I LOVED the first two books in this series — teen assassin nuns who dedicated their lives to being Death’s handmaidens! I waited for a year for the third and final book, Mortal Heart. It has been on my wish list before it even had a name or cover. I was twitchy with anticipation and could not settle into any book in the twenty four hours leading up to its release. I pre purchased and watched the clock roll over to midnight and then watched my Kindle app. And then it was here and . . . I was kind of disappointed. Ah, well, the end of this series didn’t live up to my expectations, but it didn’t crash and burn like Allegiant, either.
The first two books in this series are amazing. I loved both Grave Mercy and Dark Triumph, and I highly recommend both of them to anyone who enjoys a good female assassin tale. I was so excited to start this, the third in the series, as this author really reved up the writing in the second book and . . . Annith finally got her adventure, . . . but it just wasn’t what I wanted. Fans of the series will want to read this final installment in the His Fair Assassin’s series, but they might be surprised by what they get. While the book finishes out the fate of the Royal family and many of our favorite characters are seen fleetingly, this book felt very different. I think the primary change was the underlying threat to Annith seemed so much more distant than for previous protagonists. While the other two were positioned in situations taunt with tension and betrayal, Annith had much less urgency in her mission. The brief time she had to walk carefully around her traveling companions was the best part of this one. I also found that every twist and turn was obvious to me long before the reveal– every single one! I always got a nice, unexpected twist with this series in the past, so I was rather disappointed that I puzzled out all of them chapters in advance. This did nicely conclude the series, leaving me with no unpleasant loose threads. I was happy with the book overall, but I do think it is the weakest one. I would still recommend the book because it is well written and has a lot to offer ya readers. It is already ordered for my classroom library and there is already a wait list! I hope for another series from this author soon.
This book begins with Ismae being taken out of her miserable existence and place for training as a Daughter of Mortain, or Death. As a daughter, she learns she has a gift, an immunity to poisons, and she is trained to assassinate people who have been marked for death. While initially eager to perform her duties, Ismae begins to question some of the orders she receives. I enjoyed this book immensely. I love girl assassins and Ismae is one of my favorites. The cast of secondary characters is also engaging, and I really felt heartbroken and frightened for them all throughout the book. While I do not have a lot of knowledge about this time and place in history, I quickly picked up on he political situations and customs. There is a nicely developed romance for the protagonist that young adult readers will appreciate. If you like medieval settings and female protagonists who have to develop maturity, this is a good selection. Language is appropriate for all ages but there are some sexual references that make me recommend it for grade 9+. It is in my classroom library and I frequently recommend it to fans of Maria V. Snyder’s Poison Study series and Throne of Glass readers. Few readers ever return it displeased.
This is the second in the series and it follows Sybella, the broken and possibly unbalanced assassin readers briefly glimpsed in Grave Mercy. Dark and tense, this book kept me unsettled until the end. The tension was high as Sybella is placed on an assignment that threatens her at every turn. She cannot trust anyone even when she wants to. There were several twists in the plot and I enjoyed a few surprises. The romance is interesting and seemingly doomed from the start by all the secrets and lies wrapped tight around the protagonist. I think this is my favorite of the series. While I’m sure others find flaws, I can’t get enough of Mortain’s daughters. Grave Mercy and Dark Triumph are frequent recommendations in my classroom library and my tenth grader girls are big fans. Language is appropriate for all ages, but some mature content makes this a 9th grade and up book in my opinion.