Y'ALL HAVE TO READ THIS IF YOU ARE READING THIS BOOK. SEXUAL CONTENT IS EXTREMELY PROMINENT. I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE this book, and it is one of the most time-worthy reads I have ever devoured. BUT readers need to know, seduction is the main element used by the assassins to trick the men so they can get close enough to kill them. Sister Beatriz discusses rouging Ismae's *cough cough* so as to complete her rouse as a coquette noblewoman. Discussion of making a poison that will "make a man's member shrivel and fall off." The tubers and roots used to make this poison are described as looking like said body part. Ismae describes hearing her father at night and calls him "loud". Blood from a wound is seen on sheets by a maid who assumes is Ismae's from her first encounters with intercourse. Ismae "lies with" Duval, and they kiss passionately (with tongue), encounters that are described as "lusty". Ismae sleeps with Duval to absorb poison from him, because she is immune, thus taking it out of him and deluding it to harmlessness. It isn't loveless sex though. The reason Ismae does it is because she loves Duval, and has to save him. She wasn't instructed by the convent to do it, it was of her own accord and decision. So I guess you could say the method in which she saved him had its... perks. My goodness that sounded terrible, but it's true. So this book IS romance. It is not "foreshadowing for the second novel" it is a passionate love story with physical encounters. And the rape scene was not even remotely as disturbing as this review makes it out to be. Violence with minor gore. The horse was not "stabbed and killed", it was a bloodless death to spare her the long agonizing death of poison. The knife used had the power to kill with a simple cut, so that is all that was used. Drinking of wine and men are often drunk. A poison makes a man appear to be in a "wine-sodden sleep". Also, its take on religion is unique. They worship the "saints", whose descriptions remind me of the way the Greek gods were worshiped. This is quite possibly the best book you will ever read, so I highly highly highly highly recommend you read it! Just wanted to give you the heads up that this review failed to do!