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?
I don't care what anyone says, assassins nuns are awesome. This is one of the most amazing premises in YA this year, and it totally lived up to my expectations.
My phone memo that I made whilst reading this book says:
- Assassin nuns - yes!
- Ismae is kick ass yet naive woohoo!
- Duval = sexy, stoic but caring.
- Anne-Mature for age but too mature???
- Easy politics - YAY!
- Long never bored...
- GASP DEATH! D:
- OMG TWIST... shocker.
To be honest I don't know what half of that is meant to mean... but I so agree with the top one: Assassin nuns are awesome, I could write a whole review on how amazing assassin nuns are. I love how kick-ass Ismae was (I love that name too!), she's a woman who could kill a man in a zillion different ways but when it comes to matters of the heart she is so innocent it's cute, much like Katsa of Graceling (my all time fave YA protagonist). The love interest, Duval is also amazing and has almost topped my list of smexy book guys (Valek still holds that honour, sorry Duval!). As I pointed out in my notes up there, Duval is stoic and tough,, a bit of an enigma for much of the book, but he is also caring and tough and puts the safety of the young Duchess, Anne above his own. The romance between these two is absolutely fantastic, there is no insta-luv, it's a very cold relationship to start with but you can see it develop. I loved it, and wow, Duval made me swoon!
The backing characters are also uber awesome, I loved Anne, the young Duchess to be, though she did seem a little mature for her young age. I also absolutely ADORED The Beast and I am so hoping to see more of him in the sequel.
I loved the storyline too, it was gripping with mystery and intrigue and a teensy bit of paranormal, but the politics were simple and I didn't find myself confused at all (I'm simple minded...).
Look, I'm not going to go on for hours about how awesome this is... just read it and see for yourself.
Overall Rating: A+
Released April 3rd 2012 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Book bought by myself