Tag: Historical Fiction

Sunday Series Review: His Fair Assassin Trilogy by Robin LaFevers

Today Kim is reviewing His Fair Assassin Trilogy by Robin LaFevers. She rated this series 4 stars.

Books in the Series:
Grave Mercy
Dark Triumph
Mortal Heart


Grave Mercy
Published: April 3, 2012
549 Pages

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?

Dark Triumph
Published: April 2, 2013
385 Pages

I lean forward, pushing my body out past the battlements. The wind plucks at my cloak, buffets against me, as if it would carry me off in flight, just like the birds or the knight’s soul. Let go, it cries, I will take you far, far away. I want to laugh at the exhilarating feeling, I will catch you, it whistles seductively.

The convent has returned Sybella to a life that nearly drove her mad. Her father’s rage and brutality are terrifying, and her brother’s love is equally monstrous. When she discovers an unexpected ally imprisoned in the dungeons, will a a daughter of Death find something other than vengeance to live for?

Mortal Heart
Published: November 4, 2014
444 Pages

Annith has watched her gifted sisters at the convent come and go, carrying out their dark dealings in the name of St. Mortain, patiently awaiting her own turn to serve Death. But her worst fears are realized when she discovers she is being groomed by the abbess as a Seeress, to be forever sequestered in the rock and stone womb of the convent. Feeling sorely betrayed, Annith decides to strike out on her own.

She has spent her whole life training to be an assassin. Just because the convent has changed its mind doesn’t mean she has…


Kim’s Rating of the Series: 4 stars

Kim’s Review:

This series is awesome! I got Grave Mercy while I was on vacation in the Outer Banks, at the amazing Buxton Village Books. The cover is beautiful and the story is unique. LaFevers combined history with a little fantasy, yet it all still felt realistic, like it all actually happened that way. The convent of St. Mortain was fascinating. I doubt I would make a good assassin, but I would go to the convent!

The main characters, Ismae, Sybella, and Annith are all likable and relatable. Of them all, I think my favorite is Ismae. She is the main character in Grave Mercy and the first of the assassins that I got to know. She embraces everything with grace and her abilities are the most interesting. Her story sets the tone and standard for the rest of the series.  I’ll admit that when I started reading book two, Dark Triumph, I was a little worried that the story was starting to get predictable. Thankfully, the further I read, the less predictable it was. Sybella’s story was definitely the most surprising and Annith’s romance came out of nowhere!

So, each book has its own merit. And each one is very good and worth reading. I did read them separately, with a couple of books between so any predictability was staved off really well. The men were all great as well. I don’t want to take about them in too much detail because I don’t want to give anything away, but I will say that I was crushing on each of them as I was reading. Fictional boyfriends are all part of my nerd life, and I regret nothing!

Overall, this was an excellent series, with engaging characters and fascinating circumstances. This is also a great series for older teens.

Purchase Links to the Series:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

 

The Kommandant’s Girl by Pam Jenoff

Author: Pam Jenoff
Published: September 22, 2016
395 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating:  4 stars

Book Description:

Nineteen-year-old Emma Bau has been married only three weeks when Nazi tanks thunder into her native Poland. Within days Emma’s husband, Jacob, is forced to disappear underground, leaving her imprisoned within the city’s decrepit, moldering Jewish ghetto. But then, in the dead of night, the resistance smuggles her out. Taken to Krakow to live with Jacob’s Catholic aunt, Krysia, Emma takes on a new identity as Anna Lipowski, a gentile.


Emma’s already precarious situation is complicated by her introduction to Kommandant Richwalder, a high-ranking Nazi official who hires her to work as his assistant. Urged by the resistance to use her position to access details of the Nazi occupation, Emma must compromise her safety—and her marriage vows—in order to help Jacob’s cause. As the atrocities of war intensify, so does Emma’s relationship with the Kommandant, building to a climax that will risk not only her double life, but also the lives of those she loves.

Kim’s Review:

Y’all know I’m all about WWII fiction. I saw this on sale and jumped at it. I’ve never read Jenoff before so I was excited to read a new author. Overall, I liked this book. It’s not really a plot driven book, definitely all about the characters and philosophy. I liked the premise of looking at the ethics of many of the Resistance members’ actions throughout the war. It’s an interesting perspective that not everyone thinks about.

On the other side though, I think “hindsight is 20/20” actually hurts the story. Most of the time when Emma questions herself and her actions, I was sitting there condemning her indecision because why wouldn’t you do everything possible to defeat the Nazis?? But the more I read, the better it got. But having said that, I don’t know if single people would react the same way that attached people would. I can definitely say that if I didn’t know Ivan and I was single, I would totally have been harder on Emma. Get your feelings under control girl and do your job! But reading it as a married chick who is completely in love with her husband, the lines were blurrier.

Basically this book is one big ethical dilemma that will certainly keep you thinking, even after you finish it. And that’s why I gave it a higher rating than I was initially thinking. A good historical fiction book with interesting and relatable philosophizing thrown in.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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The Broken Girls

Author: Simone St. James
Published: March 20, 2018
336 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

Vermont, 1950. There’s a place for the girls whom no one wants–the troublemakers, the illegitimate, the too smart for their own good. It’s called Idlewild Hall. And in the small town where it’s located, there are rumors that the boarding school is haunted. Four roommates bond over their whispered fears, their budding friendship blossoming–until one of them mysteriously disappears. . . .

Vermont, 2014. As much as she’s tried, journalist Fiona Sheridan cannot stop revisiting the events surrounding her older sister’s death. Twenty years ago, her body was found lying in the overgrown fields near the ruins of Idlewild Hall. And though her sister’s boyfriend was tried and convicted of murder, Fiona can’t shake the suspicion that something was never right about the case.

When Fiona discovers that Idlewild Hall is being restored by an anonymous benefactor, she decides to write a story about it. But a shocking discovery during the renovations will link the loss of her sister to secrets that were meant to stay hidden in the past–and a voice that won’t be silenced. . . .

Kim’s Review

The Broken Girls has been on my list for quite some time. My birthday was the perfect excuse to get it, so I did. St. James has this wonderful knack for subtlety that just slides under the radar and then once all the anticipation and creepiness builds up, it hits you and then you have to sleep with the lights on. But first, what drew me in was Idlewild Hall. I wish I had an abandoned, haunted girls school in my town. I’d be there all the time! I liked the students and the bonds they formed with each other, despite their skepticism about life.

St. James weaved so many emotions and situations into the story, that at first, the plot seemed to be all over the place. Then, by the end, everything had unraveled and everything was put in its place and made sense. The present tense story line was interesting and had plenty of twists and turns. My one issue and the reason I gave 4 stars, was Fiona’s obsession over her sister’s death. The problem was that they had already convicted someone for her death and he was in prison, so it wasn’t like there was no closure. It just got tiresome after a while. But other than that, this book was a chilling, emotional read that had me in goosebumps. Every thread was tied and the ending was satisfying and complete. I definitely recommend it!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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