Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.
Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?
Kat Kennedy: So, Stephanie and I are meeting at the halfway point of our reading experience. The battle has been fierce! The violence…violency!
Stephanie Sinclair: Mighty! (Psst… Part 1 can be found here.)
Kat Kennedy: Yes! So, Steph, do you want to take it away with your impressions so far?
Stephanie Sinclair: I’m… a little bored.
Kat Kennedy: Oh dear, possum! Whatever could have occurred?
Stephanie Sinclair: At first I was really digging it, but I keep falling asleep.
Kat Kennedy: Not one for political intrigue?
Stephanie Sinclair: There is a lot of talky and no action.
Kat Kennedy: I’ll take that as a yes.
Stephanie Sinclair: Yes.
Kat Kennedy: You know, for a blood thirsty murder-nun of epic proportions… there aren’t a lot of people getting killed.
Stephanie Sinclair: I know! And the funny thing is the main character, Ismae, feels the same way! What’s that tell ya?
Kat Kennedy: Perhaps the author should have listened to her character!
Stephanie Sinclair: Me thinks so.
Kat Kennedy: There were some genuine moments when Ismae killing someone could have been a great moment for some comedic interludes. Like Duval getting angry at her for killing random #1 and trying to hide the body before anyone finds it.
Stephanie Sinclair: Right about now, I want her to murder a bunch of different characters.
Kat Kennedy: Sadly, I’m pretty sure I know who the bad guys are. And if I’m right, I’m going to be very upset.
Stephanie Sinclair: The abbey? <–Pfft! As if!
Kat Kennedy: SPOILERS Steph! We have to keep it a little vague!
Stephanie Sinclair: Oh, please. That is not a spoiler. Put that in the nifty spoiler block if you must. LOL.
Kat Kennedy: I’ll put you in the nifty spoiler block if you don’t behave.
Stephanie Sinclair: Well, what do you think of Duval?
Kat Kennedy: Ugh. So BLAH.
Stephanie Sinclair: Might as well get my block ready…
Kat Kennedy: Do you know what my problem is?
Stephanie Sinclair: He’s okay. I don’t hate him. I kind of like him for now. What?
Kat Kennedy: It feels like this book is just begging to be historical fiction.
Stephanie Sinclair: I thought it was…with a mix of fantasy?
Kat Kennedy: Sorry, I meant romance. Not fiction. This book is weeping in the corner because, even though it’s dressed as YA – it knows, everyone KNOWS that it’s historical romance.
Stephanie Sinclair: Well, it is based on real events and most of the characters were real life people. I did a little research. Google-Fu! Duval is a fictional character. ß She’s intentionally trying to make me look bad. Little Miss Google Kung Fu Master. *I iz jealous*
Kat Kennedy: I mean, genre wise. This book is a busty, ripped-shift, buxom romance that has been cleaned up, toned down and sold as YA.
Stephanie Sinclair: True. What could make it better for you?
Kat Kennedy: 1. Duval’s character be given more depth. Ismae has seen an improvement in my eyes because she’s not completely useless.
2. More action/killing stuff.
Stephanie Sinclair: Yes, more blood, please!
Kat Kennedy: 3. Better characterization over all with secondary characters.
4. NEEDS MORE BADASS.
Stephanie Sinclair: Hopefully, that will all be in the second half of the book, but if that’s true, I hate that we had to wait so long for it. I think the reason why we don’t know much about Duval is because he is trying to be secretive, though.
Kat Kennedy: That’s not my problem – I have no issues with not knowing a lot about Duval. But his characterization is atypical for historical romances. Alpha male, always right, at the heart of every intrigue, over-sexualized. It’s so samey.
Look, being so sexy and capable and brilliant that you’re occasionally abrupt and rude is not a character flaw.
Well, at least, it’s not a very good one.
Stephanie Sinclair: I see. I’m not really getting an alpha male vibe from him. But maybe that is because I’ve fallen asleep quite a few times and missed it entirely. hmmm…
Kat Kennedy: Okay, well, we’ll meet back one more time before we finish the book.
Stephanie Sinclair: IF we finish the book…
Kat Kennedy: I think the book, so far, is finishable. But so far it’s sitting on 2.5 stars.
Stephanie Sinclair: If I’m still falling asleep at 75%, I’m out.
Kat Kennedy: You have every right to do so. Of course, that will mean you forfeit the battle and I am declared immortal victor – but that’s all in the fine print.
Stephanie Sinclair: Whoa… Be easy. LOL.
Kat Kennedy: See you on the other side!