Title: Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin)
Author: Robin LaFevers
Narrator: Caroline Ramsay
Duration: 11hrs 51mins
This review is based on the AudioGo MP3 version.
The audio begins with 17 year old Ismae being married off by her father to a beast of a man. Her father is cruel and this comes across loud and clear through the audio book at the start – he’s chosen the roughest tyrant of a man for his daughter to marry. Ismae has always been treated badly and is an outcast by default as she is said to be born of blood after her mother tried to poison her whilst she was in the womb.
Ismae’s fate then turns – she is taken under the wing of a convent who train her to become Death’s Assassin. This does challenge pre-conceptions of how I viewed convents!! Ismaes second assignment sees her having on the job training as she goes into Court and tries to keep the Duchess safe from harm. What she doesn’t bargain for is falling in love, which is forbidden.
The storyline in places was a bit too dragged out – but I think that was more to do with the story rather than the audio version of it. I did get a bit fed up with the Duchy and the politics surrounding everything she could or couldn’t do. It wasn’t really a surprise who Ismae fell in love with, but there are still plot twists which I didn’t forsee.
It took me about half a chapter to get used to Caroline Ramsay’s narrative on the audio. The first chapter we see Ismae as a meek yet quietly strong character; unable to control her own fate or have a say in it. As the story progresses, so does Caroline Ramsay’s personification of Ismae, and all the other characters she comes into contact with. I had to remind myself throughout the audio that it was only one narrator, as each character was given a very distinctive voice just for themselves, so it really felt like I was listening to a play with different actors rather than a sole narrator, which was very effective.
What made listening to this so addictive was the narrators telling of the story. It felt so animated that I couldn’t help but be sucked into the characters and the storyline. In retrospect though I think it could have been slightly shorter without compromising too much of the storyline as it did feel long in places. I love the cover on this as well - the title jumps out at you and begs you to listen to it!
Escaping from the brutality of an arranged marriage, 17-year-old Ismae finds sanctuary at the convent of St. Mortain. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts - and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must be willing to take the lives of others. Ismae's most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany where she finds herself woefully underprepared - for how can she deliver Death's vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart? A dangerous romance for young adults, full of intrigue, poison and passion.
Source – Many thanks to Audiogo.com/uk, an audio was received in return for an honest review.