Grave Mercy by R.L. LaFevers
Yes, Ismae is wearing a fancy gown, but it makes sense, because she lives in the end of the 1400s, and most of the book is spent at a ducal court. Also, it’s very pretty; she looks badass, and she has all parts of her body! I call this a win.
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?
Assassin nuns! ‘Nuff said.
Real historical figures! With real historical facts about their lives and actions!
YMMV, but I love me some fictional court intrigue.
The trend for kickass female heroes gains one more success with Grave Mercy. I stayed up most of the night with this one! Ismae is awesome. She doesn’t always do the right thing, but she is always badass. One small nitpick I had: I wish the reader could have seen a little more of the assassin’s training which Ismae went through in the text, but Grave Mercy is already long for a YA novel, so I understand that there were probably space issues. In general, I’m a bit over the first person present tense, but once the story started flowing (about the 5th page), it didn’t stop, which is just the situation when FPP works. Also, if this is the kind of thing that sways you, O Reader, the romance in GM was one of the hottest I’ve read in a long time.