Thursday, May 23, 2013

Bookanistas: GRAVE MERCY by Robin LaFevers

Plot without spoilers... Isme escapes a cruel destiny as the purchased wife of a village brute by being delivered to a mysterious and secret convent wherein girls are raised as "Handmaidens of Death." There she finds companionship and dark purpose. Then she is sent into the world of 15th century noble court on a mission to protect, Anne, the young heir to the throne of Brittany. Her guise? Mistress to Anne's illegitimate brother, Duval. Her challenge: Is Duval the traitor the convent leaders suspect him to be? Or is the guidance the nuns are receiving from Mortain, the saint of death, the thing that is not what it seems.

Of literary merit...I had the pleasure of hearing Robin LaFever's speak about PACING at the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrator's Western Washington Chapter's annual conference last month. Her presentation was full of understanding, encouragement, precision and knowledge from both her research on craft and her own experience. After her talk, I ran to the conference bookstore and purchased Grave Mercy to "read her technique in action." Not only is the novel a lively and engrossing read, it is a lesson in exquisite pacing. From plots to subplots (the plight of Duchess Anne, the evolving relationship between Isme and Duval, the secrets of Isme's childhood), from character development (the charming Beast, the frail Isabeau) to the question of larger themes (can death be both a curse or a gift; how can be loyal to an oath in the face of love), the book artfully interweaves romance, mystery and adventure. Perhaps most impressive of all, LaFevers gives readers a richly satisfying conclusion along with a winsome invitation to the next book in her Fair Assasins series.

Finally, just gotta say... Here is an instance where the girl-in-the-red-dress cover totally works. It is arresting and, for me, captures the spirit of the novel. LaFevers joins Katherine Longshore on my list of "authors who are persuading me that historical fiction totally rocks"!

Click on for more Bookanista fun this fine Thursday.

Elana Johson is enthralled by CROWN OF EMBERS by Rae Carson

Christine Fonseca  adores DEAD SILENCE by Kimberly Derting

Corrine Jackson revels in ALONG FOR THE RIDE by Sara Dessen

Katy Upperman is charmed by QUINTANA OF CHARYN by Melina Marchetta

Kimberly Sabatini is touched by TARNISH by Katherine Longshore

Lenore Appelhans  loves The Originals by Cat Patrick 

1 comment:

SEO in Colorado Springs said...

I've been seeing this one around a lot on the blog world. It sounds like something my mom would love. I might have to get it for her.