by Robin LaFevers
library (I need to stop going to the library, I am neglecting the books on my shelves…oh well, this was worth it, super fun!)
I loved the premise of this book! Death’s Daughters are his mortal agents that assassinate those he has marked for death. They live and train as nuns…assassin nuns. Mortain (god of Death) is one of Brittany’s gods, or saints now that Christianity has taken a foothold, and he helps his followers and those loyal to the duchess, the leader of Brittany. She needs all the help she can get since her father promised her hand in marriage to anyone who could help free them from France. Now that the war is over and her father has died, everyone is coming to claim their prize, and France (who won the war) is there to mediate.
Ismae was marked as one of Death’s daughters when her mother tried to take a drug to remove her from her womb, and it didn’t work. Instead it just left horrible scars on Ismae’s body. So her childhood sucked and she is almost beaten by her new husband when she is secreted away to an abbey to learn the arts of assassination. Cool! The opening was wonderful and exciting.
Then she is selected for her first couple of assignments and she fumbles a bit, but figures out her way. She ends up at court where she learns she is woefully unprepared for what politics and intrigue happen. But she finds her way, and finds herself in love as well.
The love romance stuff was sweet. There is no real fighting the falling in love, they spar a little bit because of what Ismae is, but once they fall, they deal with it. It is YA, so while there is mention of dalliances, they happen off screen. There is a LOT of political intrigue in the middle with Ismae and Duval trying to figure out who is pulling what strings. It might slow down for some who don’t enjoy that type of thing, but I sailed through it all. The men are jerks, but they were during those times, it is historical fiction after all! It was nice to have a strong woman, the duchess, in charge even though she is only 13. Her advisors are all power mad and everyone has an agenda.
The ending is awesome. The bad guys are dealt with mostly and Ismae feels a bit more secure in her own skin. Loved it. And it is a sweet and fairly HEA, so that is super fun. Ismae has issues with the humans running things, but ends up better understanding the god she follows. I liked it a lot and am excited to hear it will be a trilogy. The next book will be about Sybella, another assassin nun who was a totally awesome side character that we don’t get to know enough about from Grave Mercy. I give this 4 stars.