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Well, folks. Robin LaFevers has charmed me once again. After thoroughly enjoying Ismae’s growth in Grave Mercy and falling in love with Sybella in Dark Triumph, I had no doubt that Annith’s story was sure to reel me in. She had been this mysterious figure throughout the first two books that I was eager to learn more about, and DAMN. This GIRL.
One of the things I admire most about this series is that LaFevers has a way of gently pulling you so deep into a person’s life that you just can’t help but feel for them. Like, it’s so subtle and eloquent and masterfully done. As I began to learn about the secrets and circumstances of Annith’s past, my heart went through waves of indignation, sympathy, and admiration. You really do get to experience the utter frustration of her entire life, and then you understand some of her choices, and you also come to see what an incredibly strong person she is.
Aside from Annith and her growth throughout this book, I was delighted to encounter a handful of new characters and followers of some of the other nine old gods. Balthazar is clearly a favorite, and the Arduinites were a very welcome addition to the fold, much like the Charbonerie in Dark Triumph. It was also interesting to get to see a bit more from the Duchess’s perspective, and see what unfolded with her situation and her sick little sister.
I had the pleasure of meeting Robin LaFevers at a local author event, and she spoke a lot about her inspiration for this series. I didn’t realize that so much of the overall story was rooted in true events that happened to the folks in Brittany. Knowing that they did hold onto their old gods much longer than many other countries (as Christianity swept the world) was a fascinating revelation that made me love the tapestry LaFevers wove even more.
Mortal Heart is the perfect ending to this wonderful trilogy. The writing and the storytelling and the imagination throughout all three of these books are magnificent. Highly recommended.
Oh, and if you’re wondering: the narrator was really good. It’s funny that each narrator pronounced various names differently, but at this point I didn’t mind. The audiobook was a winner. (And yes, I bought the hardcover AND the audiobook. What can I say? I’m a super fan.)
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
My experience with Robin LaFevers's His Fair Assassin trilogy was rather mixed. So many people were raving about Grave Mercy when it came out, and I thought it was just okay. Then I read Dark Triumph and had a much better idea of what all the fuss was about. I loved Sybella's story, and it left me itching to read the final installment. Mortal Heart, however, was more in line with Grave Mercy than Dark Triumph for me. I'm as surprised as anyone to find that I loved Sybella's tale the most.
Mortal Heart is Annith's book. Annith, like her sisters, has been trained to be Mortain's assassin. We've had hints of her story in the last two installments. We knew, for example, that the Abbess wants her take over the role of seeress. For Annith, who has been itching to leave the convent and use her acquired skills, this is the last straw. She cannot be trapped at the convent forever. So she leaves under the cover of night.
The next part of the book was where it was a little slow for me. A series of events occur that don't seem to further the plot at all. (Eventually their importance will be realized, but at the time it was slow going.) However, once Annith reaches the Duchess, Sybella, and Isme secrets start to unravel one after another and things really pick up. And wow. Some of those secrets are pretty huge.
Mortal Heart has a lot of pieces to put together in order for the whole trilogy to make sense. I really enjoyed the intricacies of the world that Robin LaFevers created. The melding of the historical and the fantastical is quite well done. I loved reading about the Nine and their followers.
Also, I had been wondering from the beginning how LaFevers was going to bring historical figures Anne of Brittany and Charles of France together, as their countries were at war for the entire trilogy, but we know from history that they eventually must marry. (The answer: in a pretty fantastical manner.)
Overall, I'm not sad at all that I stuck with this trilogy. In the end, I think the pay off was worth it.