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Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassin #3) – Robin LaFevers

Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassin #3) – Robin LaFeversTitle: Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassin #3) by Robin Lafevers
Publishing Info: November 4, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Source: ARC
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Mythology, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: April 7, 2014
Related Posts: Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1), Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin #2)

    In the powerful conclusion to Robin LaFever's New York Times bestselling His Fair Assassins trilogy, 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.

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** This is an honestly, truly SPOILER-FREE review of MORTAL HEART! Only details are how I felt about things and never exactly WHAT they were. Too many incredibly special moments and reveals to spill the beans in a review! Enjoy! **

Not that I didn’t love the other two books (because I did) but I have been waiting for Annith’s story since we first met her in GRAVE MERCY. You guys… MORTAL HEART does not disappoint. In fact, for as much love as I had for the first two books, my love for MORTAL HEART soared above and beyond my expectations. It has the answers to everything and I mean EVERYTHING.

Oh my gosh, how do I even write this review without telling you all of the amazing plot points that I surely don’t want to spoil? Okay. No spoilers… I will just touch on things we learn!
We get to know more about Annith’s past. I have been dying to know more ever since we first met Annith so this was SO exciting. Not only do we get to learn more about her as a person, but having Annith’s story be the last in the series really ties everything together!
YES, there IS a romance and it is super swoony. I mean, did you have any doubt?  Mysterious, brave, broody… And he and Annith have great chemistry. The more I read about these two, the more I fell in love with their romance. It was truly awesome, incredibly deep, and also incredibly interesting.
There are mysteries galore! And even more importantly, we get all the answers!!! We’ve been wondering all along why Annith has been kept in the convent. There are hints at different characters being involved in different plots. There are plots of murder. There are family histories. And the reveals for each question that pops up is perfectly timed and utterly amazing.

It is really and truly hard to discuss MORTAL HEART without any spoilers because it’s the finale of this epic series and I immediately just wanted to discuss ALL THE THINGS. Robin LaFevers totally nailed it with MORTAL HEART and this is the book in the series that I really connected the most with. Annith was incredibly relatable, entirely badass, and fiercely determined. One thing that I loved was how Robin LaFevers really managed to create three entirely different heroines between Ismae, Sybella, and Annith but still keep many of the same basic qualities and ultimate goals. These girls had so much in common and the their stories all intertwine perfectly to create this series, but each one definitely felt like a very different person and a very strong personality.

The relationships in this book are just amazing. Of course the romance because WOW, but every relationship — the good and the bad — was just so perfectly shaped. The way Annith interacts with everyone — her feelings, her reactions, her decisions to trust — just felt so genuine and I really connected with her as a character. She had a lot to gain and a lot to lose all at once and so much of that was based on her relationship with her friends and Daughters of Mortain, with the convent, and with her possible enemies.

The plotting throughout the whole His Fair Assassin series is amazing. I enjoyed the first two books immensely, but with everything coming to a conclusion in MORTAL HEART, the action, the mystery, and the adventure really took off in this book and I could not put it down. If you loved the first two books, I don’t see how you can possibly be disappointed by MORTAL HEART at all. This book just floored me in all the best ways and I wish I could just soak in it forever.

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“The View from Goodreads” is a new featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Just ignore the fact that this is all the same date……. I accidentally deleted the wrong edition of the book which wiped out my status updates BUT I did have them saved on my phone because I didn’t have access to the internet while I was reading! So I just uploaded them back when I had the chance. 

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Annith // Character Obsessions: Leaving the convent, training, answers.
Out of all of the characters in this series, Annith was definitely my favorite. I was so glad the series closed out with her story and that it was saved for the very end. She was such a pleasure to read about and everything that happened to her! Just shocking and amazing. I loved her spirit and determination.

To be honest, I want to talk about soooo many more characters but let’s discuss AFTER you read the book! There are so many surprises and reveals and pasts and secrets that I just can’t possibly say anything more about who we meet, who reveals what, and how their roles shape the book! 

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Kept Me Hooked On: Historical Fiction + fantasy blend. This series really combined some serious historical fiction and awesome mythology/fantasy aspects. I loved the mythology that Robin LaFevers invented for this book (oh yeah, we get more of THAT too!) and how everything just really fit so well for the time period. It was just perfect.
Left Me Wanting More: Of this series. It ended so perfectly but that’s the thing — it was perfect. I wish there was so much more but then again, I’m extremely happy with the way it ended.

