Book: Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers
Series: His Fair Assassin #3
Publisher: HMH Books For Young Readers
Date Published: November 4th, 2014
Date Started: November 29th, 2015
Date Finished: December 6th, 2015
Other Books Reviewed: Grave Mercy, Dark Triumph
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…
I read this with Nina over at Words That Flow Like Water for the Quarterly Book Club. If you haven’t joined yet, come check out what we have to offer! We’ve got lots of good changes coming and plenty of challenges to participate in!
One of the things that I loved about the His Fair Assassin series is how much history is infused into the story. This story is based off of real history with a bit of supernatural built into it. I love this because it makes the history I love to research come alive in a different way. I have always felt drawn into this series because I loved the world building based off the history with a hint of supernatural. However, in Mortal Heart, it seems that the supernatural has fully taken over the story and I’m not quite sure how I feel about that.
In the previous two books, it always seemed like there was this conspiracy building up, but it was never quite the right time to reveal the full truth behind that conspiracy. Everything was intertwined and the story needed to be revealed in layers, and finally it all came unraveling in Mortal Heart. In fact, the whole story seemed to be just about this conspiracy. Which I know it relates to the politics and everything, but there were times when I wished it didn’t quite take over the story so much. This book was all about Annith, which makes sense considering its told from her point of view, but in the previous two books, The Duchess had a much bigger presence. I wanted more of The Duchess. I wanted more of Ismae, Duval, Beast, Sybella, etc. They seemed to be almost absent from the book minus a few parts. It just made me wish for the same sort of story from the other two books.
The supernatural seemed to have taken over the story in Mortal Heart from the beginning. We are introduced to the Hellequin, who hunt down lost souls and transport them to their final destination. Their presence is almost constant throughout the book, so it doesn’t feel like the history and politics with a bit of supernatural. It felt like supernatural with a bit of history and politics. I kept getting this feeling that the history aspect was running out and the supernatural was used to fill in the gaps that were getting wider and wider as you get closer to the end of the book. It made me miss the politics, all the intrigue, all the mystery, betrayal, all the things that you get with a royal court at war.
There were times when the story felt predictable. There were times when I made a prediction in the first 25% of the book that came true in the last 25%. I didn’t feel like I was on my toes with this story, and I don’t think its the fact that I’ve studied this particular time in history before. It was the supernatural aspect that was predictable. The ending was lacking as well. I just didn’t feel satisfied with what happened in the end. I wanted something more, and I expected something much bigger to happen at the end. Grave Mercy and Dark Triumph had explosive endings that were a bit messy, so I kind of expected the same sort of ending for Mortal Heart. Instead, we got an ending that tied everything up with a little bow on top.
Overall, this was an ending that I liked, but I wasn’t in love with it. I wanted more of those feelings that I had when I read Grave Mercy and Dark Triumph. I still think that Mortal Heart was a great book, and definitely worth reading. It takes the story to a different place that I didn’t think would happen. As a lover of history, I definitely recommend this one!