I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.
I just ate this story up with a spoon.
Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain. Here she learns that she is the daughter of the god of Death Himself. If she chooses to stay, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. 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.
I'll admit this has sat on my TBR pile for awhile as I was a bit shy about starting such a thick YA book. But once I picked it up I was loathe to put it back down again. I'm usually a character driven reader; I can put up with a lot if I connect with the characters. But I can't say it was the characters that drew me deeply into the book. I liked them, don't get me wrong. Ismae, Gavriel, The Beast, Anne - all of them characters you want to see come out all right. But here, it was the story, the palace intrigue, the writing, that sucked me in well and good. I know absolutely nothing about the time period this book takes place in, so I wasn't burdened with knowing whether or not there's any realism, or whether any research was done. I was just along for the ride.
I didn't give the book 5 stars because in a sea of villains, it was still obvious to me who the ultimate traitor was. It didn't in any way hamper my true enjoyment of the book, but it felt like the author could have hidden the clues a bit better. I suspect I'm also not the books target audience so perhaps I'm being too harsh a judge.
Grave Mercy is YA really only in the sense that the MC is a 17 year-old. The writing is oblique enough that I still can't figure out if anyone was getting lucky or not, so I guess someone could argue that makes it more "age-appropriate'. Although that someone wouldn't be me.
If you enjoy historicals, and a bit of mythology this is a book that might be worth checking into.