|My Rating: 4 stars|
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 is a world that the author animatedly brings to life, with vibrant characters, a detailed world, and a solid plot-line. Ismae is a strong character, not prone to trust easily (and with good reason), and has no issue seeing the fall of man (again, with good reason). This is a world where women are property--animate objects with no rights--and Ismae is given the opportunity to take control of her life. She also learns to control her life, and never uses death as a weapon or to avenge the wrongs done to her.
The plot is full of royal intrigue and deception and betrayal and lust for power. And while Ismae believes the convent's every word is gospel, there is a man, Duvall, who makes her question those in authority. He makes her question the direction of her life. And once again, Ismae takes control of her own life.
It's a good thing.
What the novel lacked, for me, was some kind of spark. It's weird, as much as I loved the concept and the writing and the story, there are others I like more. While I felt Ismae's drive for control and change, and I didn't quite feel her desire for Duvall. And I knew all along who the betrayer to the royal family was.
Despite this, I would highly recommend.