Addiction Rating
BUY IT

Do not hesitate to buy this book and this series and cherish on your shelves! So amazing and definitely worth owning all three books. Forever.

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE MORTAL HEART

(Click the cover to see my review!)

        Shadow and Bone   Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin #2) – Robin LaFevers

Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin #2) – Robin LaFeversTitle: Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin #2) by Robin Lafevers
Publishing Info: April 2, 2013 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Source: Netgalley, Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Mythology, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: March 21, 2013
Related Posts: Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1), Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassin #3)

The convent views Sybella, naturally skilled in the arts of both death and seduction, as one of their most dangerous weapons. But those assassin's skills are little comfort when the convent returns her home to the life that nearly drove her mad. And while Sybella is a weapon of justice wrought by the god of death himself, he must give her a reason to live. When she discovers an unexpected ally imprisoned in the dungeons, will a daughter of Death find something other than vengeance to live for?

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DarkTriumph

Maybe I needed someone to fangirl with while I read this. Maybe my hopes were too high. Maybe I shouldn’t be allowed to read long books on my Kindle because for some reason they feel like they take forever. Maybe I needed help from the Recaptains to remember what exactly was up with Sybella in GRAVE MERCY — But for whatever reason, I was SO BUMMED that I didn’t enjoyed DARK TRIUMPH as much as I had hoped. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy it, because I really did; I just hard a hard time getting into it as easily as I fell into GRAVE MERCY.

I was incredibly excited to jump into the Sybella’s story in DARK TRIUMPH since her side of the story seemed much darker and mysterious than that of Ismae in GRAVE MERCY and I was not disappointed with the tragic details of Sybella’s past as well as her difficult current assignment for the abbey. For some reason I just had a really hard time getting totally sucked in like I had with GM. I honestly feel like if I had read this as a hardcover instead of ebook, I would have had a better time with it. It sounds stupid, but I just felt like I was not making any progress with it on my Kindle (which is another reason I sometimes have a hard time reading ebooks) at a point where I felt a lot of reading pressure, and I really felt like it wasn’t fair to the book. Excuses aside, I still felt like I should have felt more enthralled than I was.

A few of my closest blogging friends absolutely loved this one, so I know it’s not that DARK TRIUMPH was a bad story — Aw hell, even I don’t think it was a bad story, BUT Sybella’s life is very different from Ismae’s. Once her life starts to intertwine with the fate of Beast (remember him? Duval’s light-hearted right hand man?), the reader can immediately see the potential for a romance there, but the romance just didn’t capture me as much as I had hoped it would. Since Sybella & Beast are quite different than our original romantic couple, Ismae & Duval, their relationship develops in a vastly different way and I felt developed even slower than the slow burn of the first book. I think I felt like it took a while for that romance to start and although I wasn’t keen on rushing it, I also think I needed a bit more of that earlier on to really tug on my heart strings and pull me in.

The other issue I had was the chase. Why is there always a chase in book two? WHY? Our beloved characters are on the run, fleeing injustice, hiding from bad guys, and camping in the woods… And clearly this is something in books I have come to loathe. I think it’s the act of not having a grounded setting? Maybe? I’m not 100% sure, but characters on the run creates a lot of action, but scenes that just don’t hold my attention. Unfortunately, this made up the first half of the book, so maybe that’s why it took me so long to get into DARK TRIUMPH.

All complaints aside, DARK TRIUMPH is another great addition to the collection of books that make up the HIS FAIR ASSASSIN trilogy. Robin LaFevers does a great job with this historical fiction (considering that’s not usually a genre I enjoy at all) and the language is easy to understand considering it’s written as the 15th century and there’s quite a bit of humor as well. Although book two didn’t quite sell me as much as I’d hoped, this was clearly a personal issue (stress? personal preference? Kindle?) and not a plot or character issue so I think GRAVE MERCY fans will still fall in love with DARK TRIUMPH!

