After her father arranges a marriage to a horrible man, 17-year-old Ismae escapes and is taken in by a convent, where the sisters serve St. Mortain. They train women to be assassins for the God of Death. Do I have you yet? Keep reading.
Over the years, Ismae is trained to kill those that St. Mortain decides are no longer worthy of life and she's proud of her job and the life she leads. She's strong in both physicality and her beliefs. When given an assignment inside the court of Brittany, Ismae doesn't trust anyone, including Duval, a man she was taught to despise. As the book progresses we watch the characters each learn more about themselves and each, leading to trust and deeper bonds. We experience, as they do.
There's violence in this historical fantasy, but it's done in such a beautiful way. You feel Ismae's emotions as she's forced to kill and can almost see the fights happening while you're reading about them. The details are almost as important as the characters, planting the reader smack dab in this time period, and the ability of the author to make you believe in what Ismae is experiencing is top notch.
I loved the dabbling of truth to the story...real characters, real issues back hundreds of years ago, mixed with the belief in a God of death, the convent, some magical elements etc. It made the fiction seem as real as it could possibly get and allowed the visualization of the setting and time period to be
Both Duval and Ismae were perfectly done characters in terms of leaving me caring about both of them, even when I had no idea who was good and who was bad. I love that! I love to keep guessing during a story, never knowing where it will go.
This was the book to kick me out of a reading slump. I read it slowly, savoring the setting, details, and fabulous characters. I highly recommend it in all of it's 520+ pages and can't wait until the next one comes out. Easily would recommend to adults, as well. Well done, Robin LaFevers!