Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on Apr 3, 2012
Genres: High Fantasy, Historical fiction, YA
Format: eBook from Library
Find the book: Amazon, Goodreads
“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?
This book is well worth the considerable hype it has gotten. Assassin nuns are definitely worth read.
I found that although this is classified as YA, it’s definitely on the older end of that scale, almost an adult read. I would describe it as a historical romance with healthy helping of spy action. I was disappointed that the spy training was skipped, and that the actual assassin action took a back seat to the romance story, but at least the romance was sweet and well written.
Gavriel is a gentleman and a good match for Ismae. He is both aggravating and sweet and there is a good mix of love/hate between the pair. I found Ismae herself to be a bit standoffish and hard to really get into, but her story is quite entertaining.
My favourite character was the Beast. I really wanted him to be more in the story, especially since Ismae seemed to immediately strike up a friendship with him. They were delightful entertaining together, and I wanted more of that.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to either older teens or adult readers. It was exciting and fun and I can’t wait for the second book.