In fifteenth century Brittany, Ismae is whisked away to the convent of St. Mortain, the old god of Death, in order to escape an unwanted marriage. A sad, weak girl, her life is transformed. There, she discovers she is a daughter of Mortain and is trained to be an assassin that does Mortain’s will. In a period of tensions with France, not to mention political tumult and intrigue, Ismae is sent to court to spy on Duval, a young man whose loyalty to the duchess Anne is sorely questioned. However, Ismae is not prepared for the challenges she finds at court. Can she triumph?
I actually liked this book more than I thought I would. La Fevers is very good at writing exciting action scenes, and the book moved really quickly, in my opinion. Additionally, I liked the concept behind St. Mortain. The idea of an old death god being transformed into a saint in order for worship to continue was a fascinating one to me–I had hoped that more would have been done with that. I also overall liked the character of Ismae: she was both average and highly skilled–I found myself wishing I knew all of those assassins’ skills. I could relate to her well, and I liked her exploration of her faith and values. She was the most rounded-out of the characters, with the possible exception of Duval. I liked Duval because he was so smart and determined, although I did not feel I always had the best sense of him.
I did not care for the ending. At one point, Duval gets poisoned, and Ismae is able to save him. However, I did not care for the solution that presented itself. For one thing, it didn’t make a lot of sense to make it as sexual as La Fevers did. Wouldn’t it make more sense to just touch him? I guess I did not fully understand the mechanics. It also personally made me a little uncomfortable, but it may not bother another reader.
Overall, I would say that this book is not for everyone, but I think it would appeal to older teen readers and above. If you or somebody you know like wild historical-fantasy, then this is the book for you.