Author: Robin LaFevers
Series: His Fair Assassin #1
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Date: April 2012
Genres: Historical Fiction
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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?
The first thing that everyone says about this book is ‘assassin nuns’! Well, I’m going to say much the same, because guess what, assassin nuns are cool. In this YA historical fiction, we get a smartly-plotted tale that handles murder and treason as well as honour and romance.
The book lived up to its fantastic premise: set in the duchy of Brittany in the Middle Ages, it follows the story of Ismae, as she seeks sanctuary at the convent of St. Mortain. Unlike most girls, Ismae, a daughter of Death, has been blessed with the power to resist poisons and unlike normal convents, St. Mortain trains its girls to be assassins. There was humorous irony in the fact that a convent was teaching the arts of killing and seduction, but the author does such a great job with the authenticity of her historical setting that it was believable. LaFevers also managed to make the fantasy elements sit comfortably within the time period as an old religion serving old gods, which lent a sense of realism to the story.