Monday, December 28, 2015

Grave Mercy

Dark Triumph

Mortal Heart

by Robin LaFevers

Dogs "bay," donkeys "bray." A tremble or shiver is a "shudder," not a "shutter." A cloud can't really "scuttle" because it can't move furtively, but it's quite common for clouds to be described as "scudding." (Errors and/or editing deficiencies from the third book; I also saw four or five typos, mostly toward the end, which suggests rushing toward a deadline.)

Now that I've got that off my chest... I really liked these books — like, an embarrassing amount. I read the His Fair Assassin series over a span of three years, so not all at once, but I never doubted I would read them all. I stayed up too late reading each one.

The series has excellent ingredients: young adult fiction, strong female characters, danger, political intrigue, a bit of supernatural, and thrilling romance. The first book came out in 2012, when everyone was still looking for or trying to be the next Hunger Games, so I'm kind of surprised that the series seems not to have gotten all that much attention. Could be the late Medieval setting wasn't a draw for some people, but it's sort of Game of Thrones-y and therefore even more attuned to the zeitgeist. Also, the covers are very pretty and dramatic (even cinematic) looking. Go figure.

I actually think the setting of the books in Brittany at the very end of the Middle Ages was one of the best things about the series and really set it apart from other books that imitated Hunger Games by featuring young women and deadly combat. The author uses figures and events from actual history (though she does take artistic liberties), and makes great use of the period's pagan Celtic beliefs, which were waning in the face of Christianity but persisted longer on the Breton peninsula than they did in most of mainland Europe.

This book series could make an excellent television show. It offers plenty of room to be creative with costumes and sets and filming locations, and the multiple lead characters have overlapping but not strictly concurrent storylines that would translate well into a weekly show.

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