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Sybella: Sybella definitely has a crazy and difficult life. Even after seeking shelter in the abbey, she still doesn’t quite fit in. She’s never been accepted wherever she goes, so it was really interesting to see her reactions to various predicaments in DT. I really enjoyed how different she was from Ismae and that Robin LaFevers was able to create such a different POV for the readers to follow and enjoy.
Beast: I’ve always loved Beast! He’s just so much fun, he’s honest, he’s fierce. Beast is a pleasure to read about and it was great to see his interactions and developing relationship with Sybella too. I was really glad we got to see him in the spotlight in DT!

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Buy it!

GRAVE MERCY is still my favorite so far but I really enjoyed DARK TRIUMPH as well! I think I need to re-read these books someday after they’ve sat for a while. I’d love to see how my feelings change or stay the same with a re-read!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE DARK TRIUMPH

     Grave Mercy      Born Wicked

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1) – Robin LaFevers

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1) – Robin LaFeversTitle: Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1) by Robin Lafevers
Publishing Info: April 3, 2012 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Source: Library
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Mythology, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: July 21, 2012
Related Posts: Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin #2), Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassin #3)

    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?

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GRAVE MERCY follows the story of Ismae who after escaping the terrible fate of an arranged marriage to an oaf of a man is delivered to the convent of St. Mortain, the patron saint of Death. There she learns how to fully embody her true calling as the daughter of Mortain and learn the ways of death from her fellow Sisters and nuns. Upon the abbess’s approval, Ismae is sent out on her first big mission to protect the duchess of Brittany and to assassinate any traitors to her beloved country. When Ismae gets tangled up in the people of the court of Brittany, she finds it more and more confusing on who to trust and how to best fulfill Mortain’s will with her own feelings mixed in, especially when that means possibly betrayal of a man she may be falling in love with.

Once again, this is a book I probably would not have picked up if it were not for the glowing reviews of my fellow bloggers. This is what makes me so glad that I started my blog and am able to find such great books out there that I never would have known about otherwise!

First off, I really loved that this story was about the handmaidens of Death, but somehow had a positive spin on it. It wasn’t sinister or cruel — Ismae and her fellow Sisters are trained to assassinate those who have been “marked” by Death himself and are only the vessels to carry out His will. These are the traitors, the brutes, the tyrants – All who are deserving to suffer Death’s revenge. And even still, the story takes on so much more than pure assassinations and executions.

I really enjoyed the character development. I was surprised to see more time spent developing the minor characters that were of questionable intent versus what we usually see of the minor characters as sidekicks to the heroes. But in a way, it was actually perfectly fitting to the story. We are dealing with royal politics here and there were many hidden motives and people not to be trusted!
My favorite thing, of course, was the development of Isame & Duval’s relationship. Duval seems like one of those guys who just gives you his crooked smile and has you instantly hooked! I love any love interest that is played off as sly, witty, and sarcastic, making our strong heroine question the “weakness” of falling in love and finally bringing down that wall. And we get all of that and so much more from Duval!
Ismae really reminded me a lot of Katsa from Graceling — They had very similar natural talents (killing, fighting, etc) and that sense of surprise when they find themselves falling for a guy! Silly girls. We all swoon – It’ll happen to you even if you’re a badass! I found myself making quite a few comparisons between these two awesome heroines.

I was really interested in the whole plot of the duchess Anne and how young she was (thirteen!), yet really stood her ground, knew her politics so well, and was the head authority of all of the court. Usually the side stories (or main stories I guess in this case…) about politics and warring strategies usually don’t interest me, but this was written extremely well and it really helped that we got to know Anne so well. If she wasn’t prominently featured in the book and we were hearing of her story from afar, I don’t think I would have enjoyed it as much. She brought a nice aspect to the story and made a good friend for Ismae and softened her character a bit as well.

I thought it was great how deeply the story really took us, constantly turning our loyalties as to who we could really trust. It was just such an interesting concept and a really original story that it really had me hooked. I couldn’t guess as to how it would finish!

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BUY IT!

Wow, I was so impressed by this book. It started off just a teensy bit slow but totally swept me away!

QUOTES

  • p 31: “Good intentions are only lies the weak tell themselves.”
  • p 161: “I kick my right foot out of the stirrup, swing my leg over the saddle, and send both feet into the face of my attacker.”
  • p 454: “Like the tumblers in a lock, my mind shifts and moves.”
  • p 549, Last line of the book: “For while I am Death’s daughter and walk in His dark shadow, surely the darkness can give way to the light sometimes.”

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE GRAVE MERCY