Unexpected Circumstances: The Handmaid

The Handmaid by Shay Savage

I think the only reason I couldn’t finish this book in one afternoon was my work schedule. I didn’t very much like that.

I’m no stranger to books that can be red non-stop through, nor have a problem with short books, and I’m definitely no stranger to Shay’s way to take you all the way through  story in segments without feeling like you stopped to change books.

The problem I had with the Handmaid was the fact that it felt more like a long prologue or a first chapter than like a whole story. There was really nothing going on there. You are barely starting to get  feel for what’s going on and who these character are, when the book is suddenly over.

I felt cheated. Of course, I’m going to read the whole series, but this one really felt like it could have come in a single book. 2/5

Beyond that, I couldn’t tell you much. I am intrigued, and you can definitely see some sexy moments coming your way… but nothing much has happened yet.

 

Odd one out

4/5

Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers

This might not have been my favorite among the three books that make the whole series, His Fair Assassin, but it was undoubtedly very good and a fair ending.

Ismae‘s story has much political intrigue, and a sense of  self-discovery and finding your our strength.  She’s manages to find herself and her faith, outside of the boundaries of the into tutor hat has fostered her for years. Unlike that, Sybella‘s story was more about family intrigue and the capacity of depravity mankind can reach, about finding peace and love when you have suffered much. She finds her own capacity for love, honest and devoted faith, and even manages to learn to thrust others.

Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers

Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers

This story though, Anneth‘s, felt completely different.

We got a completely different love story, deeper and more complex. And more family drama instead of intrigue… But here was also less action.

This story felt slower.

With Dark Triumph, I couldn’t stop. I simply couldn’t get it out of my head that something dramatic and game changing could happened at any moment, but Mortal Heart had more waiting periods when nothing happened. We even got some implied and not-so-implied time jumps!

I think I’m more a fan of stories that happen quickly with a somewhat fast pace. The times of introspection where Anneth‘s debates what she’s feeling and what could thing possibly mean, drove me a bit crazy… But it all helps to separate clearly and definitely the three girls and their distinct personalities and backgrounds.

One of he things that I definitely loved about this third and last part of the series is the presence of Death as main character. We had had glimpses of him before, when he shows himself to Ismae and the to Sybella. These ARE his daughters after all. His presence has been implied and hinted at. He was a real entity in the background for most of the first two books, but now we got to really know him and understand him. He is more than just a silent shadow, he is almost a man. That was one of my favorite parts in the whole series.

How can I not be totally intrigued and besotted with stories that give flesh, mind and heart to mysterious and incomprehensible ideas as Death itself? Right?

The Claw, the Wing and the Smoke

2/5

Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George

After a painful beginning, the middle has ok. It wasn’t until two thirds of the way in that things started to get exciting, and then it was over.

I was honestly, quite disappointed with this books. After The Shadow Queen, and in between chapter of Dark Triumph, the introduction of the characters felt way too slow, and annoyingly meaningless.

Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George

There were people and events that were only talked about, but never fully explained nor recounted. I think adding characters or happening to a story, when these don’t affect or have any bearing I the plot is a waste of book pages; and this was specially true for Silver in the Blood. 

The idea behind all the parts and details I didn’t like, was quite intriguing. Two girls who come face to face with a family legacy that they were completely unaware of, and a ruthless grandmother who rules the family clan as it were a cult… It could have been an awesome book.

But, it wasn’t.

SPOILER ALERT

The shy and self-conscious girl finds herself with knowledge of her new power, but the strong willed one just crumbles? That felt weird. And then, just when you think she’s gone pull out of it whe her situation gets a bit more dire… She gets all meek and catatonic?

It wasn’t until the last moment when we got to see Dacia finally own up to her new power and status within he wolf pack, but by then, LouLou was now the week one.

And then! That so called confrontation with their grandmothers! That was totally disappointing. Inspected more backbone and maybe for the two girls to bring the family together. The fact that Grandmother dearest got to get away with half the family made everything else feel meaningless.

Seriously. There were many things I didn’t enjoy about this book, I could rant for a long time.

Death’s Justice

5/5

Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers

 

This is book number two for His Fair Assassin, and it has been a while since I read the first one, Grave Mercy.

I remember in general way what the first one was about… There were three girls, daughter of Death himself, trained as assassins in order to serve their father; there was a loyal man who falls I love with one of Death’s handmaidens; there’s also a child Duchness being forced into marriage with a horrible man, and a plot to make it so.

It wasn’t until I was well into the story of this second part that I realized that I might be in serious need of a character chart. There are just so many names!! And most of them, in French!! It wasn’t so difficult to keep track of who were the good one and who the bad ones… But Imdo have to put to the record how difficult it was for me to keep the names straight,

Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers

Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers

Even so, that doesn’t deter for the story one bit. It was amazing.

We don’t get to hear much about Isme, the main character form the first book, not about her budding love story wint he bastard brother of the Duchness… Instead, we get to know Cibela, another one of Death’s daughters. The darker one…

And it is heartbreakingly sad and tender and the same time.

While the first girl we met was soft of heart and only seemed to help others, this one is more violent and full of hate. Cibela had a horrible, horrible upbringing at the hands of s monstrous man who stops at nothing in order to pursue his ambition.

The more horrible things we learn about this man, the clearer it becomes why and how is hat Cibela has come to be who she is, and what led her to the convent that was to give her new purpose.

It is a wonderfully told tale of violence, intrigue, human cruelty, loyalty and deliverance. It was non-stop action, only interrupted by moments where you could see our main character grow and transform. I simply loved this book, and cannot wait to get to know the third  and last of Death’s daughters.

Death’s handmaiden 

Death’s handmaiden 

Remember that taste for darkness I’ve talked about? The one that never really takes me where I think it ought to…

It’s happened again with Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers. I don’t even remember when and where I came across this book. It  has been sitting on my shelf for a while now.

I only remember reading the small summary and being completely intrigued by the idea of a convent that serves the God of Death. Who wouldn’t be, right?

Honestly, I was not disappointed. While the story wasn’t what I was expecting, the convent in itself was pretty cool, even when we don’t really get to know as much about it as I would have wanted. A house full of the daughters of Death. I wish we could have gotten more of an inside as what was that like, but I understand that is not really a part of the story.

Death, love and courtly intrigue aside, I think this story is about finding your own way through things. Or maybe that is what I can relate the most to.

Among all the plots and mysteries to unravel, Isame struggles to reconcile what she feels in her heart and what her convent tells her is the truth.

Being one that understand the great effort and constant battle that means believing in something that doesn’t aligned with what you have been taught all your life, I can really relate to her struggle.

She finally realizes that being faithful and loyal to her God and to her convent may as well be two different things. I felt that was evidence of her maturing though the whole “save-the-duchess-from-all-her-enemies” deal.

True, there is not much complication to the supposed machinations that surround the Duchness. I don’t know if it was my absolute mistrust of all male figures after that beginning, or if it was really that obvious… But there was no mystery to the traitors for me.

I saw a lot of bad reviews for this book online, and it is true that it might never be considered a work of art, but it was a good read. People like me that read just for the enjoyment of reading, then it is a good book. I might even go for the next two books of the series.

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