially at the end. Maybe I'm a little odd because it wasn't front and center for me in this book. ALL IN ALL, this series was really fantastic and I just loved it as a set. And as I've told everyone that will listen - Ismae is still my favorite!ReplyDelete
Unfortunately, I haven't read the second book yet, so I can't really weigh in either, or. Really need to finish up these books soon!ReplyDelete
Great review, Jen.
I prefered the other two as well. It took me some time as well with the love interest. Pretty nice ending to the series though.ReplyDelete
I love the author of this series. She's such a great writer. I really enjoyed the review. Thanks!ReplyDelete
I've been meaning to read this series for what seems like forever! So many people rave about it, and I admit the premise sounds super badass. :) great review Jen.ReplyDelete
Sorry to hear that the romance didn't work the best for youReplyDelete
Glad you enjoyed it overall! This series is a favorite of mine. As for the romance, I did enjoy it but I can also see where you are coming from. It's definitely... out there. I think I liked the twist so much the actual meaning of it didn't quite register LOL. And yes, I can't wait to see what she writes next!ReplyDelete
I only skimmed through your view since I have yet to catch up on the series. But eeepppp, I'm excited to read it.ReplyDelete
Really the love story didn't work for you? That makes me sad! ): I LOVED Grave Mercy but I'm still reading Dark Triumph (I got distracted, but I'll get back to it).ReplyDelete
I love the world building in this series the most!
Amber Elise @ Du Livre
Balthazar was a creeper. I'm sorry. The more I think about him, the more I'm icked out by the romance. But I LOVE historical fantasy - the blending of "actual history with myth, fairy tale, and invented elements is both seamless and compelling" that you mention - and I've come to care so much about these three women - Ismae, Sybella and Annith. But I am so so bummed about how this romance played out. I hoped that I'd appreciate it more the further I've gotten away from the book. But NOPE. It's gotten worse. ANYWAY. Great review. I'm 100% on board with you.ReplyDelete
As soon as I heard the words "assassin nuns" a few years back, I knew I had to try this series, and I loved it too! :) So excited for sad this one, sucks though that you didn't really enjoy the romance. (I honestly hate books that force romance into the plot just for the sake of having it.)ReplyDelete
Great review! I haven't heard of this series yet, but I am definitely going to check it out and add it to my TBR pile! I also enjoy historical fiction, and well researched books are phenomenal! Great review Jen (:ReplyDelete
Morrighan @ Elysian Fields.
I'm one that really loved the romance but I can totally see what you mean and understand how it wouldn't work for everyone. LaFevers' writing is just so beautifully done :-) I wonder what she's working on next.ReplyDelete