Release Date: April 3, 2012
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Series: His Fair Assassins #1
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Summary: Why by the sheep, when you can be the wolf?My Favorite Line(s): They are more one-liners than usual. Short and sweet, but they just make me go O_O.
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 stole her heart?
"Remember, true faith never comes without anguish"Why I Loved It: There were so many reasons to love the book. It was a great historical fiction novel, complete with the unique twist of assassin nuns. I mean really? How awesome does that sound?
"Surely He does not give us hearts so we can spend our lives ignoring them."
"There is no shame is scars, Ismae"
Ismae was such a relatable character for me. There were so many times in the book that I wanted to yell at her to be human, to let herself have a heart, to not listen to others. Even in the midst of my frustration, I totally understood her actions. Whether or not we have a past blemished with deep, scarring pain, we can understand the need for acceptance and loyalty to love. When the convent gives Ismae a place of refuge from the abuse of her home and arranged marriage, she becomes fiercely loyal to the convent and the saint they serve even if it means ignoring her heart.
Duval is what kept me reading though. The book was long, and I had very little time to read this week. I couldn't close the book on Duval though. Who is this fine character, you ask? Well he is the man who Ismae can't afford to love, but can't stop herself either. She was assigned to play the role of his mistress. Ismae sees Duval as a cold man with a very macho exterior. However, Ismae comes to see with time that Duval cares very much for his family, particularly his sister, and is willing to risk all for the good of his country. There is no love at first sight kinda thing going in this book. It is a true romance that grows and blossoms as trust forms and both Duval and Ismae look past what they want to see to what truly lies in each heart. The romance makes you want to never put down the book.
I loved the language style that truly feels like a time of duchesses and knights and battles on horseback. The characters were so well created and presented that I feel as if I have made friends through the book. In the high courts of Brittany, Ismae finds that she doesn't know who she can trust. Treachery lies in every corner.
I loved every bit of it. I was there with Ismae as she learned the difference between vengeance and mercy, what love truly means, and as she fought to protect those that mattered most. If you choose to read the book, which you should, you will be pushed and pulled as Ismae protects the country and tries to find the ultimate traitor among a sea of treachery. Really, it could be anybody. Even those she trusts most.
Who Should Read It: If you love historical fiction, stories with strong female leads, deliciously romantic love stories, and have a weakness for castles and royalty, I'd recommend the book.