Series: His Fair Assassin #1
Published by Houghton Mifflin (4.3.2012)
Genres: Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Format: eARC, 564 pages
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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?
Things I did not like about this book:
1. The politics. Good Lord, I was so bored by this part that I had random and merciless attacks of narcolepsy. I didn’t give a damn what was happening in the Duchies or with France so I couldn’t get interested. If I saw that the paragraph was getting into politics, I skimmed. And because of that, I didn’t really know what the hell was going on.
2. The characters. a) There were far too many and I just couldn’t keep up with which baron was which and who was bad and who was good. The names were just a jumble of capitalized words and I had no picture in my head of what anyone looked like because the book didn’t even bother with an introduction before moving on to the next name. b) They had no depth at all. They all seemed robotic to me, without any personality to speak of. The main character, Ismae, was especially uninteresting and uninspiring.
3. The prose. It was dry and flat and seemed rather sophomoric to me. It bored me almost as much as the politics did. I couldn’t conjure up any feeling or excitement at all for anything because of it.
4. The sex. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind sex in the least bit. But I really don’t see how this was labeled as YA. There was way too much talk about women’s “charms” – aka THEIR BREASTS- and seducing men. Also, how come every man she meets is a chauvinist pig who just wants to beat and rape her (except Duval)? I mean, I understand it’s historical and women didn’t have any rights, but come on.
Things I did like:
1. Assassin nuns. Come on, how awesometastic is that?!
2. The idea. I loved the whole ‘daughter of Death’ thing involving Mortain and how the traitors were ‘marqued.’ That could have made for a great story. Could have.
Thanks for the frank review. I picked this up as an ARC as well, and have not yet tried it. I do like historical fiction, but to a point. I will give it a ‘go’ and see if I can make it passed the first 200 pages.