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?
I’ve said before, this seems to be the year of the re-reads for me. Well, I picked this one up again because 1: I remember really enjoying it 2: because I decided to finally start reading the second one in the series and wanted a refresher on the world.
I really enjoyed this book. As opposed to a lot of my goodreads friends who were a little disappointed that there wasn’t as much ass kickery as they had been hoping for, I enjoyed the psychological warfare that the plot centered around. Not knowing who to trust, learning that those who end up untrustworthy don’t have wholly malicious motives, learning to trust yourself in the judging of those around you. I loved how much Ismae grew into her own in this book, and that won me over.
The relationship between she and Duval was fun to watch as well. They started as unwilling allies, but as they worked together more it was evident how great of a team they made and so cute watching them subtly falling in love. However, their romance never became overwhelming or detracted from the overall plots going on around them and they both were solely focused on protecting their duchess and their kingdom, which I really appreciated.
I also really enjoyed watching Ismae’s relationship with death evolve. Given the questions that Duval and her time at court raised, she learned to look at death through her own eyes and not depend completely on the convent and the sisters interpretation of Mortain. It was interesting watching as she learned more about Mortain and his motives, her own gifts, and how she then chose to serve both herself and Mortain.
I will say though, the one issue I had with this book (and one I noticed again in the second) is that there is never a description of the main character. All I really had to go on was the picture on the cover of the book and vague references.