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?
- Goodreads Synopsis
This book follows a girl named Ismae, she has lived a horrible life. She was being abused by everyone around her, and she was being abused long before she came out of her mothers womb. Her mother tried to poison her while she was still in the womb which left a scar on her. I honestly thought that, that was such a sick thing to do to their own child. No one was ever kind to Ismae, it is mentioned in the book that her Father was always upset when Ismae was happy or showed any signs of happiness.
The poison that was used on Ismae was Herbwich poison which was used to try to expel Ismae out of her mothers womb. Somehow Ismae survived which they say is a miracle as most children who have been poisoned never survived. I believe her mother died after the birth, her father actually beat her while she was on the bed. It was never mentioned if she died but there are hints that she did. That topic wasn't really touched on. I wish we did get to read more about her mother.
When you first start reading,one of the first things mentioned is the arranged marriage with a man named Gullio. Gullio payed her parents three silver coins for her, not to save her or because he loves her. I am sure most of knows that in Medieval times, the only thing that most men wanted was sex from women, causing them to rape and abuse them. That is one of the first things that we see in the first few chapters. Ismae is sold to this man she doesn't know and the first thing he asks her to do is to take off her clothes. As Iread this scene, I was so disgusted at this man. Ismae was abused her whole life, and this man was continuing the abuse, he could at least treat her with a little respect which is impossible for a man who only wants pleasure from a woman.
As this scene goes on, Ismae tries to escape Gullio but he ends up ripping her clothes off and seeing the giant scar that was left on her shoulder. I already had so much hate for this man and he had to make it worse. He is so turned off by this scar that he throws her into a shed and locks her in it. Not to mention he is also angry over being scammed by her father.
After all of that drama, someone actually comes to rescue her. It is a priest, he takes her to the convent where she will be trained to become an assasin. This was one of the few things that got really interested in this book. When she first gets there they poison her wine, and we find out that she is imune to poison which is why she survived being poisoned in the womb.
At this convent, they train death's daughters, the ones who are sired by death. They worship a god named Mortain. I started having doubts about these women who worshiped this god. I was beginning to think that they were crazy and that being at the convent wasn't a good thing. An interesting thing about Ismae is that she has gifts, being immune to poisons which is rare and she has the ability to tell when somebody is going to die. When I read that she had that ability, I thought of Lydia being the Banshee in Teen Wolf.
So one of the problems that I had with this book is that I felt that it lacked character growth. I personally love getting to see a character grow from a very weak character to a very strong character. We didn't really get to see any character growth in Ismae. It seemed that she was sent to convent as a weak helpless girl and then after a few pages she is a skilled assassin who could seduce a man and then kill him. We never got to see her struggle with the tests or her training, in my opinion that's what makes character growth so special is that you get to follow a characters journey throughout the book.
Another problem I had with this book is that it was very slow paced in the beginning but so much stuff happened. I found it a little hard to read this book because it was slow paced but there is also so much world building and there is so much that you need to know, there is so much detail. It is a little hard to keep track of, so I found myself getting a little confused at some places.
This book is actually incredibly unique and whenever there is a unique book it has a unique world and background. The only consequence of having something unique is that it can sometimes get complicated and difficult to understand. If you get past all of those things, this book will be very enjoyable and I know that I enjoyed this book.
I highly recommend that you read this book if you haven't already. If you haven't, I may have just spoiled you on a lot of things but those things shouldn't get in the way of you reading this book. It is so unique and original and I would rate it a 4 out of 5 stars.
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