Grave Mercy: Guest Reviews + Author Interview + Giveaway

Grave MercyGrave Mercy
By Robin LaFevers
April 3, 2012
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Author’s Website
Hardcover | Kindle

Read Our 5 Star Review of Grave Mercy

Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

See what various bloggers have to say about Grave Mercy!

“This is not a read for the faint of heart. Grave Mercy offers non-stop action with a kick-butt heroine out to serve justice to those who deserve it. I believe fans of The Hunger Games will really enjoy this series…”
Booking It With Hayley  | 
Read more of Hayley’s Review

“Ismae’s story is as engrossing and action-packed as it is intelligent and emotionally driven…”
Inklings Read  | 
Read more of Sarah’s Review

“I immediately liked Ismae. She’s a great example of a non-victim character. Even though she’s really dangerous, and you definitely wouldn’t want to be around if you bore “the mark”…”
Emily’s Reading Room |
Read more of Emily’s Review

“Richly written, full of action, intrigue, political power struggles and betrayals, Grave Mercy makes you wonder why LaFevers hasn’t strayed from juvenile fiction sooner…”
Unwasted Words |
Read more of Anne-Marie’s Review

“To say this book was addicting is an understatement – the fast paced plot added to the fabulous writing kept me hooked…”
Beneath the Moon & Stars |
Read more of Marissa’s Review

Making the Grade is pleased to welcome Robin LaFevers, author of Grave Mercy, for an exclusive interview here on the blog. In addition, Robin is allowing us to host a giveaway for a SIGNED copy of Grave Mercy as well as various book swag! You can enter to win right after the interview!

THE INTERVIEW

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I’ve led a happy, stable, rather mundane life as an adult, but my early years were tumultuous and full of upheaval, which is no doubt why I write for those ages–that is where my most fertile material comes from. My parents divorced when I was young and I had a series of stepfathers and quite a lot of stepbrothers. When I was twelve, my mom packed me and my two brothers and all our dogs up in the station wagon and we ran away in the middle of the night to a new town and a new life. It was absolutely the right thing to do, but it made for quite an adjustment! I still live in that small town. It is also where I met my husband and raised our two sons.

What do you do when you’re not writing? (For fun, that is!)

Writing is my full time job, my hobby, and my obsession. I am really trying to add some other hobbies and activities into the mix for balance!

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you either growing up or as an adult?

There were two. I read the Chronicles of Narnia when I was eight years old and that’s when I knew I wanted to be a writer. It was my first experience with fantasy (that wasn’t fairy tales or myth) and I was stunned that writers were allowed to make things up. The second huge influence was Mary Stewart’s The Crystal Cave. It was the first time I’d read historical fantasy, where fantasy elements were woven so seamlessly into an historical backdrop, and it immediately became my favorite genre. It remains one of my favorite books to this day.

What are you currently reading?

Christianity: The Origins of a Pagan Religion by Phillipe Walter, Tender Morsels by Margo Lannagan, and Going on Being by Mark Epstein (because I need a little Zen in my life right now!)

Regarding Grave Mercy: What ever gave you the idea to turn nuns into assassins? Can you give us some insight into your ideas?

Well, I went to Catholic school for the first few years of my live, and the nuns absolutely fascinated me with all their mystery and suppressed passion and enigmatic rituals. It seemed like surely they must be up to something much more intriguing than simply praying and living quietly behind those cloistered walls! So I let my imagination begin to fill in the blanks.

Also, I really wanted to write a story that explored a big sweeping canvas with life and death issues. Somehow those things came together in the stewpot that is my subconscious and Grave Mercy was born.

What was your favorite chapter (or part of the book) to write and why?

Oh there were so many favorite parts! Really loved stepping into the mind and skin of a medieval nun who served Death. What shape would her devotion take? How would she demonstrate her faith? But I must also confess that the scenes between Ismae and Duval were some of my very favorites. I loved writing about a relationship where two strong people were able to love and be loved and still be independent. While Ismae might be occasionally flustered by Duval, she doesn’t have to give up vital parts of herself or act less than she is to win his love. That was a core part of the book for me.

If there is ONE THING you would like readers to know about the book, what would it be?

That I believe love can be a transformative experience, whether it is love of duty, friends, country, spiritual devotion, or romantic love between two people. I wrote this book to explore that transformative journey as a young girl steps away from the thoughts and beliefs of those who raised her and begins making her own choices and decisions about life and love.

Can you reveal anything about the next installment? *eye wink*

Book Two will focus on poor embattled Sybella. When the convent sends her an order to free a wounded knight, it sets her on a journey to face her dark past and find a way back to hope and forgiveness and redemption. Book Three will tell Annith’s story.They are sequels in that they continue the drama of the duchess trying to hold onto her kingdom, but the different stages of that struggle are seen through the eyes of the three different girls.

In stark contrast to Grave Mercy, your prior books are written for a middle grade audience. (But we all know that older readers can also appreciate middle grade stories!) Can you tell us about them?

The Theodosia books tell the story of an eleven year old girl in Edwardian London whose parents run a museum. The only problem is that she is the only one who can see all the dark magic and ancient curses that still cling to the artifacts and so it falls upon her to have to research ancient Egyptian magic in order to keep her family and herself safe.

Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist is a young chapter book series that centers on a boy who discovers that mythological creatures are real and it is his job to look after them.

The only thing they have in common with Grave Mercy is that they are also historical fantasy. And that they all sprang out of my life long wish that mythical elements were real.

Chocolate or vanilla?

Ooh! Hard! It depends on what is being consumed. I prefer rich vanilla ice cream, but love chocolate (as in candy.) Cake is a toss up.

Pepsi or Coke?

Coke Zero

Tom or Jerry?

Hmm. Which of the two is more like a wolf rather than a sheep? 🙂

Is there anything more you would like to say to fans?

Thank you for inviting Ismae and Duval into your lives and letting me  share their world with you! The magic of the writer/reader connection never ceases to amaze me–or fill me with deep gratitude!

Thank you for taking the time to talk to Making the Grade! I know I speak for all of us when I say that I am already impatiently waiting for Book Two!

Thank you so much for having me!

To learn more about Robin LaFevers visit her web site!

Enter to win a SIGNED copy
of Grave Mercy + book swag!

You must fill out this form to enter.

ONE entry per person.
Giveaway is open US ONLY.
ONE winner will receive the signed book & swag.
Giveaway ends at midnight on Tuesday, April 17, 2012.

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About Jenna (Does Books)

Working momma of a little pink princess and reader of all things YA. I'm an artist, writer and avid reader who swears that she's having a hard time letting go of the childish things... Let me read your latest YA book and let's see if it makes the grade!

Posted on April 3, 2012, in Author Event, Five Star, Giveaway, Interview and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. What a great post, I love interviews! It’s a great way get to ‘meet’ the author and know more about them and the book.
    Thanks for the giveaway too! Happy reading 🙂

  2. Just a quick question, is the competition international or not? I ask because whilst your blog says it is international the form says it’s for US residents only, so I’m a little confused.

  3. Thanks for the interview & giveaway!! I can’t wait to read this – I’ve been hearing amazing things about it! 🙂

  4. Thanks for the interview!!! I loved Grave Mercy! It was one of the best books I’ve read all year. Thanks for the giveaway…;)

  5. Awesome giveaway! This was a great book. One of my favorites for 2012. Also a great interview! Makes me love Robin even more. 🙂

  6. OMGosh I love the blue them in the backdrop I’m going to try to rearrange my books like this lol!

  7. Thanks so much for the giveaway! I didn’t realize that the book had assassin nuns. Sounds interesting.

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