Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassin #3)
by Robin LaFevers
Summary: Annith has watched her gifted sisters at the convent come and go, carrying out their dark dealings in the name of St. Mortain, patiently awaiting her own turn to serve Death. But her worst fears are realized when she discovers she is being groomed by the abbess as a Seeress, to be forever sequestered in the rock and stone womb of the convent. Feeling sorely betrayed, Annith decides to strike out on her own.
She has spent her whole life training to be an assassin. Just because the convent has changed its mind doesn't mean she has…
Source: I purchased a copy for Kindle.
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Mortal Heart was amazing. It was a satisfying and action packed conclusion to the trilogy and had me on the edge of my seat. It was from Annith’s point of view as she was trapped in the convent, forced to stay behind while Ismae and Sybella left for their missions. As with the other books, I was hesitant to jump into a new perspective. I loved Sybella and I had my reservations about Annith. But as with the others, I realized just how much I loved the new perspective. Mortal Heart quickly became my favorite in the trilogy!
Annith was a complex character. She was never picked for missions, despite being trained as an assassin and excelling in just about every category. She completed every task well, even the minor ones. She’d grown up in the convent, but knew better than to blindly follow the leaders, as the first abbess was cruel to her. She spent time carefully eavesdropping, especially since she wasn’t receiving correspondence from Ismae and wanted to hear word of what was happening with the duchess.
When Annith ran away, she was faced with some pretty tough decisions and her journey after leaving helped shape her. She frequently questioned whether she was being selfish or if the convent was bending Mortain’s will into their own. She felt loyal to Mortain, regardless, but knew she was being suffocated in the convent. I loved the way she reflected and questioned her own motives. She was fierce and amazing, but those moments of reflection showed me that she cared a lot about doing the right thing.
Along her journey, she ended up riding with the hellequin, the scary riders of nightmares who hunt lost souls. I loved her adventures with them and the way it gave Annith some perspective. They weren’t the people of nightmares, but souls aching for redemption and escorting other lost souls to their resting place. I think Mortal Heart was so enjoyable to me because it dealt a lot more with Mortain and the idea of death. In most mythology, I’ve always sympathized with the god of Death because death isn’t necessarily a terrible and horrifying thing, but a necessary one and sometimes a good thing. He is not evil, merely doing his job and sometimes providing mercy. This book explored that concept a little more and I enjoyed that a lot.
I feel like I can’t give any more of the story away. Annith’s own adventures lead her to find out many truths about herself that she did not know before. She uncovered secrets about herself, the convent, and the gods themselves. She did reconnect with Ismae and Sybella and was crucial to coming up with a viable solution for the duchess. She grew so much from the beginning to the end and became my favorite character. The conclusion was satisfying, epic, and full of action.
I loved the way the author mixed true historical events, even details like the way Christianity was coming into the independent areas and how they were finding ways to include the old gods (such as making them Saints) to help convert the inhabitants, with a fantasy story full of supernatural elements on the same timeline. Any historical inaccuracies were pointed out in the author’s notes at the end and I was happy with how well it all blended together with the fantasy.
As a lover of history, fantasy, and mythology, the His Fair Assassin trilogy appealed to me and I highly recommend it. This is one of those young adult fantasies that I would recommend to people who might scoff at YA. It never lingers very long on the romance or the wants of the teenage narrator, but instead throws major obstacles in their way, along with the political plot. It’s a must read for any fantasy lover.
Labels: Fantasy, Review, YA