I received this galley in consideration for an honest review.Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers
Series: His Fair Assassin #3
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on November 4, 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Fantasy
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..
I remember getting an ARC of book one in this series and thinking that it would be another historical fantasy, but what I got was a book that was well researched with characters that were interesting and told a story with basis in actual history. Now that I am writing the review of book three, I am still just as in love with this series as I was with Grave Mercy. Mortal Heart tells the story of Annith, who stands out because she was brought to the convent as an infant, so her back story is within the stone walls that have kept bad things out, but have also kept her in. Her biggest wish is to be sent out on an assignment, and as she watches Sybella and Ismae fulfill their destinies, she takes matters into her own hands, which is where the adventure begins. This book is very much about taking your future into your own hands, and the struggle between destiny and self-direction seemed to run heavily through this story. Annith is one of the toughest characters I have ever read. Her childhood at the convent was extremely harsh, but it has only made her more determined to succeed. I think that many readers will love that about her, as I did.
The story itself overlaps with the the other two books, so we do get to see Ismae and Sybella from Annith’s point of view, which is another great aspect of Mortal Heart. However, Annith’s story has some pretty shocking twists, two to be exact, and I did not see them coming, at all. Things get pretty bleak for the Bretons, and the political intrigue combined with the battle scenes make for excellent pacing and a story that I wanted to both savor and read as quickly as I could. I think the only thing that didn’t quite connect for me was the romance. On many levels, I loved it. It was, well…romantic, and fit well into the story, combining otherworldly story elements with the historical truth behind Brittany’s fight for independence. On the other hand, aspects of the romance (I can’t go into details because of spoilers) just felt a little weird. It also felt a little forced and seemed extremely convenient at the end. That being said, it was a small issue for me and, overall, this book was amazing. I can think of very few series out there that so artfully combine real history with fantasy and kick-ass heroines that seem like real people. If you have been on the fence about starting this series, consider this review your push. I am only sorry that it had to end.