Parents' Guide to

Grave Mercy: His Fair Assassin, Book 1

By Karen Wirsing, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Violent tale of assassin nun seeking revenge on men.

Grave Mercy: His Fair Assassin, Book 1 Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 1 parent review

age 15+


I'm not sure the reviewer has the "sexual content" right....there was quite a bit more than she described. (I'll add it to the end of my review) Ismae was strong, smart, fierce, brave, selfless, and loyal. She had a hard life growing up, so she was a hard person to befriend, but once she trusted you, she would do anything for you. She actually reminded me a lot of Katsa from Graceling. Something I really appreciated about her was her personal character development. She grew and changed a lot during this book, and that’s something I love. This is absolutely my favorite type of romance to read. I mean, yes, we all know that Duval and Ismae are going to end up falling for each other, but it is so awesome to watch it slowly happen. I love it when characters start out with suspicion, and trust issues with each other, and have to work to overcome their prejudices over time. It just adds so much tension, frustration, and eventually satisfaction to a romance. I just couldn’t ask for more! It was almost like taking Katsa from Graceling and Brigan from Fire and watching them fall for each other. Who needs a love triangle when there’s this much tension?! I have to say; there are some that this book won’t appeal to. I thought it was pretty mature for YA, so those looking for a quick or light read won’t find it here. There are also some religious happenings that some might be uncomfortable with, which I’ll add more about in the content review. That being said, if you like high fantasy, historical fiction, court intrigue, fighting, romance, suspense and mystery, I think you’ll love this book. When I finished reading it, I just sat there and sighed and wanted to start reading it again! So, I'd say that if you like this type of book at all, you will definitely love this book. If you've never tried historical fiction, or high fantasy, you should give this one a shot. I seriously loved this book so much! Profanity: Multiple uses of D*mn a** & b*stard used literally (donkey & illegitimate child) Sexual Content: The book opens with her getting married, then her husband orders her to the bedroom where he hits her and tells her to undress. She worries about what it will be like, but when he sees her scars, he beats her instead of sleeping with her. The Sisters teach Ismae how to use her "womanly charms" to distract men so she can kill them. She is dressed provocatively and they talk of putting rouge on her nipples just in case a man gets close enough to see them. There's quite a bit of talk of seducing men in order to do "Death's" bidding. Ismae sometimes acts like she's interested in men sexually in order to kill them. Ismae is thought to be Duval's mistress/lover. Duval's housemaid sees blood on the sheets and assumes that Duval and Ismae are sleeping together. She tells Ismae that it won't always hurt. Ismae and Duval fall in love, and kiss many times. Ismae decides to "lay" with Duval, and is nervous because she has never laid with a man before. They have sex, not descriptive. Violence: Her father is abusive Her husband beats her severely Ismae and the other girls at the convent are trained how to kill men, those whom "Death" has decided should die. Many ways of killing are described. Ismae kills multiple people on the convent's orders, people who are traitors or are trying to kill the queen. Ismae is repeatedly attacked and sometimes wounded. Battles where many are killed, mention of blood and death. Other Ismae was sired by the god of death. The minor gods are called saints, but they are worshiped and prayed to. Ismae is taken in by Nuns in a convent that worship and work for Death. They kill people they believe Death wants them to kill. Ismae can talk to the souls of the dead.
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Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1):
Kids say (8):

GRAVE MERCY is a wonderfully written novel that pulls readers into medieval France, specifically Brittany, with descriptive scenes of palaces, towns, and village people. Although the plotline (revenge-seeking woman becomes man killer) will attract some feminists, others may find it a bit overdone.

But the story is entertaining and filled with accurate historical details. The characters are likable and complex, and fans will be glad to know the book ends with the possibility of introducing a love story in the second installment.

Book Details

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