Author: Tricia Levenseller
Published: February 26, 2019
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
How do you kill a god?
As her father’s chosen heir, eighteen-year-old Rasmira has trained her whole life to become a warrior and lead her village. But when her coming-of-age trial is sabotaged and she fails the test, her father banishes her to the monster-filled wilderness with an impossible quest: To win back her honor, she must kill the oppressive god who claims tribute from the villages each year—or die trying.
This is a great, simple fantasy story and I really enjoyed it. In a world of the same YA fantasy themes flying around, reading something unique is a treat. This book is a treat. There weren’t too many bells and whistles and that’s something I like about it. I also enjoyed the practicality of the details.
When Rasmira is sent into exile with an impossible task, she never once questions whether or not she can do it. She observed the problem with intelligence and objectivity. She is the perfect combination of faith and fact. My only real issue with the story is her absolute obsession with boys! I get it, she’s a teenager, of course she’s gonna be looking at boys. My issue is that in the middle of her life falling apart, an impossible task in front of her, her very survival at stake, all she can think about is boys.
Fortunately, Levenseller spins that obsession into a more selfless practicality; unfortunately, there was enough of the annoying stuff to affect my rating. I will say that this is a very good book for high schoolers and I think even those who don’t like reading would probably like this story. Very good good and a beautiful cover!
Today Kim is reviewing His Fair Assassin Trilogy by Robin LaFevers. She rated this series 4 stars.
Books in the Series:
Published: April 3, 2012
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?
Published: April 2, 2013
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?
Published: November 4, 2014
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
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.
Author: Pam Jenoff
Published: September 22, 2016
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
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.
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.