Going into this book I knew one thing about. Assassin Nuns. And, really, that’s all one needs to know.
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 loved Ismae’s strength and reliance on female friendships. When we get into the meat of the story she hasn’t seen a male for many years. And before meeting a certain male she didn’t feel the lack at all. She had her friends, her commitment to the cause, and her brewing of poisons. What more does a girl need?
Now, I’m not a fan of books that belittle men in order to empower women (I fully support that women can be very empowered without having to resort to belittling others. Even other women.) and the book looked like it was going to go that way at the beginning. It was quite a ways in before we met men of good character and strength and morals. But we do. And not just Duval, the main male of the piece, but others as well. Beast in particular. I really, really liked the glimpses we got of him and I’m hoping I’m reading things right and that he’s going to have a bigger role in the next book.
I loved how trust and caring built slowly between Ismae and Duval. I loved so much about their relationship. The late night chats, what everyone (especially Louyse) around them thought was going on. They were such independent, strong individuals that it was dratting cute when they were together.
The intrigue/mystery of the plot was good but not the best? Or, it wasn’t what I was interested in and I found it dragged a little in the middle. And then the ending was a little abrupt, which wouldn’t bother me at all in a normal series but as I know the next two books focus on Ismae’s friends…well, I hope they also address some questions brought up by Ismea about the convent and morality and such. I feel like we need to explore that more.
I’m eager for the next book, so much! And I’m really glad that I’m interested in the other characters. So often in these sorts of series, I read the latter books just to get glimpses of my favourite characters in the first book. I don’t think that will happen though.
Though I do hope we see more Ismae and Duval as I fell in love with them and their story and want nothing but good things for them. I hope they have a long future of kicking ass!