Series: His Fair Assassin #3
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on November 4th, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Young Adult
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...
Wow. Just wow. I loved Grave Mercy and Dark Triumph, so my expectations for Mortal Heart were understandably high. But it met them. Exceptionally well. This is one of the best series conclusions I have ever read, and the series as a whole has forever gained a place on my favorites shelf.
Mortal Heart tells Annith’s story. Annith is quite different from Ismae and Sybella. She’s more innocent and sheltered, mostly because of the convent’s refusal to send her out on a mission. She’s a super hard worker though and has gained skills beyond any of the other novitiates. As such, she’s desperate to prove her worth and find out why she’s being held back. When the abbess tries to make her the next Seeress, leaving her locked up in the convent for the rest of her life, she decides to go out on her own.
I have so much respect for Annith. Honestly, I love Ismae and Sybella too, but Annith’s hardworking and curious nature and thirst to prove herself just got to me. That voice came to life on page 1 and completely sucked me into her story. And what a story it is! She faces her doubts about her faith in the gods and in the convent, finds out so much more about the world of the Breton gods, finds out about her own identity, and finally at court helps to find a way to end the French threat on Brittany. This girl goes from here to there and never backs down from a challenge, though she may feel insecure at times because she hasn’t been granted the opportunities that the others have. And there were some shocking plot twists. Honestly, there were reveals that made my jaw drop. This story was just awesome.
But, you know where it’s at for me: the romance. Like the other books, the romance isn’t the focal point in this novel, but the ship is breathtaking. When Annith first flees from the convent, she encounters the dark, mysterious hellequin, Balthazaar. She fears the hellequin, who work for Mortain and could be hunting for her in retribution for running from the convent. But Balthazaar watches over her as she travels with them for a while. He’s the strong and silent type – he’s moody and distant, but honestly, those first scenes just set my heart on fire. The chemistry was instantaneous and amazing. Honestly, LaFevers knows what she’s doing with her romances.
Aside from that, Mortal Heart also focused far more on explaining this world. What had been a bit vague and glossed over in the previous books suddenly became a vivid and engrossing, original world that I was completely enthralled by. The role of the gods in Brittany, their relationships with each other, the human followers each of them have acquired, and the purpose and history of the convent are all explained. And I just loved it. All of it. I can’t even really think of anything else to say.
And I just love how this ties in to the actual history of the time period. LaFevers does take some liberties here and there – obviously, it’s not historical fantasy for nothing – which she explains in detail in her author’s note. But the story feels authentic and blends almost seamlessly into the truth. It really brought to life a segment of history that I knew next to nothing about, and I just love that.