Author: R.L. LaFevers
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Rating: 5 Scintillating Stars!
Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?
Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. 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 destroy the lives of others.
Ismae's most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?~Goodreads
I think what made this book so incredible was it’s insanely strong lead, Ismae. She goes from being this weak insignificant girl at the beginning of the book to this tough powerful woman by the middle of it. And with a little help from the local Herbwitch, Ismae is able to escape her original fate.
Once she arrives at the convent of St. Mortain the story really takes off! I loved reading about her time there! Not only does she learn martial arts and royal family history and how to use a dagger and mix poisons and ride horses and seduce men and then kill them...she becomes apart of something bigger than herself, she becomes a daughter of Death; the ultimate assassin. How bomb is that?!
At the convent, Ismae trains while she waits for her first mission; who she has to kill and the where and how she has to kill them. I thought I would feel some kind of remorse for those Ismae basically slaughtered, but I didn’t. Her perspective was so incredible that I couldn’t help but see the way she took someone out as an art form. It was that awesome.
But when it comes to who she executes, all Ismae has to go on is blind faith. She does as the convent tells her, no questions asked, and she believes that it’s what has to be done for the greater good. But when a certain nobleman disputes with her on the matter, she starts to question everything she’s been taught to believe.
Gavriel Duval....wounded son of the deceased Duke, protective older brother of the Duchess, and charming bachelor of the court. This man is damn near perfect. When he first enters the story he’s very headstrong and has an attitude that slightly repels Ismae, but alas they have to work together. They’re both very secretive and they’re both take-no-bull type of characters which causes disagreements to ensue. Their witty banter and teasing is adorable, their combat skills are top-notch annnnd their scars are sexy...soo they're pretty much perfect for each other! And once Ismae gets to know Duval she comes to understand why he acts the way he does, what he cherishes and values most. He’s so completely compassionate it’s practically impossible not to fall for him.
*sighs* The romance that takes place in this novel...it’s seriously breathtaking. It builds and builds and builds so tantalizingly slow that by the time Ismae and her glorious love interest were alone...I was practically drooling in anticipation. Oh my goodness gracious! I have never read a book in which a simple ankle touch could be so damn sexy. Hot damn...there’s this one scene in which Gavriel is stitching up one of Ismae’s wounds and...whoa. He says all the right things, touches her in all the right ways...man. I may or may not have reread it multiple times...
To add even more intrigue to the story insert a creepy messenger bird, a diabolical suitor, a poisoned lover, a battle, a visit from Death himself and a powerful kiss and you get one fantastic tale. This stunning debut is one that you have to experience for yourself! I highly, highly recommend it, even if you’re not a historical fiction fan, it’s so worth the read! Thank heavens or...Death...that it’s a trilogy!! PICK IT UP WHEN IT COMES OUT IN APRIL!!