First Lines: I did not arrive at the convent of Saint Mortain some green stripling. By the time I was sent there, my death count numbered three, and I had had two lovers besides.
If there are two things I like, it’s historical fictions and fiery heroines. And this had both. I really loved the first book in this series (which features a different heroine), so when I saw this on the shelf, I knew I had to grab it.
Life has treated Sybella like a chewed and spit out piece of meat. Full of despair and grief, she finds herself at the convent of Saint Mortain, looking for refuge. And they are more than happy to keep her, provided she becomes one of them: a handmaiden to Death. Sybella’s naturally talented at seduction and death, a lethal combination. But all of that does little to help her when her next assignment sends her back into the world that nearly drove her mad. She’s Death’s weapon for justice, but He needs to give her a reason to live. When Sybella meets an ally in the dungeons, will she have finally found a reason to continue living?
First of all, what’s really fascinating about this is that it’s based on actual history. Granted, it’s only loosely based, but there are still pieces of history thrown into this story. I so loved reading a post or two on Robin LaFevers blog, where she talks about researching these things.
This book had me on the edge of my seat near the end. The whole story, though, was a fun ride. It was adventurous and exciting, as well as being moving and funny. While I think I connected less with Sybella than I did with Ismae in the first book, I certainly still liked her.
And I loved the court intrigue in this one too. It wasn’t nearly as heavy as it was in the first book, seeing as this book takes place mostly outside of the court, but it’s still present. It’s actually quite brutal. There will be characters that you hate. And there will be characters that you may not like until later in the story.
The only thing I didn’t really like so much was that it started off slow. You didn’t need to really be reintroduced to the world of 1480s Brittany, but you needed to learn how Sybella spoke and thought and viewed the world. Once you know that, the story picks up.
I’m really interested to see what happens in the next book, which seems like it will be from a completely different angle of storytelling than these have been so far.