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?
I picked up this book when I was suffering a book hangover after Throne of Glass. I wanted a deadly young assassin, a tough female lead that can stand up for herself, and I got it. It was nowhere near as fabulous as the Throne of Glass books, but then again those are a tough act to follow. But it was definitely worth the read.
After escaping her brutal father and an arranged marriage in a village that shunned her Ismae is taken in by the convent of Saint Mortain (Death). She finally gets to learned how to protect herself so that no man will treat her the way they have all her life. I really loved watching her character go from the scared broken young girl, to the beautiful, deadly assassin. She overcomes her past and develops even further. Seriously, the character development in this book is superb, none of those dull simple characters that never learn from their mistakes or develop any further. I liked characters to be constantly pushed and challenged, to grow from their experience and use it.
The writing was excellent, simple, engaging and beautiful. And I loved the court setting, it gave the book an historical fiction feel. The dresses, the intrigue, the lies and false politeness, it was all very tense.
And Duval, I very much liked him. With his eyes the colour of storm clouds he definitely made it onto my book boyfriends list, not the top of the list but definitely on there. The romance in the book was very well done, not too much that it overpowered everything else but enough tense little romantic scenes that I was very content. (I do love love love a tense romance). I love Ismae’s name, Ismae Rienne. ooooh. Im glad she wasn’t called something overused and dull. The other characters were all good too, The Duchess Anne and her little sister were a couple of my favourites, I love how strong Anne was even when dealing with everything she must at such a young age. I also loved Beast, so much fun.
So overall, I wasn’t blown away by this book but I did enjoy it. If YA / fantasy / historical fiction with assassins and poisons and daughters of Death sound like your thing then definitely give this ago. It sort of reminds me of a combination of Throne of Glass and Poison Study, so I’ll definitely give the next book in the series a go!
Let me know your thoughts! x x