Series: His Fair Assassin #3
Also in this series: Grave Mercy, Dark Triumph
Genres: Fantasy, Historical, Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on November 4, 2014
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Annith has watched her gifted sisters at the convent come and go, carrying out their dark dealings in the name of St. Mortain, patiently awaiting her own turn to serve Death. But her worst fears are realized when she discovers she is being groomed by the abbess as a Seeress, to be forever sequestered in the rock and stone womb of the convent. Feeling sorely betrayed, Annith decides to strike out on her own.
She has spent her whole life training to be an assassin. Just because the convent has changed its mind doesn't mean she has..
I don’t know if I can say that this was my favorite book of the series overall, but I think it probably was my favorite romance. The twist there just punches you in the face with awesomeness and I LOVED it.
Annith finds herself struggling with the Abbess and the convent, in a similar way that Ismae and Sybella did. I really liked Annith. She has a decidedly different journey than Ismae and Sybella, and we learn a lot about her rather terrible past, as she looks towards a bleak future. Deciding to take that future into her own hands, Annith ignores the Abbess’ command and leaves the convent. On her journey to confront the Abbess about her questionable behavior, she runs into a group of hellequin, who claim to be doing penance for deeds they did in their lives. Their leader, Balthazaar, takes a special interest in Annith, and she in him. Eventually Annith finds herself at Court, where France is just about taking over, and the duchess has run out of ideas to save her country. As Annith learns dark secrets about her past, she comes up with an insane idea ( with Balthazaar’s help) that may just save them all.
Like I said, I adored the romance in this book. Balthazaar is dark, tortured, and Annith finds him irresistible. AND THEN THE TWIST. I won’t give it away, but you guys, I loved it. As with the other books in this series, the romance is supplemental, since the plot is driven by court politics. We’ve really reached the boiling point in relations with France, and by the end of the book, either everyone is going to die, or they’re going to reach some sort of agreement. This makes for a tense and incredibly fast-paced plot.
I felt like there was a little more focus on the Nine and the stories about the old gods in this one, since Annith has been raised in it her whole life, and she saw Mortain when she was a little girl. We get some pretty justice for those who deserve it. And in some ways, I’m glad the poor Duchess doesn’t suddenly have some perfect beau who loves her, and that she does what is best for her country, since that’s what Monarchs had to do. It felt more realistic (albeit still unpleasant by modern standards).
Anyway, I still think Annith and Balthazaar are my favorite couple in this glorious series. Which is saying a lot because I absolutely adore Ismae and Duval and Sybella and Beast. I was so glad all of them showed up quite a bit in Mortal Heart. They are such interesting and different characters, and it was fascinating to see Annith noting the changes that had come over her friends since she’d seen them last.
Robin LaFevers, feel free to write more books in this world. Seriously.