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My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Book Review: Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers

Please Note:  I am part of the Amazon Affiliate program.  If you use the links on this page to buy the book, I will get a small fee.  This did not influence the opinions of my review in any way.

Synopsis (From Goodreads):
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...


Review:
Mortal Heart, by Robin LaFevers, caps the trilogy of books know as His Fair Assassins.   This series has all the elements I love in books:  Historical setting, palace intrigue, love, and magic.  For lovers of the series, this is also a deeply satisfying novel.  Many of the mysteries that have lingered through the previous two books are revealed, while also leaving open the possibility of more stories from these characters in the future.

What I Liked:
Historical Setting:
I love that the political situations in the trilogy are based on historical facts happening in fifteenth century Brittany.  At the time, Brittany was a small independent kingdom with vastly different traditions, and religion from France.  France struggled for years to absorb Brittany into its nation, and finally saw its chance when Duke Francis II died and left Brittany to his twelve year-old daughter.  The author uses these facts, especially about how different the religious practices were in Brittany, to produce a rich tapestry.

Palace Intrigue:
The twists and turns of events in this book were fun and easy to understand, thanks to the author's careful use of exposition.  Without feeling like I was in a history class, I quickly got the gist of the action.  The tension as France maneuvers Brittany into a corner is like a chess match.  And I felt the unease along with the characters as I could see what was coming.

Love Story:
Annith is the final of the three assassins to go out into the world, and I rooted for her to find happiness.  She is attracted to the enigmatic leader of the Hellequin, Balthazaar.  He is charged with collecting souls for the Underworld, but could he be hunting Annith, as well?  And is he even human?  I loved their story of love and acceptance.

Magical/Mystical Elements:
There are magical/mystical elements to the story, but they are used sparingly.  Given that the tale is set in a real time and place, the strategic use of these elements is much more plausible.  We learn more about Mortain himself, and see how the characters view Death.  The meaning of death is evolving from being a part of the cycle of life to something to be feared.  How will the old gods fit in to the "new" religion of Catholicism?  These were wonderful parts of this book.

I highly recommend this series for anyone who loves historical fiction, with a bit of mysticism thrown in.  With love, intrigue, and a huge cast of characters, this is a world you will want to dive into head first!  

                                   


Rating: 




Release Date:  November 4th, 2014

Genre:  YA Historical Fantasy

Publisher:  HMH Books for Young Readers

Page Length:  444 Pages

Source:  Public Library

Format:  Hardcover Book

Recommendation:  A satisfying culmination for this series.  Start with the first book for maximum enjoyment.

 
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