Source: E-book from Netgalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in exchange for an honest review. This in no way alters my opinion or review.
I also bought the Audible copy.
Series: His Fair Assassin #2
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: April 2, 2013
When Sybella arrived at the doorstep of St Mortain half mad with grief and despair the convent were only too happy to offer her refuge - but at a price. The sisters of this convent serve Death, and with Sybella naturally skilled in both the arts of death and seduction, she could become one of their most dangerous weapons.
But her assassin's skills are little comfort when the convent returns her to the life that nearly drove her mad. Her father's rage and brutality are terrifying, and her brother's love is equally monstrous. But when Sybella discovers an unexpected ally she discovers that a daughter of Death may find something other than vengeance to live for...
This book has been sitting in my Netgalley list for longer than I like to admit, but I finally got around to reading book 1 and was glad that I had this sitting there. I thought that I would need to read book 1 in order to get into this book, and yes it is very helpful for the backstory but realistically you can read this book without having read the first in the series.
This book follows Sybella, another assassin from the convent of Mortain, as she is embedding the the evil deeds of her family and others who oppose the Dutchess. She does everything in her power to help but it is a slippery slope between helping the cause and death.
I enjoyed Ismae's story in Grave Mercy very much, I liked her as a character, I also enjoyed how she interacted with others, but I really loved how broken Sybella is and how she struggles with her past and her future and how she comes to know herself and her place in the world. I think that where book one was a lot of politics and world building this book took the time to really delve into the main character and the reader is able to feel the pain and suffering and yearning Sybella has. She is mean and raunchy but soft and innocent all at the same time.
This story follows where the last one left off, so it is a continuation overall but like I mentioned you don't need to read book one to understand everything that is going on. However there are a lot of politics in that book and they are helpful - so it is up to you. The books are both very lengthy at about 550 pages each or 13-14 hours as audiobooks.
The series is wonderful though. They are mature young adult books with a lot of hard topics these girls face including death, killing, politics/ places of women, and rape and incest. So be prepared for a lot if you plan on reading the series.