Category Archives: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review: Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release date: April 3, 2012
Source: Purchased
Series: His Fair Assassin #1

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 have never had a 500+ page book read so fast. This book was a masterpiece. T he only thing I didn’t like about it was that we didn’t get to see Sybella and Annith hardly at all, but I think that’s because each of them will have their own book in the series. Robin LeFevers’ Grave Mercy is for young adults what Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel series is for adults. Deeply cunning, pieced together masterfully. I could not put this book down.

The people in this book were astounding. Gavriel Duval is one of the most yummy male characters in books today. I loved how there was instant animosity between him and Ismae, and then they grew slowly to have feelings for each other. Ismae was awesome as well. Strong and definitely able to think for herself, I love what she chooses it in the end. I would have loved to have seen more of Gavriel’s men, de Lornay and Beast because they made every part they were in fun to read. I love when supporting characters are just as developed as main characters and they definitely added to the enjoyment of this book.

The first chapter or two probably my least favorite, but necessary in setting up this story. After that though once this beast of a book gets moving, it doesn’t stop. Despite how big it is, it never once slowed or got boring. In fact I wouldn’t have minded it being just a tad bit bigger if we could have had more romantic scenes between Ismae and Gavriel. The story itself is just mindblowingly good. It always amazes me when I read stories with such deep laid conspiracies, and I’m never able to figure them out until thing are revealed. I like when I can’t figure it out, though some people might be able to predict what will happen.

Grave Mercy is pretty much perfect, for me. This is definitely taking the spot for favorite read of 2012 so far. If you like historical fiction in general, but loved the original Kushiel trilogy by Jacqueline Carey, Grave Mercy is definitely for you.

Lost Voices by Sarah Porter

Lost Voices by Sarah Porter
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release: July 4, 2011
Source: NetGalley
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from HMH website:

Fourteen-year-old Luce has had a tough life, but she reaches the depths of despair when she is assaulted and left on the cliffs outside of a grim, gray Alaskan fishing village. She expects to die when she tumbles into the icy waves below, but instead undergoes an astonishing transformation and becomes a mermaid. A tribe of mermaids finds Luce and welcomes her in—all of them, like her, lost girls who surrendered their humanity in the darkest moments of their lives. Luce is thrilled with her new life until she discovers the catch: the mermaids feel an uncontrollable desire to drown seafarers, using their enchanted voices to lure ships into the rocks. Luce possesses an extraordinary singing talent, which makes her important to the tribe—she may even have a shot at becoming their queen. However her struggle to retain her humanity puts her at odds with her new friends. Will Luce be pressured into committing mass murder?
My Review:
I hadn’t read any mermaid fiction before, so I when I saw this book I was so excited.

We’re introduced to Luce, who lost her mom very young, and later her dad to the sea. She now lives with her uncle and is an outcast at school. Personally, I felt that no reason was given for Luce being an outcast, other than her father disappearing at sea, which I would think would be an unfortunate, but common occurance where they live. I feel that little point was thrown in there and then forgotten.

I had some small issues with a few of the characters. I felt there was no need for Jenna at all once Anais had arrived. Luce, while I loved her, seemed a tad bit more mature than your average 14 year-old. And Catarina, hot or cold, you didn’t know what to expect with her. I would’ve liked her backstory earlier so I could’ve understood her better, instead of at the very end.

The writing style of this author is beautiful. I loved the descriptions she gives of the different tail colors, of what the water does while Luce sings. Overall I really liked this book, quite possibly enough that I’ll buy it after it’s released. I am definitely looking forward to the next book in this trilogy.

My first review for the Story Siren’s Debut Author 2011 Challenge!