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- Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
- Publication date: 4/3/2012
- Pages: 560
- Source: eARC from NetGalley/ Publisher for review
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?
Once again trying to go a little beyond what I normally would read, I decided to try another Historical Fiction novel. I will start off by saying that history was not a topic I really enjoyed very much when I was in school. As an adult I have found I do enjoy it much more, but it's still not high on my like list. So that being said, when I do read novels that are based on historical times and events it is very hit or miss. This story is very heavy on the events happening at the time, but the writing was very wonderful and it kept me interested. There is a lot more going on the the historical events though. This book is full of secret, betrayal, romance, and murder. I eventually ended up doing a web search for the time period and gave myself a mini history lesson. I was able to really enjoy the book after that.
Ismae was awesome!! I loved her character. She has had a pretty rough life. I think that her rough life has made her tough. She has such a fierce personality. She also has some good humor too. I was cracking up at a few of the things that she said. I loved watching how she grows and changes through the book. Being a hand maiden of Death, she is all about destroying the people she is set out to get rid of. That is her purpose. She knows that she can not go against Death's orders. She must do his bidding. The longer she is at the heart of the situation in Brittany, the more she questions things. She knows that she must let Death guide her, but thinks that there may be other ways than to just kill out of vengeance.
Okay now onto Duval. Swoon-tastic!! He is just so great. As the story progresses I could not help but fall in love with him right along with Ismae. It was fantastic how their relationship progressed and developed. They go from reluctantly working together at a common goal, to slowly realizing that they have feelings for each other. It is a perfectly developed romance. No insta-love here, just a nice gradual build up.
If you love historical novels this is definitely a book for you. If I hadn't been so confused at first, and if historical was my thing I would totally have loved this book. I really enjoyed it, but it was a bit heavy on the history for me. I absolutely loved everything else about it though. Fantastic writing, kick ass female heroine, swoon worthy male love interest, and not to mention action and killing!! There are some really great twists to the story too. Now that I am more familiar with the time period and events, I am really looking forward to the next book Dark Triumph, which will be told from Sybella's POV. 3.5 out of 5 stars