At first, I didn’t particularly like Grave Mercy. It rubbed me the wrong way for some reason that I can’t put my finger on exactly. Maybe it was because I didn’t like the main character, Ismae, in the beginning. She irritated me. However, just before I reached the half way point, I become enthralled in the story. There’s a little mystery mixed in that holds your attention and keeps you guessing. I began to care for the characters and longed, as they did, for a good resolution. When the book was over, there was a little pang in my heart and I realized that I really enjoyed Grave Mercy after all.
Ismae is an assassin trained by the sisters of the convent of St. Mortain, known also as the God of Death. She is skilled in poisons, fighting, and weapons but could use some improvement in courting. After proving herself a worthy and loyal assassin, she is sent on assignment to protect the Duchess of Brittany while pretending to be the girlfriend of Duval, the Duchess’ half-brother. The convent believes Duval is deceiving the Duchess and they have arranged for Ismae to monitor him while fulfilling her other mission. Her assignment is complicated by the etiquette and procedures of the high court not to mention the deceit and treachery that takes place within it’s walls. On top that, Ismae develops unexpected feelings for Duval that conflict with the convents orders. Who is she to follow, her trusted sisters of St. Mortain or her heart?
As I said earlier, the beginning of the book didn’t appeal to me so much. There was a lot of emphasis on death and at times felt like the characters worshiped it. I like assassin tales, but this was too much to me. Then the story picked up and I could see the author spinning in a moral that redeemed the earlier focus on death. Ismae began to second guess killing others and started wondering if forgiveness was an option instead of death. This scored points with me as I don’t like heartless killers. When Ismae reaches this revelation, she turns into a new character who is even more formidable than before.
Additionally, Grave Mercy is more than just an assassin novel. It is also an historical fiction novel with a touch of romance. The historal fiction part was truly interesting and is actually what made me perk up and start really paying attention to the story. Also, the author doesn’t hit you over the head with a lovey-dovey romance. Instead, the Ismae and Duval grow independently while working together to protect the Duchess. Slowly their romance unfolds and when it comes to fruition, it’s sweet and heart warming. It’s just right for the story too.
Despite being skeptical at first, I ended up really liking Grave Mercy. It’s a well crafted story and I have plans to read the next one as soon as it comes out. I recommend it and encourage others to push past the beginning even if gives them trouble.
Pandemonium had a completely different feel than Delirium, the first book in the series. The story, all told from Lena’s perspective, alternates between different times. This was a little jarring to me in the beginning but I eventually got the hang of it. That aside, I loved it. Couldn’t put it down. Ate it up with a spoon. It Leaves you on a total cliffhanger too. The kind that makes you scream, “WHY DO I HAVE TO WAIT ANOTHER YEAR FOR THE NEXT ONE?! AHH!” So. Good.
Contrary to Delirium, Lena is a little more rough around the edges in Pandemonium. After escaping from the police in Delirium, she is now on the run and fighting for her survival in the ‘wilds,’ as it’s called in the series. On top of that, she is recovering from the abrupt separation from Alex, the boy she loved so much that she ran away from everything she knew. She meets up with a resistance group living in the wilds. The story switches between Lena finding her way to the group and living with them to a future time when she is a member of the resistance.
Pandemonium is definitely grittier than Delirium. There is way more action and conflict. Alternating from Lena’s past and present kept the pace moving and made the book completely unpredictable. I really had no idea what was going to happen and this made the book difficult to put down. Out of the two books, I still think I liked Delirium more, but Pandemonium is still fantastic. It’s just different than the first.
I will leave this review short and simple because I know readers of Delirium will pick up Pandemonium at break neck speed. I know I did. If you haven’t read Delirium, you should.
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