Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

May 2, 2012
This book is utterly fascinating. It is at times brutal and very dark, but always fascinating. The premise, a convent where young women are trained to be both nuns and assassins, is highly original, if rather strange. I was worried that I would find it difficult to sympathize with the heroine, but her feelings are so real and understandable that I couldn't help but like Ismae.

Robin LaFevers is a master of description and atmosphere. You never once feel like you are anywhere but medieval Europe.

I wondered how the author would handle assassinations carried out by a teenage girl, but you quickly realize that Ismae is no girl. She is despised by her parents, and her father sells her. This upbringing gives her the motivation needed to kill, coldly and without mercy. If she had stayed that way I might have given up on this book, but when she becomes exposed to the world she learns to forgive and think for herself.

I would not recommend Grave Mercy to everyone due to its dark and, at times, disturbing elements, but I enjoyed it and recommend it to anyone who enjoys dark fantasy and historical fiction (though this is not technically historical).

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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