Have you been thinking that there are not enough young adult novels out there about nuns who kill people in the name of the god of death? Well then, I have the book for you! But seriously, I really enjoyed Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers, and it’s lots of fun to tell people that you’re reading about assassin nuns.
Set in Brittany (now part of France) in the 1400s, the story follows Ismae, a teenage girl who is saved from an abusive father and an arranged marriage by joining a convent dedicated to Mortain, the god of death. And this convent teaches it’s novices some very specific skills, training them to be sent out into the world to kill those people marked by Mortain for death.
This was clearly published in the wake of The Hunger Games and Divergent and all those other teenage dystopian future series (this is the first in what looks like a planned trilogy), and it feels very much like those books. But if you’re a little sick of dystopian futures, like I am, this offers a nice twist by being set in the past. And while there is a bit of the magic/supernatural happening with the god of death and all, it’s really mostly a historical novel about life in medieval Europe. It featured a little more political intrigue than I would have preferred (However will the Duchess keep her crown? I don’t really care all that much!) but it also had adventure, romance, and strong female characters with a lot of agency. And it sure wasn’t like anything else I’ve read lately.
Kinsey’s Three Word Review: Dramatic, historical, romantic.
You might also like: Scott Westerfeld’s Pretties/Uglies series. Those are set in the future, but the books felt very similar. And I consider those really fun books, so.